REPLY BY THE GOVERNMENT TO THE 23rd REPORT OF THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON HUMAN RIGHTSSESSION 2010-12: IMPLEMENTATION OF THE RIGHT OF DISABLED PEOPLE TO INDEPENDENT LIVING
: disabled people must have the opportunity to make theirown choices to live independently, with choice and control in their daily lives.
Changing attitudes and behaviours
: discrimination and harassment areunacceptable. We must grow strong and positive attitudes and behaviourstowards disabled people to enable their full participation in work, family andcommunity lifeThe Government is committed to working with disabled people and theirorganisations on the development of the Disability Strategy. In December2011, the Office for Disability Issues (ODI) at the Department for Work andPensions published a discussion document -
– as the basisfor discussions and has worked with disabled people to explore how theStrategy can be developed and what actions will be both realistic and canhave the greatest impact.The discussion period ended on 9 March. Huge interest was shown in thedocument. The ODI received 548 written responses from organisations andindividuals. In addition, the Government provided funding for around 100events held by disabled people’s organisations around the country to enabledisabled people to discuss their ideas around
. Overall morethan 5,000 disabled people have taken the opportunity to help shape the newstrategy.In the light of all the responses received, work is in progress on the Strategy,which the Government will publish later this year. The Committee’s reportmakes a number of recommendations about the approach that the Strategyshould take, and these are being considered as part of that work.The context in which we are developing the Disability Strategy is achallenging one and must recognise the reality of the current fiscalenvironment. Nonetheless, the Government is committed to tackling thebarriers that may prevent disabled people from participation in society asequal partners. The Strategy will reflect the Government’s fundamental reformprogramme that will create a new welfare system for the 21
century. This willtransform the opportunity for people without jobs to find work and supportthemselves and their families, and will ensure that the most vulnerable insociety are protected. Disabled people are at the heart of this ambition, whichrecognises that support for disabled people must not mean a life of welfaredependency, but must enable everyone to take an equal role in society. TheStrategy will also reflect the move away from traditional top-down directionfrom central government towards a flexible approach and a greater emphasison localism, which enables decisions to be responsive to the real needs oflocal communities, including disabled people.As the Committee’s report acknowledges, the devolved administrations havetheir own strategic approaches to the achievement of independent living fordisabled people, and to implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights ofDisabled People. The Disability Strategy will therefore primarily be forEngland, but with some policies applicable to the UK as a whole.2