December 3rd is the UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities and the theme for 2015, ‘Inclusion Matters’ considers access and empowerment for people of all abilities with a special focus on how to make cities inclusive and accessible for all. The Institute of Highway Engineers sponsored an event in Parliament, hosted by Chris, which considered the difficulties currently created by shared space schemes in the UK and asked “are shared spaces inclusive”? There was a fantastic turnout: engineers, designers, planners, academics, campaigners, disability groups, parliamentarians, lawyers, local authorities and absolutely all agreed that there was a pressing need for better research, better data and better guidance. Let’s hope this happens.
Shared Space Summit on Radio 4, You and Yours, 4th December
Shared Space Report
The Disability Discrimination Act was a significant achievement in advancing the rights of disabled people. It focused on driving social change towards the full inclusion of disabled people at every level of society. However, twenty years on, there are still issues impacting on the enforcement of disability equality rights. Chris chairs the Disability Committee at the Equality and Human Rights Commission and their recent report “Is Britain Fairer?” clearly shows that disabled people in Britain still face daily challenges. Many are still ‘locked out’ of full participation in society due to barriers remaining in the provision of housing, transport, leisure facilities, education and workplaces. Chris wants to use this anniversary as an opportunity to highlight that using the Equality Act, we must all work together to continue to highlight, address and remove those remaining barriers disabled people face to full and fair inclusion.
20 years on from the Disability Discrimination Act disabled people’s rights are still not yet fully realised EHRC
Is Britain Fairer? EHRC
Hague’s great achievement, Conservative Home
Justin Tomlinson MP: The Disability Discrimination Act laid the foundations for equality – now we must finish the job, Conservative Home
Mr Masazoe, Governor of Tokyo, met up with Chris and Philip Craven, Chair of the IPC, on a recent London visit. Mr Masazoe and his team were seeking advice on how to achieve a truly successful “barrier free” Paralympics. Chris was able to speak about the lessons he learnt as Director of Paralympic Integration at London 2012. Chris stressed the impact of the incredible “Gamesmaker” volunteers and the importance of having inclusion underpinning all planning and decision making.
Chris answers with an emphatic NO! The Daily Politics looked at shared space on the day of a debate Chris had tabled in the House of Lords to question the government over the controversial schemes he has been campaigning against. Shared space is a design approach which minimizes demarcations between vehicle traffic and pedestrians often removing features such as curbs, road surface markings, traffic signs, controlled crossings and regulations. Increasingly popular with local authorities Chris complains that it is a social experiment that risks public safety and scares people away from their own high streets. With increasing numbers of local authorities now facing legal action and/or making expensive U-turns Chris asked the government if Department for Transport guidance (LTN 1/11 Shared Space) is “fit for purpose”. He was joined in the debate by Lord Low, Baroness Thomas, Baroness Royall, Lord Tope, Lord Rosser and Lord Ahmed. Baroness Kramer dealt with this issue when she was Minister for Transport in the last government and it was great hearing that she very much supports the specific recommendations made in the Holmes Report.
Lord Holmes: Government must act on dangerous ‘shared space’ projects, Politics Home
Guide Dogs support Lord Holmes, Politics Home
Accidents by Design: The Holmes Report into Shared Space
Shared surface roads “like a pernicious class A drug” says Paralympic gold medallist, Cornish Guardian
Gloucestershire peer says shared space will turn city centres into ‘no go areas’ for deaf and blind, Gloucester Citizen
Chris is delighted to be one of the four new expert advisers appointed by the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood, to help the Civil Service become more representative of modern Britain.
The advisers will work to challenge policies and provide advice to Ministers and the leadership of the Civil Service as they continue to improve the numbers of people in the workforce from under-represented groups. They are respected leaders and campaigners from the worlds of business and sport, each with a long and unique track record in creating fairer, more representative workplaces.
Chris feels strongly that the civil service has a tremendous opportunity to lead in this area and act as a beacon to others. Improving opportunities and career pathways for everyone will not only transform the civil service it will have a profound impact throughout the UK.
Chris has written a blog on this idea that a truly inclusive Civil Service, because of the range and nature of the service, would have a profound impact on this country.
As well as this new adviser role Chris is also one of the judges at this years Civil Service Diversity and Inclusion Awards due to be announced at a ceremony on 13th October.
Civil Service World, Civil service diversity: business and sport chiefs brought in to keep an eye on progress.
Public Sector Executive, New diversity advisers to help Civil Service be a ‘socially inclusive employer’.
The Times, Paralympic hero is hired to challenge civil service bullies
Chris welcomes the Premier League statement, which promises that all clubs will comply with the Accessible Stadia Guide by August 2017. There has been a long campaign to improve stadium facilities for disabled supporters and increase the numbers of wheelchair spaces, for years substantially fewer at most clubs than the numbers recommended in official guidance.
On Monday, the government published a deeply critical report about disabled people’s experience in sports stadiums. This came after years of campaigning by various organisations and supporters groups and as Lord Faulkner’s Accessible Sport Grounds Bill is considered in Westminster. Chris has taken part in the debates calling on the football community to “rediscover their moral compass.”
There was widespread praise in the House of Lords for the move by the Premier League but Chris urged the government to “monitor closely” the progress being made up to 2017.
BBC, Premier League clubs to make changes for disabled fans.
The Guardian, Premier League pledges to improve stadium facilities for disabled fans.
Telegraph, Premier League face the threat of losing sponsors over clubs’ inadequate provision for disabled fans.
Mirror, Paralympic swimmer Lord Holmes urges Premier League clubs to provide more seats for disabled fans.
Chris was delighted to launch a new government-backed project aimed at unlocking economic and creative potential by increasing the diversity of people working in Britain’s television sector at the Edinburgh International Television Festival on Friday 28th August.
The event was chaired by Trevor Phillips and Ed Vaizey, Culture minister, conceded that there was still “much, much more” to do on improving diversity in broadcasting.
The guide will provide expert legal guidance on what is permitted under the law for employers, commissioners and others working within the sector. The guidance will also help broadcasters expand the talent pool from which they find the best candidates and will cover areas including employment, commissioning, broadcasting, programme making and procurement practices.
Thinking outside the box, EHRC diversity in broadcasting guidance.
House of Lords Debate
Diversity guidance to launch at festival
Guardian, UK TV risks being ‘knocked off its perch’ unless it improves diversity, say peer
Guardian, Ed Vaizey: Diversity in TV
Broadcast, Diversity; No More Excuses
EHRC Blog, Thinking Outside the Box
Broadcast, TV urged to scrap unpaid interns
Background on campaign