Introducing Guide Dog Lottie

Chris was honoured to be featured in one of the first video portraits of dog owners and their pets produced by Pet Fi, a new website for pet owners aiming to provide a gateway to beautiful storytelling and exceptional experiences for the discerning pet owner. Learn more about how Chris and Lottie work together, why having a guide dog is “the difference between crawling and flying” and what Lottie gets up to at the weekends!

Celebrating 20 years of the Disability Discrimination Act

Chris on BBC News channel to discuss Disability Discrimintaion Act 20th anniversary

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, tramadol online no prescription usa 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

 

Daily Politics asks if ‘shared space’ is safe….

Inside Daily Politics Studio with Andrew Neil and Jo Coburn

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 announced as Diversity and Inclusion Adviser for the Civil Service

Chris at podium at Civil Service leadership event

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 ultram online cod 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

 

Thinking outside the box

Last Tuesday I took part in the debate considering the report of the Lords Communications Committee on Women in News and Current Affairs Broadcasting. The report was excellent, not least as a result of the superb stewardship of the Committee Chair, Lord Best. The picture painted by the report was not bright, a world far more reminiscent of Ron Burgundy than 21st Century Britain.  A world in which older women in particular find themselves at a severe disadvantage both on and off screen. It seems to me a scandal that so many older women in TV still feel that work dries up when they get to a certain age or when they have children; there are some women who have said they have had to get a facelift to maintain their TV career beyond fifty. Recently Anne Robinson asked what chance a female version of Evan Davis would have of securing that prestigious role? Where are the female Dimblebys, John Simpsons, Alastair Stewarts or Adam Boultons? What sort of message does the lack of their female counterparts send out to young women contemplating a career in television journalism? If young women don’t think they can have a fulfilling career in television that talent will go elsewhere. It’s a scandal that goes all the way to the top. Women, who make up half the viewers of television aren’t represented at board level at our major broadcasters in anything like the numbers they should be; the BBC executive board has two female executive directors, Channel 4 has one and that is it. The lack of diversity is not just a question of gender, last year, out of the 62 directors at the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Ofcom, only one was non-white and none were disabled. I welcome the fact that the industry itself has recognised that it has a problem and has committed to doing something about it; we have seen some ambitious plans published by BBC, Sky and C4. With Lord Hall at the helm of the BBC and David Abrahams at Channel 4, we have reasons to be positive going forward. However, this is not a new issue. Groups like Women in Film and Television, PACT, trade unions and Directors UK have been talking about this for decades and there has been very little movement.   That is why, in the debate, I called for two things: Firstly, all the main broadcasters must end the practice of unpaid internships. This patronage is both rife and rigging the system in favour of those who are wealthy and connected rather than those who are talented. This is not limited to the broadcast industry but the broadcast industry, if they addressed this could be a beacon of good practice and lead the way for the rest of our economy Secondly, I asked broadcasters and producers to follow new guidance just produced by the Equality and Human Rights Commission which I launched at the Edinburgh television festival two weeks ago It is worth paying tribute to my Rt Hon friend Ed Vaizey who enabled this project to get underway, he has demonstrated sustained commitment to driving the diversity agenda since arriving at DCMS. Entitled “Thinking outside the box”, the guidance was drawn up following extensive consultation with the industry, and provides clarity about the initiatives and practices that are permissible in law.  It busts common myths about barriers that exist and provides a series of case studies from the sector to encourage broadcasters, independent production companies and industry bodies to make it easier to boost diversity. