Greater Manchester Mayoral Manifesto on Disability
Disabled People’s Manifesto
GMCDP has developed a Disabled People’s Manifesto in the run up to the election of the new Greater Manchester Mayor.
The manifesto concentrates on the areas of power and influence that the new mayor will have. Topics include Independent Living, Housing, Inclusive Further Education and Skills Sector, Transport and Disability Hate Crime
The manifesto has been developed in collaboration with our membership and other local Disabled People’s Organisations.
The manifesto has been sent to all the mayoral candidates and we are urging them to work with and for disabled people by signing up to the manifesto.
This Manifesto has been produced by Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People (GMCDP) in collaboration with its membership and other local Disabled People’s Organisations (see appendix 10.c for full list of contributing organisations).
GMCDP is the oldest cross-impairment, and respected disabled people’s controlled organisation in Greater Manchester. Formed in 1985 with legacy funding from Greater Manchester Council, GMCDP seeks to promote the inclusion of disabled people within society using the Social Model of Disability (see Appendices) – the theory that it is obstacles and barriers (physical, organisational and attitudinal) created by society that disables people not a person’s impairment.
There are 521,314 disabled people in Greater Manchester (GM); that is 19% of the GM population. The employment rate for disabled people is lower, and the gap between the disabled and non-disabled persons rate larger in Greater Manchester than in the UK as a whole. Only 42.7% of disabled working-age people are currently able to secure employment in Greater Manchester (from ‘Inclusive Growth: Opportunities and Challenges for Greater Manchester’ Ruth Lupton, et al; Inclusive Growth Analysis Unit, University of Manchester 2016. Page 22).
We strongly believe devolution presents a real opportunity to improve the lives and opportunities for disabled people in GM. This is particularly true in relation to the transformation of health and social care services, which could be a single point of failure or success for improving Independent Living opportunities. Co-production/ design and involvement of disabled people’s organisations in the delivery of new models will be essential for success.
This Manifesto is underpinned by our understanding of “The Seven Needs of Independent Living” and our adherence to “The Social Model of Disability”. The Seven Needs for Independent Living (see Appendices) were originally developed by disabled people as the means by which the main barriers to our inclusion into society could be removed, and we could leave residential homes and take our rightful place in our communities. Without them we are not only unable to secure our place in the workplace but face the very real threat of being forced back into institutional care. The provision of Information, Peer Support, Accessible (and affordable) Housing, Equipment and Adaptations, Personal Support (or care), Environmental Access and Transport are essential precursors to disabled people gaining access to education and employment and helping to reduce the enormous economic disadvantage we currently face.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), ratified by the UK in 2009, sets out what human rights mean in the context of disability. The first human rights treaty of the twenty-first century, it represents a major step towards realising the right of disabled people to be treated as full and equal citizens and the UK has committed to promoting and protecting the full enjoyment of human rights by disabled people and ensuring they have full equality under the law. The UNCRPD covers a wide range of areas including health, education, employment, access to justice, personal security, independent living, and access to information.
Whilst the Greater Manchester Mayor does not have direct responsibility for delivering all of the services that we require to protect and promote our independence, the Mayor will have an important ambassadorial role and opportunity to promote best practice. This manifesto for disabled people has been produced to assist the Mayor in becoming our ally and champion in our fight for equality. It provides the opportunity to build upon 30 years of successful partnership between disabled people and local government, initiated by the former Greater Manchester Council (GMC), developed by the ten districts and, with your support, implemented by the Elected Mayor.
This means, simply, all disabled people having the same choice, control and freedom as any other citizen, at home, at work, and as members of the community. This does not necessarily mean disabled people ‘doing everything for themselves’, but it does mean that any practical assistance people need, should be based on their own choices and aspirations.
2.a: The Mayoral Office should work with the Leaders of the 10 GM authorities, the Heads of Health and Social Care and other key officers, including those responsible for Housing and Planning. They will ensure that they recognise the equal right of all disabled persons to live in the community, with choices equal to others. They will take effective and appropriate measures to facilitate disabled people’s enjoyment of this right, full inclusion and participation in the community.
