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Disability Action Alliance: a new long term strategy

The Disability Action Alliance is developing a new strategy focusing on its long term sustainability and more collaborative working.

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The Disability Action Alliance (DAA) is now in its third year of existence and is coming of age! With over 400 members, a track record of tangible outcomes through collaboration and members starting to work together in new and exciting ways, the steering group is now developing a long term strategy for the DAA.

The strategy will both focus on ensuring the long-term sustainability of the DAA and build on natural evolutions in the way that members are engaging with each other. As a starting point the steering group is reviewing the DAA’s impact so far and considering how best to build on achievements. This is with the aim of better enabling collaborative working that makes a positive difference to disabled people’s full participation.

We (the Office for Disability Issues, ODI) are providing a one year grant to fund the next stage of the development of the DAA and its long-term strategy. As part of this grant the steering group has decided the DAA’s chairing organisation, Disability Rights UK, should undertake the secretariat function for the period of the grant. Though government facilitated the DAA’s birth, it is felt that now is the time to put disabled people at the heart of the DAA’s delivery.

The steering group welcomes input from DAA members and will be approaching the membership for input from March-May 2016. Participation from members will be particularly important as the steering group reviews where the DAA focuses its energies, how it can best enable its members to join up both locally and nationally, what form the Alliance should take longer term and how the DAA can ensure sustainability.

Liz Sayce, chair of the DAA and chief executive of Disability Rights UK, said:

The unique thing the Disability Action Alliance does is act as a catalyst. It brings organisations that don’t know each other together, across different sectors, linking people with good ideas to others who can ‘open doors’, with practical results.

It’s great that disabled people are setting the direction, with many allies, and that organisations led by disabled people are strongly represented on the steering group. I look forward to working with the DAA’s members to forge a successful future for the DAA, enabling collaborative work that leads to strategic and practical change and ultimately to greater participation of disabled people across society.

Stephanie Harvey of the Office for Disability Issues (ODI) says:

I am proud to say that the ODI has been a key member in the creation and development of the Disability Action Alliance (DAA). Launched in 2013, following the outcomes of the Fulfilling Potential strategy, the DAA has grown significantly.

With more than 400 members and a long list of achievements through collaborative working, the value of the DAA and what it brings to the table is well understood. Having proven its value, it is now imperative to ensure the long-term sustainability of the DAA in a way that coincides with how the DAA is naturally evolving. As such, the ODI is very pleased to announce that we will be providing a one year grant to fund the development and implementation of a long-term strategy. The strategy seeks to build on the good work already achieved, place disabled people at the heart of the running of the DAA and, crucially, to ensure its sustainability long-term.

Though the ODI will no longer deliver the secretariat function, instead placing disabled people themselves at the centre of the DAA, we will remain key members of the steering group. As long standing members of this group, the ODI is really excited about the opportunities that developing such a strategy presents.

Justin Tomlinson, Minister for Disabled People, said:

Since taking up my role as the Minister for Disabled People I have been interested in the work that the Disability Action Alliance undertakes. The idea of a cross-sector alliance of organisations working in collaboration to drive forward improvements for disabled people is one that very much appeals to me.

I believe strongly that all organisations have a duty to ensure that they are inclusive, not only as a result of the duties placed on them through the Equality Act, but also to ensure that our society benefits from what disabled people have to offer. The cross-sector nature of the DAA supports this by acknowledging that all parts of our society must contribute if we are to build a truly inclusive society.

Given the importance of the alliance, I am pleased to say that the Office for Disability Issues will be providing a grant for the development of a strategy that places particular focus on the DAA’s long-term sustainability. As a minister with a responsibility for halving the disability employment gap, I am also very encouraged by the decision to ensure that disabled people will be at the heart of delivering the DAA from this point on. To watch this alliance grow and evolve is an honour, and I wish to provide my full support as it takes this courageous step.

Read the full 15 February 2016 statement on the DAA website.

It includes comments from some of the DAA steering group.

Published 17 February 2016