Marking the anniversary of the successful Access to Elected Office Pilot Fund Scotland which supported disabled candidates to stand in the 2017 Scottish Council Elections, Inclusion Scotland are now looking for expressions of interest from potential disabled candidates for the Scottish Parliament elections in 2021.
Publishing the report of the evaluation on the fund, which Inclusion Scotland ran on behalf of the Scottish Government, Phyl Meyer, Employability and Civic Participation Team Manager at Inclusion Scotland said:
“We are delighted that following the success of the Pilot, the Fund remains open for any local authority or Scottish Parliament by-elections. If you are a disabled person thinking about standing in the 2021 Scottish Parliament elections, Inclusion Scotland is keen to hear from you.
“The evaluation of the pilot highlighted the importance of identifying at an early stage the support and adjustments needed to ensure a level playing field for disabled candidates seeking selection and election.”
Inclusion Scotland highlighted three key recommendations from the Pilot Evaluation Report:
- The Fund should be opened well in advance of parties having their selection process, so that disabled people receive the support they need to decrease barriers preventing them from seeking selection on a level playing field.
- The Fund should discuss common issues around reasonable adjustments by political parties and provide a steer on what is deemed reasonable, or otherwise, for differing scenarios.
- There should be discussion of the steps parties can take to change their culture around party activities, to ensure disabled people aren’t excluded
Phyl Meyer said “These recommendations will be addressed in the Access to Politics Charter that we will be asking political parties to sign up to in June. The Charter will commit parties to actions that ensure they are meeting their responsibilities in ensuring full and equal participation of disabled people in politics at all levels.”