They will ensure that:
2.a (i): Disabled people have the opportunity to choose their place of residence and where and with whom they live on an equal basis with others and are not obliged to live in a particular living arrangement;
2.a. (ii): Disabled people have access to a range of in-home, residential and other community support services, including personal assistance, necessary to support living and inclusion in the community, and to prevent isolation or segregation from the community;
2.a. (iii): Community services and facilities for the general population are available to disabled people on an equal basis and are responsive to their needs. (Taken from article 1.19 of the Care Act 2014 Statutory Guidance)
2.b: All commissioned and contracted providers, working on behalf of the Mayor and the Combined Authority, should fulfill the Equality Act duties and demonstrate a proven track record and a continuing commitment to providing accessible and inclusive services and to employing disabled people.
2.c: Fund, or otherwise sustain, a GM Access Forum to provide specific expertise on strategic planning issues.
2.d: Develop, in co-production with Disabled Peoples Organisations (DPO’s) an advice, information and advocacy strategy for Greater Manchester ensuring adequate access to information, advice and advocacy for disabled people, in Greater Manchester.
2.e: Engage directly with Greater Manchester DPO’s about the impact on disabled people’s independent living in relation to the pooling of Social Care budgets across GM and the merging of health and social care. GMCDP are seriously concerned about the impact of significant cuts in Local Authority budgets, in relation to Adult and Social Care and the adverse consequences for disabled people and the finance to support their independent living.
GMCDP invites the Mayor’s office to carry out an “impact assessment” on the extent to which funding cuts in adult social care has had on disabled people.
2.f: Lobby central government to replace the old Independent Living Fund with a new national, needs-led system, independent of local authorities to administer independent living support, free at point of delivery and paid for through taxation. (https://www.inclusionlondon.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/InclusionLondon_ILF_Report_2016.pdf)
2.g: Abolish annual social care reassessments and instead have them every four years or when there is a significant change in an individual’s circumstances.
2.h: Establish an independent advocacy service that is not tied to any local authority.
Disabled people should have the right to live in our own homes. These homes should be accessible, and enable us to live independent lives. There should be ambitious, but achievable quotas and targets in relation to accessible housing and housing that is capable of adaptation. Both central and local governments should use all their existing powers to ensure that both private and social housing developments (including refurbishment schemes) meet the highest access standards (GMCDP Position Statement).
As well as meeting the needs of disabled people, increasing the pool of accessible and adaptable housing will go towards meeting the needs of the growing number of older people and people requiring continuing health and social care at home rather than in hospital.
Although there are many definitions and regulations, put simply: accessible housing refers to the construction or modification (such as through renovation or adaptation), of housing to enable independent living for disabled people.
“With only 7% of homes meeting the most basic access standards, the options are as limited for young disabled people looking to buy their first home as they are for older people looking to right size for their needs. What is clear is that new homes should be future-proofed, fit for purpose and able to adapt to life’s changing demands” (Habinteg, February 2017).
3.a: The Mayoral Office should commit to working with the LA planning departments to ensure all private sector new build meets lifetime homes standards. In addition, 20% of new build should be wheelchair accessible and affordable. (Specifications in Local Plans process).
3.b: The Mayoral Office should commit to working with Planning Authorities to improve Local Plans in Greater Manchester to include wheelchair user dwellings and ensure all new dwellings are wheelchair accessible and adaptable (as stated in the draft GM Spatial Strategy).
All Local Plans and GM strategies should include a proportion of houses requiring additional standards of space and accessibility, such as adaptability for permanent hoists, accessible kitchens and bathrooms, a lift and additional turning space. More detailed references to appropriate regulations are available from Manchester Disabled People’s Access Group. (http://www.mdpag.org.uk)
3.c: The Mayoral Office should work to ensure that a comprehensive assessment of accessible and adapted housing across Greater Manchester covering the social, private and voluntary sectors, is carried out. This assessment will influence planning, provision and allocation, that is targeted at need, and provides low cost secure tenancies for all.
3.d: The Mayoral Office should encourage the establishment of a public register of available accessible and adaptable housing and the accessibility of the surrounding areas, so that disabled people can make informed choices about where to live.
