5 Our ambition: Active participation
Disabled people participate as active citizens in all aspects of daily and public life in Scotland. Information and communication is accessible and inclusive; barriers experienced by disabled people including negative attitudes, stigma and discrimination, are understood and addressed and disabled people are involved in shaping their lives and the decisions that impact upon them. Social isolation is reduced for disabled people.
In the Scotland we want:
- Disabled people to be empowered through peer support and learning and development opportunities to participate fully as active citizens.
- Increased understanding of disabled people's needs throughout civic society.
- Communication to be accessible to, and inclusive of, all.
- The barriers facing disabled people to be known, understood and addressed.
- Disabled people to have access to relationships and connections which support them, and increased resilience to cope with challenges.
85. We are determined to increase representation of disabled people in our democratic institutions. Our Access To Elected Office Fund (Scotland) is supporting those who wish to stand in the 2017 local government elections by helping to meet the additional costs disabled people face when seeking election. We will use the evaluation of the 2017 fund to make any necessary improvements to ensure it works for disabled people and will continue this fund for the Scottish Parliamentary elections in 2021.
86. Our current record level of investment in supporting the capacity of Disabled People's Organisations will be maintained during the lifetime of this parliament. Through this programme of work, we will explore how disability impacts different equality groups and what this means for our policies, services and communities.
87. Local authorities have been asked that at least 1% of their budgets are subject to Community Choices budgeting and we will actively encourage local authorities to ensure that disabled people can play a full part in the participatory budgeting process.
88. We will publish a strategy in 2017 to tackle social isolation and loneliness, which is informed by disabled people and seeks to tackle the specific barriers to developing social and community connections that disabled people face.
89. We will actively promote a new Inclusive Communication hub across the public sector in early 2017, providing advice and practical assistance. We are also taking forward a programme of work on Augmentative and Alternative Communication ( AAC), which is focused on the provision of communication equipment and support.
'We firmly believe that the consistent adoption of "inclusive communications" in all aspects of our lives can be transformative for everyone involved. It is key to liberating and embracing the talents and contribution of disabled people in Scotland while also challenging and changing the attitudes of non-disabled people.'
CEO, Sense Scotland
90. Through our Scottish Approach to Service Design initiative we will work with disabled people, organisations and experts in design to ensure that the methods and tools used in digital public services allow disabled people to participate on a fair and equal basis in the design of those services. This work has already begun and we aim to publish guidance iteratively through 2017-2020. Initial guidance will be published in early 2017 .
91. We will publish the first ever National Action Plan on British Sign Language in October 2017, which will improve access to information and services for our citizens whose first or preferred language is BSL.
'The passing of the BSL (Scotland) Act will lead to the creation of the first BSL National Plan so that the deaf community in Scotland will be seen as active citizens in Scotland. With BSL, we are equal and a valued citizens in wider society in Scotland.'
British Deaf Association Scotland
92. In 2017, we will highlight the barriers to inclusion that disabled people face, with a particular focus on employment, in the next phase of the One Scotland Campaign.
93. Through our public appointments improvement programme, we will drive forward activity to improve the diversity of Scotland's boardrooms, including outreach activity with disabled people and minority ethnic communities.
'I remember being in residential care; being put in a queue to go to the toilet; being forced to eat something I hated; being given help by someone I disliked intensely; and being told when to go to bed. Now, I live in my own home, having retired as a senior social work manager. I decide who should provide the practical support I need. I am also part of the civic and cultural life of my local community. Without the years of campaigning alongside other disabled activists for such a lifestyle, I'd probably still be isolated back in that queue to go to the toilet.'
Dr Jim Elder-Woodward OBE
'In recognising the importance of promoting equality for all and in particular for those who face daily discrimination due to disability, South Lanarkshire Council has taken the step of creating a spokesperson for disabled people. This elected member role ensures that consideration of the views and needs of those facing some of the greatest challenges in our communities is at the heart of our decision making process.'
Councillor Gerry Convery
South Lanarkshire Council spokesperson for disabled people
and Chair of Finance and Corporate Resources Committee