Welsh Government has published ‘Locked out: liberating disabled people’s lives and rights in Wales beyond COVID-19‘, a report about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on disabled people in Wales. Believed to be the first of its kind commissioned and published by a national government in the UK, as well as being evidence led, Locked Out was co-produced with Disabled People’s Organisations.
Locked Out: Liberating Disabled People’s Lives and Rights in Wales beyond Covid-19
As the Disability Equality Forum Steering Group involved in coproducing the Report Locked Out: Liberating Disabled People’s Lives and Rights in Wales beyond Covid-19, we welcome publication of the report by Welsh Government together with its commitment to establishing a Minister led Task Force which will address the inequalities highlighted in the report and oversee implementation of the actions to tackle these.
The Locked Out Report was submitted to Welsh Government in February 2021 during the depths of the second lockdown and drew on over 300 items of evidence gathered over the previous six months. As well as highlighting the extent of inequality faced by disabled people in Wales, illustrated most starkly by the statistic that 68% of Covid related deaths in Wales comprise disabled people, the evidence reveals how legislation and policy enacted to secure the rights of disabled people failed to do so, even when needed most.
The implementation gap between policy and practice could not be wider. As restrictions lift and the wider public looks forward to a ‘return to normal’, this will not be the case for most disabled people. The lack of engagement with disabled people in local service planning and policy development has led to even greater exclusion, ranging from lack of access to shops and suitable housing to timely and appropriate health and social care.
The formation of the Minister led Task Group to include representation from a range of national and local stakeholders and crucially disabled people, will be vital to identifying solutions that tackle rather than perpetuate inequality as well as challenging cultural assumptions about disabled people being needy and vulnerable rather than active citizens with rights.
We very much welcome working with Welsh Government to take our recommendations forward, especially in ensuring our shared ambition that the Social Model of Disability is the organising principle for action, and that the UN Convention of the Rights of Disabled People is incorporated in law.
Speaking on the publication of the report, Disability Wales Chief Executive and Chair of the Steering Group, Rhian Davies, said:
“In Wales we can be rightly proud of producing such a compelling Report. Believed to be the first of its kind commissioned and published by a national government in the UK, as well as being evidence led, Locked Out was co-produced with Disabled People’s Organisations. It highlights ‘the deep rooted inequalities’ exposed by the pandemic that disabled people in Wales will have experienced first hand. The Report’s influence is already apparent, accepting that the ‘Social Model of Disability should be the organising principle for action’, Welsh Government is establishing a Minister led Task Force to respond to the findings and recommendations. Furthermore it has confirmed its intention to incorporate the UNCRDP in Welsh law. DW looks forward to playing a full and active part at this significant moment in progressing disability rights and equality in Wales.”
The Locked Out: Liberating disabled people’s lives and rights in Wales beyond COVID-19 report was co-produced by Professor Debbie Foster of Cardiff Business School and a Steering Group of disabled people representing Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) and disability charities. The Steering Group was chaired by Rhian Davies, Chief Executive of Disability Wales.
Link to the Locked Out Report (published 2nd July 2021) including Easy Read and BSL versions:
The Statement by the Minister for Social Justice Jane Hutt MS: Written Statement: Welsh Government Response to the Locked Out: Liberating disabled people’s lives and rights in Wales beyond Covid-19 report (2 July 2021) | GOV.WALES