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Disability: Independent Living Strategy

Volume 699: debated on Monday 3 March 2008

My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (James Purnell) has made the following Statement.

Today I am publishing the independent living strategy. This is a cross-government strategy that will give disabled people more choice and control over the services they need.

The independent living review was launched in July 2006 to find imaginative and practical ways of supporting independent living for disabled people. The Office for Disability issues has led the development of the strategy bringing together the views and experience of disabled people, organisations of disabled people, service-delivery organisations and central and local government officials. The strategy has been developed with and is jointly owned by the Department of Health, the Department for Transport, the Department for Work and Pensions, the Department for Children, Schools and Families, the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills.

The strategy marks a unique and radical approach to government working. It has been developed in partnership with disabled people to ensure that it reflects their real life experiences of the barriers to independent living and has drawn on their expertise to identify how to address these barriers. An expert panel, chaired by Baroness Campbell, has advised on the strategy’s development and disabled people—including younger disabled people who are reaching adulthood and older disabled people—have been involved in meetings and workshops during the development of the strategy.

The strategy draws together recent government commitments to remove barriers to independent living and to improve access to services, including better support for older people in their current homes, improved support for disabled young people and their families, and additional investment to transform support to older and disabled people. The strategy also makes a series of new commitments including:

demonstrating how to move resources from professional assessment and care management to user-led support, advocacy and brokerage to ensure people get the right support to make decisions for themselves;

a regional initiative to promote independent living for older disabled people with high support needs;

a national strategy to enable people to remain in employment when they acquire an impairment or their condition worsens;

an awareness campaign aimed at practitioners (in social work, the National Health Service and elsewhere) and disabled people themselves to ensure that health, social care and other services are delivered in ways which enable disabled people to have choice and control over how their needs are met;

a new toolkit to assist the development of local independent living strategies for and with older disabled people; and

good practice guidance to enable people to have choice and control over their continuing healthcare.

The strategy is designed to make a real and measurable impact on the lives of disabled people and contains a commitment to monitor the impact of the strategy, year on year, in partnership with disabled people.

The Government are committed to equality for all disabled people by 2025. Today’s independent living strategy is a major step towards achieving this aim.