The various Regional Stakeholder Networks cover England and serve to raise local issues affecting disabled people, provide feedback, and respond to government policy ideas and their related partners. Its purpose is to:
- advise the Government on how to break down the barriers disabled people face to create a society that works for everyone, where all can participate fully.
- support the Government’s commitment to meet the requirements of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Disabled People (UNCRPD), which recommends that governments actively engage with disabled people through their representative organisations and consider their views throughout the policy-making process.
- support the Government’s Levelling Up agenda so that disabled people have a routine route through which they can discuss the issues they face in their region with policymakers.
- provide an avenue through which disabled people can share their insight into specific strands of government-led research.
Each of the regional networks meets at least 4 times a year. At least one of these meetings should be held in person (DU will pay for one in-person meeting annually). The meetings are arranged and led by the Chair and provide an open forum for members to share views and experiences across all policies and services that affect disabled people. The meetings may also have more structured discussions about a ‘theme’ about which government would like to hear people’s views and experiences.
The regional network Chairs meet monthly for a virtual 90-minute-long meeting chaired by the Disability Unit. Insight gathered from the meetings and engagement will be passed to the relevant government department and policymakers working on the issues that have been identified and to the Minister for Disabled People. A meeting summary will be posted online following the meeting.
The Disability Unit is a business group within the Cabinet Office. At the heart of their work is a focus on reducing the barriers faced by disabled people, both in government and across wider business and society.
Their general role is to:
- support the Minister for Disabled People in their cross-government role on disability;
- act as the focal point for the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) across the government;
- develop a positive and clear vision of disability which is owned right across the government;
- improve the quality of evidence and data and use it to support policies and how they are delivered;
- maintain and build relationships with disabled people and their organisations, stakeholders and colleagues across the government.
More information, news and updates are found here on the government website.