Learning Disability Wales has welcomed Welsh Government’s commitment to improve the independence of disabled people in Wales as it opens a consultation on its new framework and action plan for independent living.
‘Action on disability: the right to independent living’ aims to develop and improve access to help, advice and services for disabled people in Wales. The document replaces the previous ‘Framework for Action on Independent Living’ which was published by Welsh Government in 2013.
The consultation, which is open until 18 January 2019, has been informed by two years of engagement with disabled people and disabled people’s organisations. Learning Disability Wales supported this work as a member of the Independent Living Steering Group. The easy read version of the draft framework has been produced by Easy Read Wales, Learning Disability Wales’ easy read service, and will be available on the Welsh Government website in the next few days.
The draft framework includes progress made since the previous Independent Living Framework, and sets out:
- Welsh Government’s commitments to improving the independence of disabled people in Wales, and
- Their plans to work with external partners, including the Public, Private and Third Sectors, DWP, and disabled people themselves, to deliver these commitments.
Martyn Jones, Chief Executive of Learning Disability Wales, has welcomed the publication of the new Framework.
“As a member of the Independent Living Steering Group, Learning Disability Wales has worked closely with Welsh Government on the development of this strategy. As key contributors, it will be important that we submit a comprehensive response to the consultation to ensure that implementing the Framework makes a meaningful difference in the lives of people with a learning disability of all ages in Wales.
“We encourage all our stakeholders and supporters to also respond but please remember that if you don’t want to do this yourself let us know your views and we will include them as part of our response.”
Welsh Government’s commitments under the framework’s action plan include:
- Support the delivery of the cross-governmental recommendations identified in the Improving Lives report which aim to strengthen service delivery and improve their sustainability for people with a learning disability.
- Support young people with learning disabilities and/or disabilities to access post-16 education, including specialist provision, in order that they can develop the skills and confidence needed to live semi-independent / independent lives.
- Deliver the Additional Learning Needs (ALN) Transformation Programme, to ensure children and young people aged 0-25 with additional learning needs are provided for within an inclusive education system.
- Through the Autistic Spectrum Disorder Strategic Action Plan support children, young people and adults with autism, and their families and carers, to have their needs understood, achieve their own well-being outcomes and lead fulfilling lives.
- From 2016 to 2021, invest £13m to support delivery of an integrated autism service to provide lifetime support to children and adults with autism, and their families. The integrated service will provide new adult diagnostic services; support for families and carers; help with transition from child to adult provision and training for professionals.
- As part of the Families First programme, continue to require local authorities to prioritise the delivery of specialist services for families affected by disability.
- Improve accessibility to public transport for disabled people.
- Tackle disability hate crime, harassment and bullying through the Framework for Action on Hate Crime.
- Carry out a Systems Review of the aids and adaptations system that support disabled and older people to live independently in their own home.
- Work with the NHS to ensure access for all to high quality Technology Enabled Care services (TECs) that can support the self management of long term chronic conditions and improve patient outcomes through increased independence and well-being.
- Increase the take-up of Access to Work in Wales.
- Establish a network of Disability Champions to engage with different employers across Wales.
- Develop a Welsh disability award scheme (that would be externally assessed) for employers which might either build on Disability Confident or be a new scheme to encourage employers to aspire to be more supportive of disabled people.
- Continue to support those furthest from the labour market, who face complex barriers to employment in our most deprived communities, through our Communities for Work programme, and the Employability Grant which was introduced in April 2018.
- Further integrate the 111 service and the information, advice and assistance service developed under the Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act 2014 to enable a more holistic framework for people to obtain advice and active support to maximise their health and wellbeing and promote greater independence.
- Implement the Information and Advice Action Plan to ensure equitable access to good quality advice services, which will include debt, welfare, housing, employment and discrimination advice to disabled people.
- Create an accessible online digital platform to give people greater control and enable them to become more active participants in their own health and well-being.
- Consulting disabled people, and people with the other protected characteristics, in the development of a new framework for regulating and inspecting statutory advocacy services for eligible children and adults.
- Ensure equitable access and provision of mental health services through the implementation of the Together for Mental Health 2016-19 delivery plan.
- Undertake visitor research at the historic sites and monuments in state care, including consulting with people with physical and learning disabilities in order to improve accessibility to all.
- Work to increase understanding of the Social Model of Disability across Welsh Government and beyond, to ensure that it is reflected widely in our policies and programmes.
To read the action plan in full and respond to the consultation visit the ‘Action on disability: the right to independent’ consultation page. The closing date is 18 January 2019.