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Independent Living Strategy: A review of progress

17 July 2014

This short report seeks to measure progress of the Independent Living Strategy against some of the most important specific aims of the strategy.

Publication of this paper has been supported by In Control and Disability Rights UK.

You can download the report here.

Key findings

  • There is no evidence of significant progress in disabled people’s experiences of choice and control in their lives since 2008.
  • There has been an increase in numbers receiving personal budgets for social care, and when delivered well, they improve outcomes.
  • However, there have been significant limitations to effective delivery of personal budgets. Most have taken the form of council-managed services and there is evidence that inadequate funding and restrictions on how personal budgets/direct payments may be used can inhibit choice and control.
  • Disabled people who need support in their daily lives are experiencing diminishing opportunities to participate in family and community life.
  • Older people are finding it more difficult to access support and are experiencing fewer options and opportunities for independent living.
  • People with high levels of support needs are at increasing risk of institutionalisation.
  • Mental health needs are increasing, but access to mental health services is becoming more difficult.
  • One in four people using social care services say information is fairly or very difficult to find, and there have been significant reductions in advice and advocacy services, particularly those funded by legal aid.
  • The employment gap between disabled and non-disabled people remains at 30 per cent - the level it was in 2010.3
  • • There is no evidence that current policies to support disabled people into work are improving employment opportunities: only five per cent of disabled people on the Work Programme have found a job.
  • The reported success rate for the Work Choice Programme is much better but only one per cent receive this form of support.
  • There has been a 16 per cent decline in the numbers of disabled people receiving support from the Access to Work Programme between 2009/10 and 2012/13.
  • Large numbers of disabled people have experienced a reduction in their household income since 2010.
  • Disabled people are experiencing a reduction in housing opportunities and an increasing number are living in accommodation which is not suited to their needs.
  • There has been a small decrease in the percentage of disabled people experiencing difficulties with transport, but a large increase in transport difficulties experienced by unemployed or economically inactive disabled people.
  • There have been significant reductions in expenditure on important programmes intended to increase transport opportunities.

About the author

Dr Jenny Morris OBE was involved in research and policy development on disability issues for 30 years and helped to write the 2005 White Paper, Improving the Life Chances of Disabled People. She was Executive Director of the Independent Living Review which developed the 2008 Independent Living Strategy.