Disabilities – Scottish Government

Policy Piece

The below content sets out some of the actions currently underway on tackling gender bias and promoting gender equality for disabled people. This piece covers nine different areas:

  1. Social Care & Self-Directed Support
  2. Keys to life
  3. Employment action plan
  4. Social Security Scotland
  5. Housing & Housing 2040
  6. Transport
  7. Culture & Tourism
  8. Access to justice
  9. Participatory budgeting
  10. ATEO (Access to Elected Office Fund)

1. Social Care / SDS

Self-directed Support

Self-directed support was introduced by the Social Care (Self-directed Support) (Scotland) Act 2013, legislation that was developed in close collaboration with the Independent Living Movement. The purpose of introducing self-directed support is to ensure that anyone receiving social care is fully involved in decisions about that support. This Act makes provisions requiring local authorities to actively involve those receiving social care support in the planning and delivery of their support and enables people who want to, to take full control of their support.

Progress so far has been reviewed by both Audit Scotland (2014, 2017)[1] and the Care Inspectorate.[2] Work is currently underway by the Self Directed Support Scotland (SDSS) and the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland to repeat work from 2016 to assess people’s experiences of self-directed support with user surveys.

The ISD (Information Services Division) reported the following main findings, among others:

  • An estimated 1 in 24 people of all ages in Scotland received social care support and services during 2017/18.
  • Of the total number of people receiving social care services/support in 2017/18, an estimated 75% were involved in choosing and controlling their support through self-direct support options.
  • The number of people choosing a direct payment (self-directed support option 1) to purchase the services/support they require continues to increase with an estimated 8,880 people in 2017/18 compared to 8,290 in 2016/17, an increase of 7%.[3]

Scottish Government continues to fund independent support and advice for people navigating social care through Support in the Right Direction funding. Thirty voluntary sector organisations covering 31 authority areas will receive a total of £2.9 million per year until March 2021 to offer face-to-face advice, advocacy and other forms of support, including for people not currently eligible for formal support.[4]

However, work remains to be done to fully implement self-directed support in line with the original policy intent. Recognition of this lies at the heart of the new programme of reform to adult social care[5], which was co-produced with people using social care support and carers, and launched in June 2019. The programme includes 9 work streams, all of which will consider self-directed support. Scottish Government published a self-directed support implementation plan 2019-2021 drawing together the planned activity. This document sets out a guide for the local planning and delivery of social care support services (the Change Map) which requires the views and experiences of supported people to inform and underpin all of the necessary changes. It also sets out the actions that national public and voluntary sector organisations will take to support authorities to build on their progress towards more flexible and responsive social care support, co-produced with communities and supported people.[6]

2. The keys to life (Learning disability strategy)

Learning Disabilities

In 2013, the Scottish Government launched ‘The keys to life’ strategy, aimed at improving outcomes for people with learning disabilities. It’s emphasis is for everyone in Scotland with a learning disability to live healthier lives, enjoy choice and control over the services they use, and are supported to be independent and active citizens. Evidence confirms that people with learning disabilities face a number of barriers, including lower life expectancy (20 years lower, on average, than the general population) and low employment rates (7% compared to the 73% rate for the general population).[7]

The first implementation framework that ran from 2015-17 has led to a number of developments around healthy lifestyles, improved choice and control, independence and active citizenship. In 2019, the Scottish Government published a new implementation framework for 2019-21.[8] This emphasises developments in:

  • the housing needs for people with learning disabilities
  • educational outcomes
  • accessibility of healthcare
  • employment

In both the original 2013 strategy and the refresh, an expert group of people with learning disabilities were consulted and involved in the policy development.

3. Employment action plan

Improving the Participation of Disabled People in Paid Work

The Scottish Government is focused on creating a more successful Scotland with opportunities for all. In 2018, the Scottish Government hosted a conference with employers to focus on options for collaborative working between disabled people’s organisations, the public sector and the private sector to support the employment of disabled people.

Subsequently, the A Fairer Scotland for Disabled People: Employment Action Plan was published in December 2018. In 2016, the baseline year for the Action Plan, the employment rate for disabled people was 42.8%, compared to 80.2% for non-disabled people. This amounts to an employment gap of 37.4%, which the action plan commits to halving by 2038.

