‘Access to elected office for disabled people: A consultation’ sought views on our proposals for providing additional support for disabled people who are seeking elected positions as MPs, councillors or other elected officials. The consultation also considered ways of promoting opportunities for disabled people to realise their potential to become MPs. The consultation ran between 16 February and 11 May 2011.
In September 2011 the government published a summary of responses to the consultation which included the government’s response.
The government is committed to equality for disabled people and an important part of restoring trust is to open up our democracy and ensure that our political system better reflects the people it serves. Disabled people are currently under-represented in public life, despite there being over 10 million disabled people in the UK.
The consultation document put forward six proposals as suggested ways of delivering changes which could support more disabled people into elected positions. These were:
- Proposal 1: Government should work more closely with political parties, the Local Government Association (LGA) and disability organisations to develop focused awareness raising.
- Proposal 2: Work with political parties, the Local Government Association (LGA) and disabled people’s organisations to develop a cross-party Ambassadors programme.
- Proposal 3: Provide training and development opportunities aimed at supporting disabled people through the route to political participation.
- Proposal 4: Establish an Access to Elected Office Fund to support disability related costs.
- Proposal 5: Work with political parties to analyse their existing disability access policies and cascade and promote any good practice.
- Proposal 6: Promote and explain legal obligations that apply to political parties, e.g. develop a short guide, website materials and/or a toolkit to support local authorities and political parties to fulfil their duties under the Equality Act.
Following the consultation the government intends to take forward all of the proposals, with the exception of Proposal 2.
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Date: Tue Sep 13 14:35:27 BST 2011