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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

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Make your voice heard on Disability Commissioner proposals


Karen Adam MSP encourages people and organisations to share their views on proposals to establish a Disability Commissioner in Scotland

With approximately one fifth of Scotland’s population defining themselves as disabled, the Equalities, Human Rights and Civil Justice Committee is keen to understand what can be done to ensure that their voices are heard, and their rights are protected.

A new bill, introduced by Jeremy Balfour MSP, proposes that a Disability Commissioner be created to promote and safeguard the rights of disabled people.

We have a number of commissions and commissioners in Scotland, including Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People, the Scottish Human Rights Commission and the Scottish Information Commissioner. The legislation that we are scrutinising would create a role that is similar in terms of scope and power to Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People.

Following this model means that the commissioner would be expected to represent and uphold the interests of disabled people in Scotland. The commissioner would also be able to launch reviews into the impact of current laws on disabled people and commission research on the rights of disabled people.

Our committee’s newly opened call for views will help frame the parliament’s scrutiny of the proposals in the bill. What we hear from you will define our evidence sessions and ultimately be reported back to the parliament ahead of a debate and vote on the general principles of the bill later in the year.

We want to understand whether people would like Scotland to have a Disability Commissioner or whether the roles the commissioner would have could be carried out by other individuals or bodies.

We also want to understand what people think about the proposals to give the commissioner power to carry out investigations of service providers. The bill says that the commissioner would be able to ask a service provider how they have given effect to the rights, views and interests of disabled people in general or an individual disabled person.

We really want to hear from Scotland’s third sector, but we’re also especially keen to hear what Scotland’s disabled community make of the proposals, which is why we are providing our consultation in a range of formats.

People and organisations can respond via an online consultation, download an Easy Read version of the consultation, or respond to our questions using British Sign Language via WhatsApp.

Please share your views with us by Friday, 17 May.

Karen Adam is Scottish National Party MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast



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