Forum to Meet with the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work

Photograph of Justin Tomlinson MP (Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work) taken from the gov.uk website.

Thanks to support from Bristol East MP Kerry McCarthy, Justin Tomlinson (Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work) has agreed to meet with the Forum, to discuss our concerns about the National Disability Strategy Survey.

Background

Back in February we worked with the National Federation of the Blind UK (NFBUK) on a petition calling on the Minister for Disabled People to withdraw its Survey on a National Disability Strategy, because:

  1. it was not accessible to people with a wide range of communication access needs;
  2. the Minister had not involved organisations of Disabled people in drawing up the survey;
  3. many of the questions did not relate to Disabled people’s issues and priorities;
  4. some of the questions were not appropriate; and
  5. little or no space was provided for Disabled people to comment on what was, and was not, being asked or to say what issues and priorities they want the Strategy to cover.

The petition was signed by over 120 small to medium disability organisations – mostly Disabled people’s organisations – and featured in the Disability News Service.

The Minister’s Response

The Minister’s reply to our petition did not impress us, nor anyone who saw it!  Our petition was one of three that were sent to the Minister and, as far as we can see, the response to all of them was not acceptable. 

So, we asked Kerry McCarthy to lobby the Minister to listen to what Disabled people said about the survey.  We chose her because she has campaigned in parliament on disability issues before. 

Kerry mentioned our petition and raised the issue of the survey not being accessible, during the Minister for Disabled People’s question time.  His reply was to offer to meet with her, and Disabled people, to talk about it. 

Next Steps

The Forum will be meeting the Minister on Tuesday 15th June, along with our petition partner the NFBUK.  Kerry McCarthy, will chair the meeting and we have invited Bristol’s Centre for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing to also join us.  

If you experienced difficulties completing the survey, please email bristoldef@gmail.com telling us how the survey or particular questions in it, was not accessible to you. 

If you do this by 6th June we will be able to include your experience in what we say to the minister.

We will let you know what was said at the meeting, once we have held the meeting and heard whether the Minister has accepted our concerns.

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