The plan is structured around 3 key themes: Supporting employers to recruit and retain disabled people; supporting disabled people to enter employment; and supporting young disabled people and transitions. Key actions contained in the plan include:

  • Investing up to £500,000 in testing an access to work-style scheme to support developments amongst employers to reduce the barriers to disabled people entering work
  • A pilot fund of £6 million to co-produce a strategy to address employment barriers for disabled parents in areas of high child poverty
  • £1 million to establish a new Public Social Partnership to address the barriers that employers face in hiring and retaining disabled people.

Employability Services

In 2015, Scottish Government undertook public consultation to develop a new approach to delivering employment support services. The consultation response ‘Creating a Fairer Scotland: A new future for employability support in Scotland’ laid the foundation for the design of new services that were devolved to Scotland in 2017, having previously been delivered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) across the UK. A year of transitional services followed, during which Scottish Government worked with Service Providers and partners to successfully implement Work First Scotland (WFS) and Work Able Scotland (WAS) .

Beginning in April 2017, the Scottish Government has used new powers to better align employability services in Scotland focusing on supporting those who need the most help, reducing inequality and ensuring that the principle of fairness, dignity and response are at the heart of its approach. Participation in the Scottish Government’s employability services is voluntary.

Fair Start Scotland

In April 2018 the Scottish Government introduced Fair Start Scotland (FSS) which aims to support a minimum of 38,000 participants in their journeys into and toward work over a three year referral period. Work Able Scotland and Work First Scotland provided 12 month transitional employability support ahead of the introduction of FSS in April 2018. Referrals for both transitional services stopped in March 2018.

FSS prioritises immediate entry for disabled individuals as defined under the Equality Act 2010. In the first year of its operation (up to 29th March 2019), 10,063 people have joined, 64% of whom reported having a long-term health condition. Further information on how FSS is supporting disabled people will continue to be published regularly. FSS also continues to promote the Supported Employment Framework to support disabled people in learning on the job with support from colleagues and a job coach.

A progress report published in November 2019 found that many of those surveyed were very positive about the support they received. In total, 92% felt they were treated with dignity and respect and this did not differ by gender, ethnicity or presence of a health condition. Around four fifths felt they had choices about the type of support that they received, feeling that it took account of their individual needs, and 78% felt the service offered support to improve their general of life and wellbeing.

Other Employment Support

The Scottish Government also provides funding to a number of employability programmes aimed at helping young people facing barriers to employment to learn new skills and ultimately find work. Although not aimed specifically at disabled young people, these programmes do help many young disabled people to access the support they need to undertake relevant training for work. For example, in 2018-19 we provided £6.1 million to the Community Jobs Scotland programme to create 700 in-work training opportunities for young people and 378 of the young people involved in the programme reported as having a disability.

4. Social Security Scotland

Designing the Scottish Social Security Agency

The Scottish Government is committed to creating an accessible, fair and responsive social security system for disabled people. These goals have underpinned the development of a new social security agency, created via the Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018. The Act sets out the eight underlying principles underpinning the social security system. These emphasise social security as an investment in the people of Scotland and a human right, with respect for the dignity of individuals at the heart of the system. Among other benefits, the Scottish Government started to take responsibility for the delivery of disability assistance payments from summer 2019. We are designing an appropriate framework to evaluate the impact of the disability assistance benefits as they roll out, using a combination of routine data and bespoke projects.

The Disability Assistance policy approach that the agency is developing has been established in conjunction with users of the system via the Experience Panels (see next paragraph); the Disability and Carers Benefits Expert Advisory Group (DACBEAG) as well as the Ill Health and Disability Benefits Stakeholder Reference Group, established in 2016, to inform and influence the development of policy options relating to disability and ill health social security benefits. This group comprises members who attend as representatives of their organisation/profession (including representatives of Coalition of Care and Support Providers Scotland, University of Glasgow, Child Poverty Action Group, and National Rural Mental Health Forum). A public consultation was also launched in March 2019, closing in late May 2019.

User Experience panels are a particularly important development in developing the social security agency. In 2016 over 2400 people who have recent experience of claiming at least one of the benefits devolved to Scotland, many of whom are disabled, participated in these panels. The feedback from these individuals continues to be instrumental in shaping the policy and design of Disability Assistance in Scotland.

5. Housing / Housing 2040

Housing and Independent Living

The Scottish Government champions independent living for disabled people within their community. Living in the right home with the right support can be the key to enabling people to live safely and independently at home.

