Survey For National Disability Strategy Ruled Unlawful
The High Court has ruled that a survey of disabled people used to inform the government’s new National Disability Strategy is “unlawful” and had failed to consult with people in an effective way.
The case was brought by four disabled people, the BBC reports, who argued that despite the fact that Therese Coffey, work and pensions secretary, did consult with disabled people, she then went on to provide insufficient information on the proposed strategy to allow for meaningful responses.
The UK Disability Survey itself was launched in January 2021, inviting the views of disabled people around the country on lived everyday experiences. There were 109 multiple-choice and four open-ended questions such as, “what are the top three changes that would make your life better?”.
Victoria Hon, one of the four who brought the case, said: “For too long, disabled individuals have been infantilised and our views ignored. This judgement sends a clear message that the government cannot claim to consult with disabled people if in practice we are not given the proper opportunity to share our views.”
Measures featured in the National Disability Strategy include increasing the number of accessible homes, adapting holder properties, auditing mainline railway stations for accessibility and piloting an Access to Work Adjustment Passport, intended to make it easier for disabled people to change jobs.
It received mixed responses upon its release, such as from disabled Tory peer Lord Shinkwin, who described the plans as a “damp squib”. While speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme, Lord Shinkwin said the strategy was “more of a mixture of a to-do list and a should-have-done-by-now list”.
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