Department for Work and Pensions
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Independent living - involving disabled people:

Independent living - involving disabled people:

DEPARTMENT FOR WORK AND PENSIONS News Release (DRC-116) issued by COI News Distribution Service. 25 November 2008

Government response to the consultation on implementation and monitoring of the Independent Living Strategy

The Government will today announce plans for involving disabled people in the implementation and monitoring of the five year, cross-government Independent Living Strategy.

Launched in March this year, the Strategy aims to increase choice and control, and promote greater access to housing, transport, health, employment and leisure opportunities for all disabled people. A consultation exercise asked for views on how best to involve disabled people in measuring progress on the Strategy. The Office for Disability Issues (ODI) not only held public consultation events but also provided a toolkit to help disabled people's organisations hold their own consultation events.

The ODI is committed to working in partnership with disabled people at all stages of the development and implementation of policies that affect their lives and therefore - after the consultation exercise closed on 30 June 2008 - also involved disabled people in developing the Government's response to the consultation.

Lorraine Gradwell, Chief Executive of Breakthrough UK, and a disability activist for 25 years, said: "Real progress is being made by ODI on involving disabled people in planning, using co-production as the model. The next challenge will be to apply this model to implementing the strategy, and ensuring other statutory bodies adopt the model."

Phil Mason, one of the initiators of direct payments, agreed: "At last, a policy in practice, a consultation where disabled people were enabled to work together in a meaningful way, to listen to each other and to make a collective contribution. The commitment to continue this practice means that our daily experience will inform future observations and comments."

The ODI also involved the Expert Panel, which helped develop the Independent Living Strategy, in developing the Government's response to the consultation, as was Equality 2025, the UK Advisory Network for Disability Equality.

Baroness Jane Campbell, Chair of the Expert Panel, said: "I am delighted that disabled people and their allies will play an integral role in the scrutiny of the five year, cross-government Independent Living Strategy. We have come a long way from the days of being consulted on our views and then left to wonder whether they would be taken on board. Now we will be part of the action, working in partnership with the government, to make sure the strategy delivers independent living for disabled people".

Rowen Jade, acting Chair of Equality 2025, said: "One of the things that has been so remarkable about the Independent Living Strategy is the co-production between disabled people and government. This goes so much further than 'involvement' and I look forward to Equality 2025 playing a key role in the monitoring of progress on the Strategy".

Following the consultation, and the further involvement of disabled people, the Government has decided to implement the following steps to make sure disabled people are actively involved in making the Strategy a reality and checking that good progress is being made:
* Establish an Independent Living Scrutiny Group (ILSG) to review progress on implementing the ILS
* Work with Equality 2025 to determine how best to use and develop existing networks to form a 'network of networks', creating a two-way channel of communication between the government and disabled people
* Examine some of the options, for example, specific courses, suggested by respondents for building leadership capacity
* Work to help disabled people's organisations benefit more from new opportunities to build the capacity of the third sector.

Jonathan Shaw, Minister for Disabled People, said: "I am pleased that so many disabled people and organisations have been involved in putting together a robust approach that will help ensure the Strategy does what it sets out to do. I look forward to continuing to work with them to make the Strategy a success."

Notes to editors (more notes to come)
* A summary of the Strategy consultation responses can be found at:
* The Independent Living Strategy is jointly owned by the Office for Disability Issues, Department of Health, Department for Children, Schools and Families, Department for Transport, Department for Work and Pensions, Communities and Local Government and Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills.


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