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Making local communities inclusive

11 September 2014

Inclusive Communities

Inclusive Communities

Disability Rights UK has published new materials on making local communities inclusive:

Today’s local communities are strongest when they enable all, diverse citizens to participate socially, economically and politically. These inclusive communities have better health, improved economic development, stronger political institutions and more effective public services. One in 5 of us is living with a health condition or disability. Economic recovery and social well-being cannot happen without inclusion.

This is about making human rights real for everyone, every day.

We found fantastic examples: individuals single-handedly campaigning to make everything from cafes to buses accessible, Disabled People’s Organisations making everything from music festivals to employment opportunities more open to all, public authorities working with disabled people to create inclusive regeneration developments and much fairer responses to hate crime – and more.

But often people who need participation most - because they face exclusion from local opportunities - get it least. Disabled people are often excluded by poverty, or inequality of status and power, or the way public space is organised (with rules and inaccessibility that exclude). An inclusive community includes people unconditionally – not only if they ‘fit in’. 

To achieve fully inclusive outcomes requires fully inclusive processes – ie disabled people participating at all stages of planning, decision-making, governance, scrutiny and leadership. We found examples of local authority structures that built disabled people’s involvement into decision making; and enabled people’s power through the ballot box and elections.  

We believe DPOs, local authorities and other partners are in a powerful position to promote:

  • Greater social citizenship rights: working with Health and Well-Being Boards
  • Greater economic citizenship rights: working with Local Enterprise Partnerships
  • Greater democratic engagement and accountability

This work helps meet obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Public Sector Equality Duty under the Equality Act. It is about people and organisations working together to make local communities work for everyone, even in very tough times. DPOs can advise and be commissioned to help improve communities for everyone.

You can view all the documents, including accessible versions, at http://disabilityrightsuk.org/policy-campaigns/reports-and-research/inclusive-communities