3.e: The Mayoral Office should ensure that Planning Authorities develop processes to identify and meet the specific requirements of disabled people who need additional standards to those in the Local Plan and in Building Regulations. (Paragraph: 011 Reference ID: 56-011-20150327, Housing: Optional Technical Standards)
3.f: Funds allocated for Disabled Facilities Grants must be ring-fenced for the purpose of improving physical access to and within the homes of disabled people, to facilitate independent and inclusive living and assessments made within clearly defined timescales. The Mayoral Office should lobby government for an increase in the amount and availability of the Disabled Facilities Grant.
3.g: The Mayoral Office should require social and private developers to engage with DPOs, following the proposals in the Government White Paper, ‘Fixing Our Broken Housing Market’, February 2017. This expects developers to;
- engage with communities
- give communities a stronger voice in the design of new housing to drive up the quality and character of new development
- encourage the development of housing that meets the needs of our future population
- help the most vulnerable who need support with their housing
- develop a sustainable and workable approach to funding supported housing in the future.
3.h: The Mayoral Office should ensure that any new funds from the Housing Infrastructure Fund, promised in the White Paper, include improvements in accessibility for disabled people and will include consultation with access groups and other DPOs.
Education should support the development of physical, vocational and academic abilities through mixed-ability tuition so that all students have the opportunity to build relationships with one another. In this way disabled and non-disabled people develop common values through living and learning alongside each other (Alliance for Inclusive Education – www.allfie.org.uk).
Inclusive Education in the Further Education and Skills Sector (FESS) has demonstrated over the last twenty years clear values and principles which underpin the rights of each student to participate fully across the Sector.
The benefit for disabled students is that they are an integral part of the educational/training provision, as are all other students not in segregated settings. Inclusive education puts the focus on good effective and meaningful support to allow all students to take a full part in the life of the organisation. Inclusive education benefits disabled and non-disabled students alike, in that they each gain from a diversity of teaching and learning strategies applied to ensure maximum access to the curriculum of their choice.
The Mayoral Office should:
4.a: Promote Inclusive Education across the Further Education and Skills Centre (FESS) within Greater Manchester, in compliance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, (UNCRPD) Article 24).
4.b. Consult with DPOs to ensure an inclusive approach to teaching, learning and other facilities in public and private educational organisations, based upon the Social Model of Disability. A student-centred approach will be taken to identify barriers and solutions in promoting access to FESS for disabled people.
4.c. Share good inclusive practice across the FESS in Greater Manchester and actively encourage collaboration between appropriate organisations.
4.d. The Mayoral Office should ensure that there will be active recruitment of disabled people to the teaching/training and ancillary staff in the FESS organisations, and such recruitment will be subject to ongoing, published monitoring.
4.e. Encourage ‘Continuing Professional Development’ across the FESS in Greater Manchester to be accessible and inclusive of disabled people.
4.f. Promote and sponsor inclusive apprenticeships, work placements, internships and other work related activities, where applications from disabled people are actively encouraged with ongoing published monitoring.
4.g. Require adult education establishments to provide fully accessible ‘entry level qualifications’ and numeracy and literacy courses.
Disabled people should have equal information about and access to all forms of transport that are available for the public to use. This goes beyond public transport, and includes taxis, planes, boats, and cycling provision. It also includes transport infrastructure, such as bus and tram stops and stations, train stations, information and booking. GMCDP believes that transport regulators, licensing departments, central and regional government bodies should use all their existing powers of enforcement to ensure that disabled people have increased and monitored access to all forms of transport.
‘Transport should be accessible for everyone. Accessible buses, coaches, trains, trams and taxis make it easier for people to visit friends, get to the shops or to work. It’s good for the economy andmeans fewer car journeys, which reduces carbon emissions’. (Taken from Department of Transport – Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee – Accessible Transport Policy).
Working with the relevant agencies, the Mayoral Office will:
- Incentivise bus companies through stricter penalties regarding enforcement of wheelchair priority in the wheelchair bay.
- To encourage drivers to give people time to sit down before the bus moves off.
- Ensure that bus drivers are given a code of practice and regular training to support safe and inclusive journeys for disabled people.
- Encourage better inclusive design and specifications of buses and taxis across Greater Manchester.
- Ensure that any complaints are dealt with by an independent body and are open and transparent.
- Commit to working with Train Operating Companies and Network Rail to produce a 5 year plan that will ensure that all Greater Manchester train stations are ‘step free’ from entrance to platform.
