National Disability Strategies
Advancing the National Disability Strategy: Building on Comparative and International Innovation
The Baseline Study of Disability in Ireland has been renamed Advancing the National Disability Strategy: Building on International and Comparative Innovation. It is intended that this title will more accurately reflect the purpose of the study, which aims to highlight the goals of the National Disability Strategy and to embed tools for success in the implementation process. It also contains a major comparative study on the implementation and monitoring processes for Disability Strategies and Action Plans worldwide.
Some summary documents have been prepared for the international conference on this research project on 10 December 2010 and these can be accessed here.
The purpose of this study is to contribute to the transitionary phase in Irish disability policy identified in the Centre for Disability Law and Policy’s Strategic Plan by applying the high level values of dignity, autonomy, participation and social solidarity to Irish disability law and policy at grassroots level. It will undertake a detailed examination of the structure of Irish disability law and policy, using the implementation and monitoring processes of the National Disability Strategy as a starting point.
As the Strategy’s implementation is currently being monitored by government departments, the National Disability Strategy Stakeholders Monitoring Group and the National Disability Authority, this study will complement this work by embedding tools for moving the dynamic of change forward, taking the principles and rights in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as guidelines. There are three aspects to this task of reframing the National Disability Strategy – imagining the substantive fields which should be covered, describing innovative mechanisms to drive change forward and highlighting the types of indicators which can be used to assess the progress being made. The study will contain three major parts as outlined below.
Part I – Contemporary International Trends and Policies
This part of the study will outline the themes emerging from international disability law and policy and describe strategies for achieving these goals from international, regional and comparative perspectives. Part I will consider the ideal ingredients for a National Disability Strategy, including:
- fields to be covered and how these should be integrated;
- focal points, implementation processes and monitoring mechanisms for implementing change – how these are to be pursued without operating in isolation
- innovative mechanisms for policy implementation, e.g. disabled persons’ parliaments, office for disability in national ministries, statutory national disability councils, ombudsman for people with disabilities;
- independent review of disability legislation and policies, shadow reporting by civil society organisations;
- indicators and data sets to determine progress – through progressive realisation and developing learning organisations within government.
Chapter 1: Comparative International Trends in Disability Law and Policy
This chapter will examine trends in disability law and policy emerging at an international level, using the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as a guideline. The discussion will focus on the scope of the Convention and its specific contribution in terms of guidance for implementation and monitoring at international and national levels. Some key insights from public management literature on new mechanisms of governance will also be considered, followed by an analysis of the common trends arising in terms of vision, scope, aims and measures for achieving progress in Ireland’s National Disability Strategy.
Chapter 2: Regional Perspectives on Disability Strategies and Action Plans
This chapter considers the progress made at regional level by the adoption of the Council of Europe Disability Action Plan (2006-2015), the EU Disability Action Plans (2003-2009, 2010-2020), the Decade of the Americas for the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities (2006-2016), the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities (2002-2012), the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons (2003-2012) and the Arab Decade of Disabled Persons (2004-2013). The fields covered in the various action plans and the actions required at domestic level to implement these plans are often incorporated into National Disability Strategies. In respect of domestic implementation and monitoring, this chapter will consider whether lessons can be learned in individual countries such as Ireland from the various implementation and monitoring frameworks used at regional level.
Chapter 3: Comparative Country Evaluation: Lessons Learned from Other National Disability Strategies
This chapter will examine the National Disability Strategies/Action Plans of a number of countries including the following jurisdictions: England and Wales, New Zealand, British Columbia (Canada), Victoria (Australia), Sweden, Portugal, Slovenia and South Africa. Important aspects of each National Disability Strategy’s policy framework will be considered, including strategies for meaningful consultation with people with disabilities and disabled persons’ organisations, engagement with human rights mechanisms at national and international levels, the ability to gather accurate information to test the success of the strategy, a dedicated implementation system with opportunities for open engagement with members of the public, independent monitoring of the progress made in achieving the aims of the strategy and a genuine commitment to reflect best practice at regional and international levels.
Chapter 4: Ideal ingredients for Disability Strategies and Action Plans – the Global Experience
This chapter will explore the critical success factors emerging from the previous chapter’s comparative study. These factors will be divided into two broad categories: input criteria and output criteria. Input and development criteria include consultation strategies, implementation mechanisms, capacity building exercises within government departments and disabled persons’ organisations. These factors are all necessary to develop National Disability Strategies at policy-making levels. Output criteria include measurable indicators to determine progress, reliable data which can inform these indicators, and evidence of new attitudes towards disability issues in policy structures and in public services.