We want disabled people in Scotland to have choice, dignity and freedom to access suitable homes, built or adapted to enable them to participate as full and equal citizens. Our A Fairer Scotland for Disabled People Delivery Plan sets out a number of housing related actions.

In March 2019 we published new practical guidance for local authorities that will support the delivery of more wheelchair accessible housing. The guidance creates a requirement for targets across all tenures which local authorities will report annually on progress.

We are investing more than £3.3 billion in affordable housing to deliver at least 50,000 affordable homes over the lifetime of this Parliament. Grant subsidy flexibilities in the Affordable Housing Supply Programme enable Local authorities and housing associations to deliver more specialist housing where it is needed.

We are building homes that are sufficiently flexible to meet the needs of people as they change over time. Latest available statistics show that 99% of homes built by housing associations and councils in 2017-18 met Housing for Varying Needs Standards.

The Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 introduced changes to National Planning Framework and introduced new outcomes which include meeting the housing needs of people living in Scotland including, in particular, the housing needs for older people and disabled people.


Since the integration of health and social care, Integration Joint Boards (IJBs) are responsible for the planning and delivery of adaptations using budget created by delegation and for reviewing and developing services to improve outcomes for people who require adaptations. We are working to ensure disabled people who need adaptations to their home access services promptly. We are currently developing regulations under section 37 of the Equality Act 2010 that will give disabled people the right to make necessary, reasonable adaptations to common areas. The regulations were laid before Parliament on 6 December 2019 and subject to parliamentary scrutiny will come into force on 24 February 2020. The creation of this right will be a first within the UK.

Third Sector organisations supporting independent living

The Scottish Government provides funding to organisations committed to helping older and disabled people live independently e.g. Housing Options Scotland, Age Scotland and Housing Support Enabling Unit. We also fund Care and Repair Scotland, the coordinating body for Care and Repair services in Scotland. Care and Repair provides services that enable older and disabled people to continue living in their own home.

Housing to 2040

The Scottish Government’s ambition is that everyone in Scotland should live in high quality, energy-efficient homes that are affordable and that meet their needs.

In our 2018-19 Programme for Government, we made a commitment to work with stakeholders on a vision for how our homes and communities should look and feel by 2040 and the options and choices to get there. In 2019-20, we reaffirmed that commitment.

Housing is embedded in so much that we want to achieve. It has a vital role to play in meeting many of our aspirations for Scotland, including eradicating child poverty and homelessness, ending fuel poverty, tackling the global climate emergency and promoting inclusive growth. We want to ensure that we have a housing system that is dynamic and resilient enough to respond to future changes and challenges, such as our ageing population.

Our approach to Housing to 2040 is therefore not just about bricks and mortar; it’s about people and it’s about creating flourishing communities across Scotland.   We want housing and the housing market to be flexible enough to enable people to meet their changing needs. Living in the right home with the right support can be the key to enabling people to live safely and independently at home. That is why we must ensure we have a housing system that works for us all.

Now is the time to reimagine our housing system, and to do that, we are continuing to build on the collective wisdom and expertise from across the wide and varied housing sector and from communities across Scotland. We want to hear people’s views on our draft vision and principles for 2040 and their innovative, bold and imaginative ideas for how to make them a reality.

We are now in a period of consultation which will run until 28 February 2020. Consultation details and all other relevant background information is available here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/housing-2040/

Draft vision and principles for 2040


In July 2019, we published a draft vision for our homes and communities in 2040, and supporting principles to guide policy development.

Our National Performance Framework provides the high-level vision for Scotland. Our draft housing vision for 2040 describes in more detail what we want the housing system to look and feel like in the future. It is meant to be ambitious and aspirational.

The vision is person-centred, and views the system from the citizen’s perspective to reflect the diversity of people, homes and communities across Scotland.

The principles underpinning the vision are a high-level guide to how policy decisions might be made to make the vision a reality.

Vision statement examples: homes that meet peoples’ needs

Diversity – Where I live, there are a variety of different homes that meet the differing needs of people in the community […] When my illness became more severe and limited my mobility, I was able to find a home that allows me to stay in my community and had my independence supported.

My services – I get the help I need to live independently at home, supported by new and advancing technology. I can access health, welfare, education and other services, not least because my community is well-connected with good transport services. If I need an aid or adaptation to my home to allow to me to continue to live independently, it will be provided within a reasonable time. If I am no longer able to live independently at home, there is a good choice of retirement, sheltered or residential homes available to me close to my family

Example of principle 14: homes that meet peoples’ needs


Housing and the housing market should be highly flexible to enable people to meet their changing needs.

