Working in partnership: The Disability Charities Consortium

The Disability Charities Consortium (DCC) brings together CEOs and policy leads from nine of the UK’s leading not-for-profit disability organisations. We make sure disabled people’s experiences are reflected in UK policy making, by working collaboratively to influence politicians and officials working on disability policy.

  • The DCC members are: Business Disability Forum (BDF), Leonard Cheshire, Mencap, Mind, National Autistic Society, Royal National Institute for Deaf people (RNID), Royal National Institute of Blind people (RNIB), Scope, and Sense.
  • The DCC feeds insights and topical concerns into the Disability Unit to help inform disability related policy development. The DCC engages with decision makers to ensure that public policy is made with and for disabled people
  • We are uniquely placed, having a strong working relationship with the position of Minister for Disabled People, Ministerial Champions and the Disability Unit. Either collectively or as individual members we also provide insight and support to opposition spokespeople working on relevant policy briefs. We have a duty to those whom we support to maximise this relationship and use our influence well. We want to use this experience to effect meaningful and lasting change for disabled people in this parliament and beyond. 
  • We want to work with policy makers as a “critical friend”, bringing our extensive experience and evidence base to help inform policy development and delivery, suggesting practical and pragmatic solutions and highlighting what works, and what doesn’t, from our extensive experience and evidence base.

Empowering disabled people

Disabled people must and will be at the heart of everything that the DCC does. This is central to the work of us as individual organisations and as a whole. There is a fantastic movement of disabled-people-led campaigning and influencing. As the DCC we do not seek to replace this but work alongside and in partnership. We all have a shared vision of change for disabled people and can each bring our strengths to the table to achieve this. 

DCC policy priorities

As the DCC we have agreed that we have 3 key areas of focus for our policy influencing work. This isn’t an exhaustive list but sets the framework for which we will operate. Individual member organisation will work on a wider range of issues in line with their priorities.

  1. Integrated disability policy making across government: proactive work to support a co-ordinated understanding of disability across government departments. Championing a framework for policy development and an infrastructure for implementation.
  2. Inclusive employment for disabled people: proactively seeking to influence policy on employment to ensure greater equality and support for disabled people looking for work and in the workplace.
  3. Extra costs of disability: highlighting and tackling the wider issues facing disabled people around extra costs of daily life directly related to their disability (prior to, during and post the cost of living crisis).

We are in an era of change

As organisations working with and for disabled people we know that there is much that needs to change. Disabled people and their families experience daily inequality in all areas of life. These inequalities have existed for as long as we can remember but have been further exposed and entrenched by the Covid-19 pandemic and the current cost of living crisis facing our country. Many people tell us that they feel forgotten by Westminster and by society. 

We find ourselves now in a time of political, financial and societal change. The financial crisis affecting our country is impacting on the personal finances of many but also bringing pressures to government spending and the delivery of public services. Programmes of policy and legislative reform have been disrupted by successive political upheaval and external pressures.

Looking ahead we know that there is more change to come. The general election in 2024 or early 2025 will bring a new focus for government and all political parties as they set out their manifestos for how to lead the country forwards. As well as the long-term vision setting there will also be a new focus on the short term, looking at what can be achieved in the current parliament and setting priorities for this time.

Whilst there is much that is unknown, it is clear to the DCC that whatever happens disabled people must be prioritised. Change can bring opportunity and we need to capitalise on this for those we exist to support. We need a refreshed vision for change for disabled people that we can take to those who have the power to make it happen. 

If you would like to read our full policy prospectus, or have any questions about the work of the DCC then please contact the co-chairs of our policy group: Sarah White [email protected] and Robert Geaney [email protected]