Reading this annual report on what Inclusion Scotland did in the year ending March 2020 is a reminder of how it was before the Covid-19 virus arrived and the world changed. We continued our work on promoting participation, social security, employment, access to services and rights and justice, as we pushed towards our goal of inclusion and equal citizenship for all disabled people in Scotland.
We began exploring how to incorporate the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities into Scottish law. Of course, rights aren’t rights if they can’t be enforced. Action to set up a ‘Scottish Just Law Centre’ to take cases was therefore an important accompaniment.
Our new projects on Lived Experience Leadership and public appointments really progressed, as did our work with employers. We supported disabled people in the Highlands to get closer to establishing a new Disabled People’s Organisation. The innovative People-Led Policy Panel co-produced a programme of adult social care reform with the Scottish Government and others. There were clear wins on devolved social security, with our lobbying helping to drive forward the introduction of a Winter Fuel Allowance and a Carers Additional Payment. Meanwhile, the Disability Research on Independent Living and Learning programme was nearing the end of it five years and we turned our attention to promoting its findings and securing its legacy.
Just three weeks before the end of the financial year everything unexpectedly skidded to a halt with the arrival of Covid-19. We took rapid action to review our work, but like everyone else we couldn’t foresee what was to come. That’s for next year’s annual report!
Dr Sally Witcher