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UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN AND NORTHERN IRELAND
STATEMENT BY MR STEPHEN THROWER,
HEAD OF PARALYMPIC LEGACY, RIGHTS AND INTERNATIONAL TEAM- UK DEPARTMENT FOR WORK AND PENSIONS
17 July 2013
Statement on behalf of the United Kingdom for the General Debate of the Sixth Conference of State Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
I have the honour to speak for the Government of the United Kingdom.
Since last year, the United Kingdom has made further good progress in respect of implementation of the Convention, and this month sees three important milestones.
The first on 2 July was the publication of the final part of the UK’s disability strategy: ‘Fulfilling Potential – Making It Happen’. http://odi.dwp.gov.uk/fulfilling-potential/index.php
This sets out the UK Government’s plans for delivering on the ambition that disabled people should be enabled to achieve their aspirations and play a full role in society. It also shows how disabled people are seeing improvements in many key outcomes, and reduced inequalities with non-disabled people.
‘Fulfilling Potential – Making it Happen’, emphasises the need for innovative cross-sector partnerships with disabled people and their organisations and promotes new ways of working to deliver improved outcomes. It has been developed with disabled people’s organisations so that it represents what they have said is important in their lives. It underscores the UK Government’s commitment to the UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled People to bring about the changes needed in communities that have a real and lasting effect on the day-to-day lives of disabled people.
Fulfilling Potential includes a detailed Action Plan that captures activity and plans across the whole of Government and beyond. The Action Plan sets out clearly in one place where progress has been made and also where we are encouraging and supporting the innovative work of the new Disability Action Alliance, and disabled people’s user-led organisations.
The Disability Action Alliance (http://disabilityactionalliance.org.uk/ ) brings together organisations from across the public, private, and voluntary and community sectors, with the aim of building collaborative ways of working – both locally and nationally. There are already over 150 members.
The Alliance has developed aims and priority areas from the issues and ideas raised during the Fulfilling Potential discussions and it will aim to help implement the practical solutions that disabled people suggested.
The Government’s strategy has been developed using a wide range of data from a detailed analysis published earlier this year in ‘Fulfilling Potential – Building a better understanding of disability in the UK today’. And the Government has worked with disabled people’s organisations and other experts to develop an outcomes and indicator framework that will be used to monitor progress nationally going forward. Recognising that most policies and programmes are delivered at a local level, we are also working with disabled people’s organisations to develop a new community action toolkit for local data that will complement national level information.
The second milestone this month will be the publication of a report into the Legacy from the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games. Government is committed to delivering a tangible and lasting legacy for disabled people, using the inspiration of 2012. The Paralympic Games had a massive positive impact on public atttitudes towards disabled people. More than six months after the Games in March 2013, 53% said that the Paralympics had a postive impact on the way they themselves viewed disabled people, and none said that it had a negative impact. The themes of the Legacy are complementary to Fulfilling Potential, with a particular focus on positive attitudes towards disabled people, accessibility and inclusive communities.
The third milestone comes tomorrow (18 July) with the launch of a two year campaign – Disability Confident – which aims to encourage and support employers to employ disabled people.
The campaign will be launched at a major disability employment conference in London bringing together around 450 attendees drawn from large scale employers, small and medium size businesses and entrepreneurs, disability organisations and recruitment companies. Employers will be able to discuss what are perceived as the barriers to employing disabled people and what support would help them as employers to overcome those barriers.
Alongside the Disability Confident campaign we are developing a new employment strategy for disabled people, working with disabled people and others to better understand the barriers to employment under the current system of support and to develop options for the future.
The United Kingdom remains very willing to share its expertise and experiences with all the Parties to the Convention, and welcomes the opportunity to learn about the achievements and approach of others during this conference.