- Ensure all platform services to be accessible from the street and within the station
- Ensure information is available in accessible formats.
- Encourage best inclusive design practice in the design of stations and trains.
5.c: Tram: In collaboration with DPO’s and Tram operators:
- Initiate a young disabled people’s travel training programme focusing on safety and independence.
- Prioritise lift repairs (maximum 24hrs) where there is no alternative ramped access/egress to Tram stops.
- Improve access to tram platforms, crossings and information for people with sensory and other impairments.
- Encourage best inclusive design practice in the specification of stations, platforms and trains, particularly to include better design and access for wheelchair and scooter users, and for people with sensory impairments.
- Work with Planning Authorities and Transport for Greater Manchester and, where appropriate, with the Department for Transport, to develop safe controlled crossings over tram tracks.
5.d: Aviation: Ensure that Manchester International Airport (and all airlines using the airport) offer a ‘hoist’ system for boarding and disembarking people with reduced mobility and customer service training which is DPO-led. Conduct regular access audits in the Airport to ensure that all services within, to and from the Airport are accessible.
5.e: Taxi: In collaboration with DPO’s and the taxi trade:
- Commission a ‘compliance and reporting’ campaign on the legal position regarding charging disabled people extra or refusing to carry a disabled person (include both hackney and minicab hire).
- Work with all the licensing authorities to improve training and improvements in the accessibility of all taxi services, including encouraging the use of best inclusive design practice in the specification and use of taxi services.
- Taxi drivers/operators to have their license revoked if a driver refuses to accept a fare from a disabled person without good reason.
5.f: Cycling: Improve access to cycling for disabled people, by working with cycling organisations, DPO’s and Transport for Greater Manchester. This will include improving the design of cycle lanes and safety for visually impaired people, children and older people, particularly on crossings over cycle lanes, improvement of cyclists’ behavior and compliance with traffic regulations and develop best practice.
5.g: Coach travel: Work with operators and DPO’s to improve access to and the design of coaches and coach stations.
5.h: In collaboration with DPO’s, host a “Disabled People’s Transport Summit” within the first 18 months of taking up post.
5.i: Ensure that transport infrastructure services are designed to be accessible for disabled people, including:
Roads; pavements; development of cycle lanes; parking; controlled crossing points; stops and interchanges; stations; information; websites; booking services, and other elements of access to transport vehicles.
In 2011 the Equality and Human Rights Commission report into disability – related harassment found that cases that get to court and receive media coverage are only the tip of the iceberg: it found that for many harassment is a common experience, and many disabled people had come to accept it as inevitable. GMCDP believes that, although great strides have been made, disability hate crime is still not dealt with appropriately by the criminal and justice systems.
Working with the relevant agencies, the Mayoral Office will:
6.a: Set up DPO-led training in recognising and reporting disability hate crime for frontline Greater Manchester Police (GMP) staff and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
6.b: Promote and resource the development of DPOs as third party reporting centres and specialist advocacy providers for victims of disability hate crime
6.c: The Mayoral Office will support a lobby of national government for equality of legislation, so there is parity with the law covering other hate crime strands.
Recent House of Lords’ and House of Common’s Inquiries and Reports have identified that not only is poor or no access still a daily experience for most disabled people, but also that legislation and guidance is currently not enough to remove barriers and improve access.
The Government’s own statistics estimate that “at least a third of disabled people experience difficulties related to their impairment in accessing public, commercial and leisure goods and services” (ONS Opinions Survey 2010).
7.a: The Mayoral Office should support the development and maintenance of disabled people’s access groups in each Greater Manchester borough. This will create a network to support the Access Committee Forum and supportive local councils, neighbourhood groups, communities and business in local areas.
7.b: The Mayoral Office should support the development of a Greater Manchester Design Guide, which will include design standards to meet the requirements of disabled people. The Mayoral Office is uniquely placed to support and promote such an initiative. This could incorporate guidance on understanding and designing-out many of the barriers faced by groups protected under the Equality Act. This also relates to the proposals in the Housing White Paper for design standards to be used across local authorities and combined authorities for new developments.
