Jane Hutt MS, Minister for Social Justice
I am pleased to continue to co-chair the Disability Rights Taskforce with Professor Debbie Foster. This statement updates Members about the important work being undertaken.
I am pleased to see this work being taken forward through co-production with the lived experience of disabled people as the foundation. I strongly believe that co-production is integral to addressing the gap between policy ambition against what is delivered for disabled people. The taskforce’s working groups include a range of stakeholders - from organisations supporting disabled people to individuals with lived experience.
The Co-operation Agreement between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru recognises our shared determination to strengthen the rights of disabled people and tackle the inequalities they continue to face. I am pleased the Designated Member, Sian Gwenllian MS regularly attends the taskforce to hear the huge strides we are making.
We are committed to the social model of disability and together we will ensure the success of the taskforce.
The output of this taskforce will be a new Disability Rights Action Plan, which is expected to be published in Spring 2024. However, we won’t wait until then – we are taking action right now.
The work of the taskforce is based on a common understanding of the Social Model of Disability, human rights, and co-production. All members of the taskforce and working groups have been offered training on the Social Model of Disability, delivered by Disability Wales.
The taskforce established a prioritisation group to identify the key priorities for its programme of work:
- Embedding and Understanding of the Social Model of Disability (across Wales)
- Access to Services (including Communications and Technology)
- Independent Living: Health and Wellbeing
- Independent Living: Social Care
- Employment and Income
- Affordable and Accessible Housing
- Children and Young People
Embedding and Understanding of the Social Model of Disability
We have concluded these meetings, which were chaired by Professor Debbie Foster. As a result of the work undertaken, Healthcare Inspectorate Wales and Care Inspectorate Wales have received bespoke training in embedding and understanding the social model of disability and we are working with other Inspectorates to roll this out further.
Independent Living: Social Care
The working group meetings for this priority area have concluded. The Deputy Minister for Social Services was at the final meeting to hear the recommendations first hand.
Independent Living Health and Well-being
Chaired by Willow Holloway, additional sessions are being run to include disabled people’s access to culture, sport and tourism in Wales.
Access To Services (including communications and technology)
The working group, led by Dr Natasha Hurst, has concluded and presented its actions and recommendations to the taskforce.
The working group, chaired by Andrea Gordon, from Guide Dogs Cymru, has held two meetings. The Deputy Minister for Climate Change attended one to hear from members about how public transport issues affect the lives of disabled people.
Employment and Income
The working group is chaired by Professor Debbie Foster and has just started work.
The Affordable and Accessible Housing and the Children and Young People working groups are due to start work in the next few months.
The Welsh Government’s Employment Disability Champions will mentor policy leads across the government to ensure disabled people are considered and their lived experiences are fully taken into account.
This is a very exciting project to be involved in. We will work hard to implement the changes identified by the working groups and the taskforce to ensure Wales is a disability inclusive nation.
The Disability Rights Taskforce webpage is now available.