There are enough accessible or adaptable homes across Scotland suitable for older people, disabled people, or anyone else in need of specialist accommodation, making it easy to move to be nearer family or work. Ex-service personnel are well looked after. There are no fiscal barriers or disincentives to people moving to a more suitable home for their needs. Government shows leadership but social housing development is progressed in partnership between local authorities, housing associations, developers and communities, with government intervention only if required. The state has an enabling role and communities know their rights and are more empowered. Government mediation balances individual and public good.

Housing supports, enables and reflects the diverse people of Scotland – people of all protected characteristics and other vulnerable or disadvantaged groups live in the right homes for them. They are well-represented in the workforce delivering housing and housing services. The housing system supports innovation, new models of housing and service delivery and the provision of other types of less traditional forms of accommodation: for example, culturally appropriate accommodation for Gypsy/Travellers that meets their needs and aspirations.

Community and stakeholder engagement

2018 stakeholder engagement

The first phase of stakeholder engagement, in Autumn 2018, attracted contributions from over 800 people representing more than 100 organisations, including those representing people with disabilities, and provided a comprehensive dialogue around the future of housing.

In May 2019 we published our Housing to 2040 stakeholder engagement report which sets out what people told us in response to our 2018 discussion paper: https://www.gov.scot/publications/housing-2040-report-stakeholder-engagement-2018/


Housing Exhibition: Present Voices Future Lives, 4 Nov- 16 Dec


To support our wider engagement on Housing to 2040, a travelling exhibition  – curated and designed by Edinburgh University’s School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (ESALA) and Collective Architecture – visited 12 rural, urban and island locations across Scotland throughout November and December.

The ‘Present Voices, Future Lives’ exhibition spent a full day in each of the locations and involved workshops with school children during the day and local communities to explore how we want to live in the future.  A curated evening exhibition was also open to the public, showcasing the exhibition and the findings collected from the workshops during the day. The feedback gathered from the exhibition will help inform our final vision and route map to 2040.

Housing to 2040 consultation, 2 Dec – 28 Feb

We launched a consultation on the future of housing in Scotland on 2 December to hear from a diverse range of people and organisations, including disabled people and those working with them, about their views on our draft vision and principles for 2040, and their bold, imaginative and innovative proposals for how to make them a reality. We have been clear that business as usual is not an option and that nothing is off the table.

The outputs from this consultation will help to inform the Housing to 2040 vision and a route map which we are aiming to publish in summer 2020.

All of the details about the consultation process, upcoming events and background information is available here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/housing-2040/

6. Transport

Accessible Travel Framework


The Accessible Travel Framework was launched in 2016 with a vision that “All disabled people can travel with the same freedom, choice, dignity and opportunity as other citizens.” It was co-produced with disabled people and sets out a ten year plan for making travel in Scotland more accessible.

The vision states in a sentence what disabled people, transport operators and providers and local and central government want to achieve for Scotland. It is influenced by the Shared Vision for Independent Living in Scotland and also the notion of citizenship: a fair society where all of its members treat each other with respect and as equal citizens, where everyone is socially valued as having equal worth, celebrated for their diversity and able to participate in society

The Framework consists of 48 issues and 4 outcomes.

Outcome 1 – more disabled people make successful door-to-door journeys, more often. This outcome is about helping all disabled people use the transport system in its broadest sense, when they want and as often as they want. to.

Outcome 2 – disabled people are more involved in the design, development and improvement of transport policies, services and infrastructure. This outcome is about the rights of disabled people to be, and the necessity of disabled people being, involved in all aspects of transport to help show what works for them.

Outcome 3 – everyone involved in delivering transport information, services and infrastructure will help to enable disabled people to travel. This outcome is about the importance of ensuring people working at all levels of the transport system can understand the needs and wishes of different people with different support needs. 10

Delivery of vision and outcomes

Outcome 4: disabled people feel comfortable and safe using public transport – this includes being free from hate crime, bullying and harassment when travelling. This outcome is about the experiences of disabled and other people during journeys – making sure people don’t feel anxious, confused or worried, and that individuals aren’t subjected to abuse or mistreatment, including hate crime.

