The rights of people with a disability are being ignored – what can we do? - RSA

The rights of people with a disability are being ignored – what can we do?


  • Picture of Ben Harvey
    Ben Harvey
    Marketing Communications and Stakeholder Engagement Professional
  • Accessibility & inclusion
  • Public services
  • Social care

Ben Harvey FRSA wants to start Fellow-led activity supporting people with disabilities in, or working towards, leadership positions. Find out more below and get involved.

A recent UN committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities examination concluded the UK government is failing to uphold disabled people’s rights across a range of areas from education, work and housing to health, transport and social security. In essence, disabled people’s rights are being ignored.

The UN committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities examined the UK government’s progress in fulfilling its commitments to the UN convention on disabled people’s rights, to which the UK has been a signatory since 2007.

According to the Equality Act 2010 you are defined disabled if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ adverse effect on your ability to do normal daily activities (this includes conditions like neurological diversity such as Dyslexia).

The UN’s report concludes that the UK has not done enough to ensure the convention – which enshrines the rights of disabled people to live independently, to work and to enjoy social protection without discrimination – is reflected in UK law and policy. In balance the report did praise some initiatives by the Scottish and Welsh governments to promote inclusion.

The issue is further compounded by environmental changes such as the shifting trends and conditions in the labour market and advancements in technology (e.g. AI and machine learning). People with a disability are being left behind.

It is no wonder that we therefore continue to see under-representation and a lack of inclusion at leadership and decision-making levels by disabled people within society, politics and business. People with a disability are being ignored.

What impact does this have economically and socially, now and in the future? What positive impacts could be made when disabled members of society are better included, engaged and represented? And how can society as a whole benefit from improving this?

I would welcome the opportunity to work with other Fellows interested in better support for disabled people in and working towards leadership positions. Could a group of Fellows, through their combined creative capacities,  develop and build a meaningful and constructive approach as to how we can support organisations to deliver a 21st century enlightenment, one which includes, not ignores, those with disabilities?

I have some ideas for how Fellows could work together to offer practical solutions such as  volunteer mentoring or coaching programmes like Disability Rights UK’s Leadership Academy Programme. However there are many ways to help and I’d love to hear your ideas and receive input in shaping the kind of activity Fellows could run.  

Please contact [email protected] if you would like to be put in touch with Ben Harvey FRSA directly, to help take this initiative forward.  This could be through inputting ideas or working together to lead activity for Fellows on this topic. 

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