The Cabinet Member for Equalities and Culture, Councillor Sonia Winifred, introduced the report. She reminded Cabinet that the final Equality Commission report highlighted the significant inequalities and disadvantages experienced by disabled people across the different areas. She went on to say that this report provided an analysis of the Council’s current approach on a range of disability issues and also set out how the Council would address any areas that required improvement. She further highlighted that disability impacted all of our services and that it was a corporate responsibility to ensure that those inequalities were addressed.
David Strong, Director, of Disability Advice Service Lambeth, addressed Cabinet and was pleased that the review was taking place and felt it was a sensible starting point to understand what could be some complex issues. The report gave a good overview of five areas of the Council’s business and an appreciation of issues for disabled persons; whilst. The report also highlighted current initiatives and good practice which could be built on.
David Strong highlighted some concerns mainly around an engagement event that had to be rescheduled and also reasserted the need for a pan -disability reference group. He also stated that the review was internally focused and that the Council should not lose sight of the wider recommendations in the Equality Commission.
He further stated that it was important to ensure that momentum generated by the Equality Commission was maintained by the incoming administration and looked forward to being able to work with the Council to help deliver its ambition for improving its services and processes for the benefit of disabled people.
Cabinet Members made the following comments:
· That the overall responsibility should be managed at a corporate level and that the organisation should be moving toward these issues being business as usual.
· More opportunities should be created for disabled people within the Council.
· Other strategies from the across the Council should be taken into account and compliment this work.
Overall, Cabinet were pleased with the report and supported the recommendations as set out in 4.3 of the report. They also thanked the task and finish group that helped draft the recommendations.
1. To note the analysis of our current approach to, and performance on, a range of key disability issues; and proposals for what the council will do to address any areas of weakness.
2. To approve and accept the recommendations to the Council set out in this report.