Part II – Ireland’s National Disability Strategy – The Story So Far
This part will undertake a detailed analysis of all the relevant events, legislation and reports which led up to the publication of the National Disability Strategy, from the report of the Commission on the Status of People with Disabilities in 1996 right up to present day. It will critically analyse the provisions of the National Disability Strategy and assess how these are currently implemented. Part II will also contain an accessible survey of current statistical information on the situation of people with disabilities and data collection tools used in Ireland – setting out what information is available and describing where gaps in data are apparent. This part of the study will attempt to draw out the over-arching vision behind current Irish disability law and policy, including the National Disability Strategy.
Chapter 5: Identifying the Golden Threads in Irish Law and Policy
This chapter will examine the development of disability law and policy in Ireland following the paradigm shift from welfare to rights-based legal provision which led to the eventual agreement of the National Disability Strategy in 2004. It will attempt to discern the patterns arising in legislative and policy initiatives designed to facilitate the societal participation of people with disabilities which can be progressed in line with the vision enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This assessment will begin with the report of the Commission on the Status of People with Disabilities in 1996, which put forward comprehensive proposals for reform of law and policy – and examine the extent to which the Commission’s proposals have now been implemented in subsequent legislative and policy reform.
Chapter 6: Achieving Ireland’s National Disability Strategy
This chapter will outline the vision and mission of Ireland’s National Disability Strategy. It will also analyse the various aspects of its policy structure including Sectoral Plans prepared by government departments, the implementation and monitoring tasks of the National Disability Strategy Stakeholders Monitoring Group, the links between the strategy and related government policies e.g. A Vision for Change (mental health policy), the National Children’s Strategy and the National Action Plan for Social Inclusion, and the data collection processes such as the National Disability Survey which can measure changes in life outcomes for people with disabilities in Ireland since the adoption of the strategy.
Chapter 7: Showcasing Domestic Progress and Achieving International Standards
This chapter will highlight parallels between the aims of the National Disability Strategy, Council of Europe Action Plan, EU Action Plan and UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The National Disability Strategy and UN Convention will be viewed as catalysts for establishing focal points within government, introducing independent monitoring and shadow reporting, facilitating comprehensive data collection and structural reform across public and private sectors. Domestic motivators for further reform will also be considered, including the principals of the Developmental Welfare State and the need to align policies on social inclusion.
Part III – Mapping the Ideal Ingredients for a National Disability Strategy onto the Irish Context
This part will map the themes derived from Parts I and II onto Irish disability law and policy, focusing on how the next phase of the National Disability Strategy can adapt to achieve these aims. It will include case studies to demonstrate how progress can be achieved and contain some recommendations for reform. These recommendations should propose strategies for bringing the philosophy contained in the UN Convention and the Irish National Disability Strategy to bear at ground level, including by increasing public awareness around disability issues. This study will explore the ongoing debate on how to craft indicators which can accurately measure progress in Irish disability law and policy, with input from indicator development at regional (particularly within the EU) and international levels.
Chapter 8: Structural Ingredients for Developing National Disability Strategies
This chapter will set out recommendations for changes in policy structures which can help to advance the aims of the National Disability Strategy, drawing on the lessons learned from the comparative study and international best practice and from the detailed analysis of the current Irish system. Consultation processes, the balance between delegation and cooperation in achieving policy goals and the structures necessary for consistent policy development will all be considered.
Chapter 9: Ingredients for Measuring Progress in Achieving Aims of National Disability Strategies
This chapter will discuss the key elements necessary to measure progress in achieving the aims of a National Disability Strategy. It will build upon the examples of best practice given throughout the comparative study and assess the potential of current Irish initiatives to achieve these aims. The key factors considered will include tools to support measuring progress e.g. accessible information, transparent processes and measurable indicators, encouraging a culture of compliance with comprehensive data collection processes and prioritisation of strategic goals in consultation with all stakeholders.
A major international conference on the main findings of this study will take place at the Centre for Disability Law and Policy in December 2010. They keynote address will be delivered by Shuaib Chalklen, UN Special Rapporteur on Disability and the Minister for Disability and Mental Health, John Moloney, will open the conference. Key participants in the development of National Disability Strategies from international and domestic spheres will attend the conference to share perspectives on possible ways forward. The key findings of this study will be launched at the Conference, and these recommendations should inform the future development of Ireland’s National Disability Strategy. The conference pack is available for download here. Some summary documents containing key findings and their application to Ireland’s National Disability Strategy have been prepared for the this conference and these can also be accessed here.
Research Leader: Dr. Eilionóir Flynn
Tel: +353 (0)91 494010
Fax: +353 (0)91 495569
Mobile/SMS/Text: 353 (0)87 6365408
Skype address: eilionoirflynnnuigalway