Annual Delivery Plan 2019/2020

We have also listened to calls to deliver more faster and produced our first annual Delivery Plan in June 2019


which focussed on 8 priority areas agreed by the Accessible Travel Steering Group, Disabled People’s Organisations, disabled people themselves and the Mobility and Access Committee for Scotland (see below).

The first annual delivery plan was a welcome opportunity to highlight progress so far towards the vision as articulated in the Framework, that every disabled person in Scotland can travel with the same freedom, choice, dignity and opportunity as other citizens. Examples of achievements are listed below:

  • Travellers in Scotland can book Passenger Assistance (ScotRail) with 2 hours’ notice further reducing to 1 hour in 2021 This compares with many other UK train operators still requiring 24 hour notice.
  • 6 out of 7 Scottish Airports are ranked by Civil Aviation Authority as “very good” for accessibility.
  • New Taxi guidance is being produced to improve local taxi travel.
  • New work to re-market, improve and raise awareness of the Thistle Assistance Card including digital features has been launched thistleassistance.com
  • Improved Audio and Visual assistance on Buses.
  • New pilot schemes trialled for improved Signs, information and wayfinding.
  • New Hate Crime charter being piloted in various Scottish locations from October to January in the Fife Area by Stagecoach, First Bus and ScotRail.

Engagement, advocacy, advice and guidance.

There are a range of groups that engage with and advocate on behalf of disabled people, providing help and advice to government and people working in transport about improving accessibility, including the Mobility and Access Committee for Scotland


who is the national public body that provides advice to Scottish Ministers on transport accessibility for disabled people. Their role is to:

  • consider matters about the needs of disabled persons in connection with transport that the committee think are appropriate
  • advise the Scottish Ministers about those matters that the committee think are appropriate.

The Committee has 15 members with various skills, knowledge and experience gained through their fields of expertise and lived experiences. Members have collective responsibility for the effective operation of MACS, and are led by the

Scotland’s National Transport Strategy (NTS2)


The NTS2 is built around a strategic framework which sets out our vision for transport, that: we will have a sustainable, inclusive and accessible transport system, helping to deliver a healthier, fairer and more prosperous Scotland for communities, businesses and visitors.

The vision is underpinned by four priorities for our transport system over the next 20 years, that it:

  • Promotes equality;
  • Takes Climate Action;
  • Helps our economy prosper;
  • Improves our health and wellbeing.

The NTS2 was created through collaboration with over 60 transport partners, developing an evidence base and engaging with people across the country. It is a Strategy for all of Scotland, recognising the differences between our cities and towns, remote and rural areas and islands.

Our engagement reached over 6500 people and stakeholders at over 100 events across rural, island and urban areas. Early survey activity reached almost 900 respondents.

The draft NTS2 was published for consultation on 31 July 2019 and closed at midnight on 23 October 2019. We will publish the successor strategy on 30 January 2020, in light of the consultation responses and the requirements of the Transport (Scotland) Act.

The consultation received around 600 responses (with a further 600 from a campaign) and these have been published on the Scottish Government’s Consultation Hub website.

Development has begun on a delivery plan to accompany the final Strategy. This will build on immediate actions the Scottish Government is taking in three key areas: Increasing Accountability; Strengthening Evidence; and Managing Demand.

1. Culture and Tourism


A Culture Strategy for Scotland

The Scottish Government will soon publish A Culture Strategy for Scotland that will set out a vision and priorities for the future development of culture in Scotland. The final strategy will recognise the fundamental value of culture and its transformative and empowering potential, which everyone in Scotland, including disabled people, should have an equal opportunity to experience.

Youth Music Initiative

The Scottish Government’s long-standing investment of £118 million since 2007 in the Youth Music Initiative (YMI) has made a huge impact engaging young people, of any school age, who otherwise would not participate in quality music making activities. YMI works towards two objectives: the first being “every school pupil in Scotland should be offered a year of free music tuition by the time they leave primary school’ and a secondary aim is to “engage young people (of any school age) who otherwise would not participate in quality music making activities.”  The two distinct strands are School Based Music Making and Out of School Music making – for Access To Music Making and Strengthening Youth Music activities planned and delivered by third sector organisations. 10% of participants in out of school projects are disabled or have additional support needs. There is good evidence of the contribution the YMI can make to engaging young people positively in learning, and supporting the development of skills to enable learning across subjects.


