Permission granted for challenge to National Disability Strategy consultation process

Tue,27 July 2021
News Equality & Rights

Four Disabled people have been permitted by the Court to bring forward a judicial review challenge of the consultation process enacted in the development of the proposed National Strategy for Disabled people.

The claim has been brought forward as the High Court found that the Secretary of State had been in breach of their public law duties during the process and that the case was “important in the public interest”. The claimants are challenging that when the government launched the UK Disability Survey to get input from the Disabled community in January 2021, they failed to put together a survey that was designed in such a way as to preclude proper and effective response.

Nearly all the questions in the survey were multiple-choice. Only four questions allowed free text responses, three of them being limited to 100 words and the other to 250 words. Also at no point did any of the questions outline any proposed content for the strategy or seek views on such content. Questions instead focused on data gathering, such as ‘Does your health condition stop you from doing everyday things?’ to which the possible responses were ‘Yes’; ‘No’; ‘Don’t know’; ‘Prefer not to say’.

Access to the survey was solely online, with easy read copies required to be printed and posted by participants – a clear barrier to access for Disabled people wanting to be included in the process.

With the National Strategy being announced this week with much fervour – this legal challenge could become important in any implementation of the strategy’s recommendations.

Kamran Mallick, CEO of Disability Rights UK said: “Disabled people have waited for much too long for a Strategy that had substance and direction. We believe, along with many other DPOs, that the consultation process was not up to scratch. Nothing about us without us is for us. Insufficient time and contribution mechanisms were in place for this consultation.

“Moving forward the Government must understand that removing the barriers that Disabled people face will take the direct involvement of us in the process. This ruling makes clear that much more can, and should, be done to ensure that Strategies for Disabled people include us at their heart.”

More information on the ruling can be found here.