Headlines: February 11th, 2009

Social care providers are being told they will have to focus on the barriers facing disabled people to bring about equality. In the third of its three equality bulletins, the Commission for Social Care Inspection says disabled people should get services that enable them to participate in society on an equal basis.

The good practice bulletin ‘Achieving disability equality in social care services’, has been produced to help care providers address the agenda for adult social care set out in ‘Putting People First’. The new guide’s findings are based on evidence including 400 self-assessment forms sent to care providers and a survey which was completed by 307 disabled people.

The bulletin says equality for disabled people will be achieved only if providers focus on the barriers they face. The study found that only one in three providers reported taking specific action to address issues of equality for disabled people.

Dame Denise Platt, who chairs the CSCI, said there were physical barriers that could prevent equality and there was evidence that many providers had taken action to address these. “But there are other obstacles in their way, including communication, negative attitudes and barriers to social inclusion, which still need to be tackled,” she said.

CSCI is recommending that each care provider should develop and put in place a disability equality strategy and that disabled people should be fully involved in the process. The bulletin suggests the plans need to look at factors, including reducing barriers to equality through a change in attitudes, raising expectations of disabled people using services, and improved access to information and advocacy.