VisitScotland manages an Inclusive Tourism Engagement Programme aimed at tourism businesses. The programme’s strategic objective is focused on raising awareness among businesses of the benefits of being inclusive and helping them make changes to benefit from this growing market. VisitScotland created an accessibility guide tool in 2017 to help businesses communicate relevant access information about their business. A guide on how to be Dementia Friendly was launched in October 2019. The guides are available free of charge on their dedicated corporate industry website. VisitScotland also support and work with community and industry groups to develop ‘Inclusive Tourism Friendly Destinations’ and create promotions and visitor information which inspire and reassure different consumer groups. Projects are currently underway in Glasgow, St Andrews, Callander and Cairngorm National Park.

In 2016 VisitScotland partnered for the first time with the Family Holiday Association (FHA), a national charity that has been delivering breaks for struggling families for almost 40 years.  Since then more than 80 travel industry partners have donated accommodation, transport or tickets for attractions and activities. Over 1,000 families including over 2,300 children have been helped to take a short break somewhere in Scotland. For many, it is their first ever holiday.  ScotSpirit Breaks has been shortlisted twice in the Third Sector Partnership category at the Scottish Public Service Awards, in both 2017 and 2018.

7. Access to justice

Legal Aid

The Scottish Government is taking action to deliver a legal aid service with the user voice at the centre. 

  • Publicly funded legal assistance (‘Legal Aid’) is vital to enable discrimination to be tackled.
  • In 2017 the Scottish Government commissioned an independent strategic review of legal aid in Scotland. The Chair reported back in 2018 with Rethinking Legal Aid which sets out a long term vision of a citizen-focused legal aid and advice service in Scotland for all forms of publicly funded legal assistance.
  • As part of the work going forward on the recommendations from the report the SG published their response in 2018 – SG Response Legal Aid Review
  • Three overarching foundations of legal aid reform were identified:

The user voice at the centre

The flexibility to address and adapt to user need

Should be regarded as a public service

  • The Scottish Government is committed to working with partners, including disabled people and the organisations who represent them, to identify negative impacts on disabled people of the current legal aid framework.
  • As a first step in developing a new legal aid system, with the user voice at its centre, a full public consultation was held in 2019. Analysis of the responses to the consultation is ongoing and is expected to be completed early 2020.
  • The consultation asked particular questions around access to justice for those who may be less well served.

Hate Crime

Tackling Prejudice and Building Connected Communities

  • In June 2017, we published an ambitious programme of work to tackle hate crime and build community cohesion.
  • We have established an Action Group chaired by the Cabinet Secretary for Communities with key stakeholders, including Glasgow Disability Alliance, to take this work forward.
  • The group’s identified priorities include raising awareness of hate crime and encouraging reporting.
  • On 26 September 2018 we launched a hate crime campaign to encourage witnesses to report.
  • The campaign was a series of letters addressed to perpetrators of hate crime stating that ‘your hate has no home here’ helping to create ‘One Scotland’ where hate crime and prejudice is not tolerated.
  • We will continue to engage with a wide range of stakeholders for any future hate crime campaign activity.

Hate Crime Legislation

  • We have committed to update and modernise the current law on hate crime to so that it is fit for 21st century Scotland and, most importantly, affords sufficient protection for those that need it.
  • Our consultation on hate crime legislation in Scotland ran from 14 November 2018 to 24 February 2019 and sought views on what should be included in the new hate crime legislation.
  • We published the analysis report on 27 June 2019.
  • We will consider all consultation responses as we continue to develop our consolidated hate crime legislation to be introduced during this parliament.

Third Party Reporting

  • We encourage anyone who has experienced or witnessed a hate crime or incident to report it directly to the police or by using a third party reporting centre.
  • Third party reporting allows victims and witnesses to report an incident without contacting the police directly.
  • There are third party reporting centres across Scotland, ranging from housing associations to victim support offices and voluntary groups, where specially trained staff provide support and assistance in submitting a report to the police.


8. Participatory budgeting

Participatory budgeting (PB) is recognised internationally as a way for local people to have a direct say in how public money is spent. The Scottish Government supports PB as a tool for community engagement and as a resource to build on the wider development of participatory democracy in Scotland. The Scottish Government’s programme of support has enabled almost 100,000 people to vote for the things that matter to them in their community. Over the last two years almost £6 million has been allocated by communities with 2,400 local organisations securing funding.

