The First Minister committed to establishing a Disability Rights Taskforce for Wales in the new Senedd term. The Taskforce is co-chaired by the Minister for Social Justice Jane Hutt MS and Professor Debbie Foster, author of the Locked Out Report. It is considering the findings and recommendations of the Locked Out: liberating disabled people’s lives and rights in Wales beyond Covid-19 report, other relevant data and evidence and will oversee the development of an action plan to roll back the damaging effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on disabled people.
Speaking on the significance of the Taskforce, Disability Wales Chief Executive, Rhian Davies, said:
“The Disability Rights Taskforce presents a major opportunity to embed social model principles, coproduction and a culture of inclusion across Welsh Government and the wider public sector. The formation of Working Groups is a welcome development in bringing focus to specific issues where disabled people face barriers to full participation such as in social care, transport and housing as well as providing a forum for identifying practical actions that will lead to implementation of disability rights in everyday life. I look forward to working with members of the Independent Living: Social Care Working Group to meet this challenge.”
The Disability Rights Taskforce has recently held its fourth meeting since being established in November 2021. The Agenda included reports from the Chair’s of three of the Working Groups set up to draft recommendations on specific issues in the Locked Out Report:
- Prof Debbie Foster: Embedding and Understanding the Social Model of Disability (Across Wales) working group
- Rhian Davies: Independent Living: Social Care working group
- Natasha Hirst: Access to Services (including Communications and Technology) working group
Additional items included an update from the Taskforce Secretariat which is headed by Gill Huws-John and a report on the work of the newly established Welsh Government Equality, Race and Disability Evidence Unit.
There are still opportunities to get involved in Taskforce Working Groups. In addition to the three groups listed above, others to be established include:
- Independent Living: Health and Wellbeing to start in November 2022 and chaired by Willow Holloway
- Affordable and Accessible Housing: to begin Spring 2023 and chaired by Graham Findlay
- Children and Young People: to begin Spring 2023, chair to be confirmed
- Employment and Income: to begin Spring 2023 and chaired by Prof Debbie Foster
- Travel: to begin Spring 2023 and chaired by Andrea Gordon
For more information about the Taskforce and to express interest in joining a Working Group, contact:
All Taskforce and Working Group members receive training on the Social Model of Disability which is being co-ordinated by DW and delivered by Mik Scarlet.