Consultation and Involvement
Nothing about us, without us!
Involvement is at the heart of the Disability Equality Duty and therefore needs to be at the heart of any Equality Scheme covering disability. The Equality and Human Rights Commission says: “Best expressed as ‘nothing about us without us’, the involvement obligation requires the ongoing participation of disabled people throughout the process of developing the scheme and in its implementation. It is therefore an on-going working relationship rather than a one-off consultation.”
Key principals behind involvement
- be part of the whole process – an essential component of the development, delivery and monitoring of your scheme
- be active and real – and budgets should take a realistic account of the costs that it can incur for genuine access
- involve relevant people who have a real interest in what you do – this can include staff (current and past), people who participate or use your services and the wider community
- involve a range of disabled people – not just the obvious ones. Think about the full diversity of disabled people – and not just in terms of the different types of impairment and the barriers people might experience. Also think about variety in relation to other diversity areas: ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation and religion or belief.
You can link into other organisations, groups and coalitions to form links, but try to ensure that you are involving disabled people where at all possible, rather than non-disabled people who work is connected to disability.
Also think hard about how you can reward people for their involvement and combat ‘involvement fatigue’. You might have skills, experiences or products that you can offer people in exchange for their involvement.
Your scheme should include a short summary of who you consulted and involved; how you did it; what people told you, and what action you are taking as a result of the issues raised. This link between what people flag up and the action you take is key. You may not be able to prioritise solutions to everything that comes up, and you should explain why you have prioritized what you have done within your scheme.
And get creative!
Within the arts and cultural sector we have a real potential to use the work we do to support involvement. Please do get in touch if you have any examples of creative approaches to involving disabled people you’d like us to feature here (email@example.com).