This programme is delivered in partnership with local authorities, communities and third sector organisations, and implemented across policy areas from policing to health and social care, transport and education. Work will continue to support local authorities reach the target of having at least 1% of their budget subject to PB by 2020/21, giving tens of thousands of people a say in how almost £100 million will be spent.

A truly inclusive and deliberative PB approach can help meaningfully address inequalities. The Budgeting for Equality Report makes a series of recommendations about how to better include disabled people in decision making and the Leaving No-One Behind Report sets out what needs to happen so that disabled people can be included in decisions about their communities. Both reports are available at: http://gda.scot/about-us/publications/1781/participatory-budgeting-leaving-no-one-behind

On a more local level the Leaving No-one Behind PB video showcases how Glasgow Disability Alliance, the local authority and key stakeholders are ensuring that disabled people have their say on how money is spent in Glasgow. From improving access in Pollok, to connecting people in Canal, and advising Health & Social care, members show that with the right support they can make vital contributions. The video is available here: http://gda.scot/our-community/video/1823/leaving-no-one-behind

For more information visit PB Scotland at www.pbscotland.scot which provides accessible information on events, policy and resources in Scotland, and profiles examples, pictures and videos of PB in action. Email info@pbscotland.scot with any enquiries.

9. Access to Elected Office

Our political institutions should reflect our communities and that means having more disabled people serve on local authority councils and in the Scottish Parliament. The Access to Elected Office Fund Scotland has been set up to offer financial assistance to disabled people who are seeking elected office. The Fund can pay for practical support that can enable disabled people to fully participate in the process, covering adjustments that level the playing field between a disabled and non-disabled candidate only, not general campaign costs. This project is funded by the Scottish Government and administered by Inclusion Scotland. In the Local Government elections in 2017, 39 people with a wide range of disabilities were supported by the Access to Elected Office Fund and 15 were elected.


The Access to Elected Office Fund Scotland has been set up to offer financial assistance to disabled people who are seeking elected office. This project is funded by the Scottish Government and administered by Inclusion Scotland The Fund can pay for practical support that can enable disabled people to fully participate in the process, covering adjustments that level the playing field between a disabled and non-disabled candidate only, not general campaign costs. This project is funded by the Scottish Government and administered by Inclusion Scotland.

There are not enough disabled people in politics and elected office. We have worked with disabled people and political parties to research the barriers and found that there are many things that may stop disabled people from getting into politics. One of the issues that was raised is money. People found themselves facing extra costs relating to their impairment and these extra costs could be enough to prevent them from getting involved and standing for election.

The Access to Elected Office Fund Scotland was initially a pilot project to see if this type of support could lead to more equal representation in the 2017 Local Authority Elections. The Fund operates on a person-centred, needs based principle to identify and as best as practically possible address any impairment-related factors a disabled candidate may experience in order to aim to achieve a “level playing field” with non-disabled candidates. The Fund can only provide support in ways which are clearly “reasonable adjustment” and cannot provide money that would be used to pay for campaign activity in of itself. Thanks to a change to the legislation for election expenditure in Scotland secured through Inclusion Scotland work with Scottish Government officials all disability-related expenditure does not count towards campaign spending limits for elections. Further information on applying to the Fund can be found by clicking here.

Inclusion Scotland also offer an Access to Politics advice and support service for disabled people. They can advise individuals on how to participate more fully in politics, and can also advise political parties and organisations about how they can be inclusive to disabled members.

[1] Audit Scotland (2017) Self-directed support: 2017 progress report. Available here. Audit Scotland (2014) Self-directed support. Available here.

[2] Care Inspectorate (2019) Thematic review of self-directed support in Scotland: Transforming lives. Available here.

[3] ISD (2019) Insights into Social Care in Scotland: Support provided or funded by health and social care partnerships in Scotland 2017/18. Available here.

[4] Scottish Government (2019) Self-directed support strategy 2010-2020: implementation plan 2019-2021. Available here.

[5] For more details of the ongoing reform of adult social care, see here.

[6] Scottish Government (2019) Self-directed support strategy 2010-2020: implementation plan 2019-2021. Available here.

[7] Scottish Government (2019) The keys to life: Unlocked Futures for People with Learning Disabilities Implementation framework and priorities 2019-2021. Available here.

[8] Scottish Government (2019) The keys to life: Unlocked Futures for People with Learning Disabilities Implementation framework and priorities 2019-2021. Available here.