A major survey launched by the government is aimed at ensuring an inclusive approach to its levelling-up agenda.
The study, being carried out by the Disability Unit in the Cabinet Office, seeks responses from disabled people, charities and other representative groups as it works towards delivering a National Strategy for Disabled People.
Respondents who share their views by Saturday 13 February will inform the development of the new strategy. After that date it will remain open until Friday 23 April for responses which can the influence delivery of a project which the Disability Unit itself describes as “ambitious”.
Their statement said: “The strategy will make practical changes to policies which strengthen disabled people’s ability to participate fully in society and will place fairness at the heart of government work on disability, to level up opportunity so everyone can reach their potential and participate in life in this country.
“We want to place the lived experiences of disabled people at the centre of our approach, as well as views from people across the country including those caring for and related to disabled people, as well as the general public.”
The introductory questions include a section asking people where they live, which should enable the government to generate a regional breakdown of the responses, showing which locations perform better than others.
The full survey covers a wide range of subjects and scenarios from such general points as the impact of various health conditions including impairments with sight or hearing, difficulty moving around or using a keyboard. It asks what sort of things a respondent is prevented from doing, and for how long that has been the case.
Perhaps the crunch question is what three things respondents would change to improve the quality of their life the most, and maybe this will prompt others to think about what they can do to create a more inclusive built environment.
If you work in the provision, design or construction of housing have a look at the question about the ease of getting into kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms and other parts of the house.
And overall, look at the questions about whether the place a person lives meets their needs, and how much effort is needed to get in and out. The government needs to see smiley faces on these responses, and if it doesn’t get them it needs to think about why.
The survey covers access to such public areas as squares and parks and routes into and around public buildings, and it’s highly likely that the sort of place where you work features in the list of venues.
It goes on to explore the extent to which being disabled contributes to isolation and loneliness, and to discrimination and abuse. Linked to this is the economic impact – the cost of living before and during Covid, issues around employment, whether or not reasonable adjustments at work are sufficient and whether disabled people are given enough support.
The results of the survey will hopefully provide vital information which will help the government develop and act upon its strategy. The answers should also be of interest to the wider community because we can all learn from the fact that the government is asking these questions, and we will learn even more from the responses.
To find out more about the survey visit https://disabilityunit.citizenspace.com/cabinet-office/ukdisabilitysurvey/