7.c: The Mayoral Office should support the development of a GM Design Guide developed with access groups and DPO’s. It will identify design requirements for all festivals, markets, events and other temporary activities, including elements of accessibility that will be incorporated into commissioning briefs.
7.d: The Mayoral Office should support training and continuous professional development of staff in planning authorities and for other design professionals. This should be in line with the Built Environment Professional Education Project (BEPE), through the provision of training by disabled people.
7.e: The Mayoral Office should support the improvement and accessibility of the urban environment, including key routes in city centres, in neighborhoods, parks and open areas for disabled people across Greater Manchester.
7.f: The Mayoral Office should support the development of consistent standards, policies and strategies within licensing authorities in Greater Manchester to improve access to transport, buildings and services.
7.g: The Mayoral Office should work closely with disabled people’s access groups to provide assistance and advice to neighbourhood groups.
A major barrier for many disabled people (and for older people, who may not identify as disabled people) is the lack of appropriate and accessible information. This can be essential to everyday activities and participating in work and all aspects of life in communities. Many services are unaware of the barriers faced but it leads to the exclusion of many disabled people, preventing them from living independent lives and making informed decisions. The Equality Act guidance gives examples of barriers but this is not enforced across services and communities.
The NHS Accessible Information Standard was developed to promote and develop consistent standards in NHS and Social Care services. It “directs and defines a specific, consistent approach to identifying, recording, flagging, sharing and meeting the information and communication support needs of patients, service users, carers and parents, where those needs relate to a disability, impairment or sensory loss”.
Many disabled people require communication support through the provision of advocates, support workers, interpreters and appropriate technology which is often unavailable or unknown when disabled people try to use services or attend events.
The lack of accessible information and communication support services not only leads to additional costs to the health and social care services, but affects the ability of many disabled people to live and work independently. It can also have significant effects on the protection of confidentiality and safety of disabled people, their families and friends.
8.a: The Mayoral Office should support the provision of appropriate and accessible information, including the availability of alternative formats, and incorporating the NHS Accessible Information Standard and additional information and communication standards, by all services within Greater Manchester.
8.b: The Mayoral Office to support the development of consistent information and communication standards across Greater Manchester by:
- The development of a Greater Manchester Guide to Information, Communications and Events, including the provision of accessible websites.
- The use of accessible social media and printed information.
- The use of audible, visual, and digital information.
- The use of text versions, braille, BSL and other alternative languages as required.
- Ensuring that plain English is used and language levels in communications are at appropriately reading levels, which assists a range of disabled people and speakers of other community languages.
- The use of communication technology as required to meet the needs of disabled people.
It is recommended that guidelines, such as Manchester Disabled Peoples Access Group’s clear print guidelines, are used to assist services to avoid barriers for disabled people, e.g. colour contrast, difficult to read designs and fonts.
8.c: The Mayoral Office should work to improve communication support for disabled people. This includes access to interpreters (BSL and other interpreters) required by people who are deaf or hard of hearing for all services and events.
8.d: The Mayoral Office should ensure that the NHS Accessible Information Standard is understood and implemented across Greater Manchester’s Health and Social care initiatives and involve disabled people’s organisations in this work programme.
8.e: The Mayoral Office should promote understanding of the requirements of
- people with learning difficulties.
- neuro-diverse people who may have very diverse and different communication and information issues.
- people with acquired difficulties with communication through health issues and also the requirements of people with speech impairments and all sensory impairments.
Some disabled people have alternative requirements for communicating in writing, reading and using digital communication systems. The Mayoral Office should regard these issues, including the provision of “Easy Read” formats and plain English, within the development of consistent information and communication standards within Greater Manchester.
8.f: The Mayoral Office will also promote appropriate terminology guidelines for use by services, where appropriate, to promote the respect of and independence of disabled people.
8.g: The Mayoral Office should ensure that commissioning organisations and departments will include the provision of accessible information and communication in their brief and in relation to other aspects of their services.
8.h: The Mayoral Office should promote accessible appropriate signage and wayfinding services through planning provision, within health and social care provision and in all other services working with the GMCA.
This Manifesto is intended as a starting point. We aim for it to be both helpful, informative and facilitate discussion – the breadth of issues covered (which is by no means exhaustive) demonstrates that disability is about so much more than ‘health and social care’, the deficits are in the provision of ideas and for ways to meaningfully address the issues.
