A Fairer Scotland for Disabled People
The Scottish Government has published A Fairer Scotland for Disabled People strategy, outlining the Government’s Delivery Plan to 2021 for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It reflects a consultation on the Draft Delivery Plan and engagement with disabled people about how to reduce barriers, tackle inequalities and secure equal enjoyment of their rights as set out under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The Strategy includes five key ambitions and 93 separate actions to protect the rights of people with disabilities. The ambitions include:
- Support services that promote independent living, meet needs and work together to enable a life of choices, opportunities and participation
- Decent incomes and fairer working lives
- Places that are accessible to everyone
- Protected rights
- Active participation
The strategy also outlines work already underway under each of the above themes.
The Keys to Life - Learning Disabilities Strategy
In June 2013, the Scottish Government published its learning disabilities strategy The Keys to Life - Improving Quality of Life for People with Learning Disabilities, building on the success of 'The Same as You?', the original 10-year programme designed to meet the needs of people with learning disabilities. Following a two-year evaluation of the original strategy, a national learning disabilities strategy group discussed key themes and agreed the broad responses which formed the new learning disabilities strategy. The strategy contains 52 recommendations in total, aimed at improving the quality of life for people with learning disabilities in Scotland.
In March 2019, the Scottish Government published a new framework for the implementation of the strategy across 2019 - 2021. The new framework sets out the key priorities for the remaining period of the strategy, grouping these under: living, learning, working and wellbeing. It builds on work undertaken since the previous framework was published in 2015 and reflects a commitment to equality through the Fairer Scotland Disability Delivery Plan.
Sensory Impairment Strategy
In April 2014, the Scottish Government published See Hear: A strategic framework for meeting the needs of people with a sensory impairment in Scotland. Developed in partnership with COSLA, the framework provides practical advice and direction for meeting the needs of both children and adults with a sensory impairment. The document provides nine recommendations to help achieve the following five aims:
- The seamless provision of assessment, care and support to children and adults with a sensory impairment.
- Children and adults with a sensory impairment should expect the same access to education, employment, healthcare, social care and leisure as everyone else.
- People who have or develop a sensory loss understand what this loss will mean for them.
- People who have or develop a sensory loss are able to access information and be supported to take the maximum possible control over living as independently as possible, while also getting direct assistance when needed: appropriate communication is critical to this.
- Children and young people with a sensory impairment should expect appropriate and timely intervention in the early years and for as long as is required.
Independent Review of Learning Disability and Autism in the Mental Health Act
An independent review of learning disability and autism in the Mental Health Act has published its stage 1 report. The review is considering whether learning disability and autism should continue to be conditions that are covered by the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003.
The Stage 1 report contains experiences and views from people across Scotland who have experienced care under the
Mental Health Act, and who have worked with the Act as professionals. Stage 2 of the review looked at possible options for reform of the Act, with the findings reflected in consultation documents for stage 3.
The independent review published its final report in December 2019. It recommended that learning disability and autism are removed from the definition of mental disorder in the Mental Health Act. The report makes a number of other recommendations, including for a new law to support access to positive rights, including the right to independent living.
Children and Young People with Complex Additional Support Needs
The Scottish Government has published an updated ten year strategy to improve the learning outcomes for children and young people with complex additional support needs living in Scotland. ‘The right help at the right time in the right place: strategy for the learning provision for children and young people with complex additional support needs 2017-2026’, sets out the aim to improve outcomes for children and young people with complex additional support needs through strategic commissioning of services; with a particular focus on the provision of education. The objectives of the strategy are to:
- ensure the four key priorities set out within Scotland’s National Improvement Framework are central to the outcomes anticipated in the 10 Year Strategy
- frame the Strategy in the six key drivers for improvement within the National Improvement Framework: school leadership; teacher professionalism; parental engagement; assessment of children’s progress; school improvement; performance information all reflecting a particular relevance to provision for complex additional support needs
- ensure that the impact of any service commissioned results in capacity building across local authorities as well as at a national level
- provide an evidence base, which will include the voice of parents, children and young people, for decisions around national commissioning that drive improvements which benefit children and young people with complex additional support needs
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