Emphasis on processes rather than outcomes undermining disabled rights: report

Actions by local authorities and the NHS have aggravated the negative affects on disabled people of government policies, a coalition of deaf and disabled people’s organisations has said.

In evidence to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which is assessing the UK’s progress in implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled People, the coalition said there were still many shortcomings.

Kamran Mallick, chief executive of Disability Rights UK, said: “Many of the government’s answers [to the committee] have a tone of complacency at best and high-handed evasion at worst.

“The government produced no evidence or detail to show how it is supporting people to lead independent lives; something it committed to when it ratified the convention in 2009. The government document also makes grand claims about the impact of the Equality Act and the Care Act that simply don’t reflect the everyday experiences of disabled people in the UK.”

The coalition told the committee that a range of government policies placed it in breach of the convention including a lack of accessible housing, the impact of welfare reforms, social care cuts, the growing use of forced treatment powers in mental health legislation and plans for a cap on funding that helps disabled people to work.

It also criticised what it called “a tendency by public bodies to focus on processes rather than meaningful outcomes when fulfilling their legal duty to eliminate discrimination and promote equality”.

Tracey Lazard, chief executive of Inclusion London, said on behalf of umbrella group the Reclaiming Our Future Alliance: “There is clear and extensive evidence of retrogression of disabled people’s rights in the UK since 2010.”

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