GMCDP propose the Mayoral Office should establish an advisory body, as soon as practicable, comprising of representatives from disabled people’s organisations in the 10 local authority districts of Greater Manchester, to advise upon disability related issues, to develop and progress these and further initiatives, with the Mayor and his/her representatives.
GMCDP believe that devolution in Greater Manchester offers a unique opportunity to develop groundbreaking initiatives to promote and sustain the rights of disabled people in making their contributions to a fair and equal society. Through this Manifesto we are offering to work with the Mayor and with other relevant agencies to turn these opportunities into realities.
Joe Whittaker, Chair
GMCDP, January 2017
Information: Disabled people should have equal access to information. It is only with access to information that disabled people can make informed choices about their lives. Service providers should work with disabled people to produce and disseminate information for disabled people in a range of accessible formats, such as: audio, braille, easy-read, large print, BSL video, etc.
Peer Support: Disabled people should have the opportunity to be in contact with, and have access to the support of other disabled people. Resources should be made available to facilitate the establishment of Peer Support Groups. Peer Support can be an empowering tool, as it enables disabled people to discuss, and draw strength from, our shared experiences.
Housing: Disabled people should have the right to live in our own homes. These homes should be accessible, and enable us to live independent lives. There should be ambitious, but achievable quotas and targets in relation to accessible housing. Both central and local governments should use all their existing powers to ensure that both private and social housing developments (including refurbishment schemes) meet the highest access standards.
Equipment: Disabled people should have access to information about what equipment and adaptations are available that assist us with day to day tasks. In addition, any application and assessment process should be simple and completed without delay. This process should not only apply to new applications but also in relation to the repair or replacement of existing equipment. Disabled people should not be denied necessary equipment because of their inability to pay.
Personal Assistance: Disabled people should be assessed for, and provided with, sufficient financial resources to employ Personal Assistants so that we can live independent lives. Disabled people should not be financially penalised due to the level of support required.
Transport: Disabled people should have equal access to all forms of transport that are available for the public to use. This goes beyond public transport, and includes taxis, planes, boats etc. GMCDP believes that transport regulators, licensing departments, central government etc. should use all their existing powers of enforcement to ensure that disabled people have increased access to all forms of transport.
Access: Access in and around the built environment should be a priority for all existing and future developments. This should go beyond just ramps, drop kerbs, tactile paving, induction loops, signage etc, but should also include attitudinal barriers. Local authorities and other service providers should consult with disabled people amend their access policies that go beyond minimum standards and promote best practice.
- The above statement was formally adopted by the GMCDP Executive Council on the 8th June 2011.
The Social Model explains the real experience of disabled people.
The Social Model explains that we (people who have impairments) are disabled people because we face barriers, fewer opportunities, discrimination and prejudice in society.
Under the Social Model, impairment and disability are not the same.
‘Impairment’ is when part of a person’s body or mind does not work, or works differently to what is considered ‘normal’ by society.
‘Disability’ is the barriers, discrimination and prejudice disabled people face. It is disability which makes us disabled people – not our impairments.
Some examples of ‘disability’ or barriers can be:
- Negative attitudes towards disabled people. For example, a café or shop owner not wanting a disabled person in their café or shop.
- Many buildings still not being accessible, for example, having steps with no ramp or lift, no tactile indication of stairs, etc.
- Lack of knowledge and support for alternative ways of communication, for example British Sign Language, Facilitated Communication, etc.
- Information not being provided in a variety of formats, such as audio, symbols, Braille, BSL, large print.
- Schools and colleges not being open to other than one way of learning.
These are only a few examples of barriers disabled people face.
The Social Model of disability moves the focus away from the individual person to the barriers disabled people face, so everyone can work towards removing barriers, not changing the person.
It is not our bodies or minds which ‘disable’ us, it is society.
We would like to thank the following organisations for contributing and/or supporting this manifesto:
Bury People First
GMCDP Membership and Executive Board members
Manchester Deaf Centre
Manchester Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC)
Manchester Disabled Peoples Access Group (MDPAG)
Rochdale and District Disability Action Group (RADDAG)
Trafford Centre for Independent Living (Trafford CIL)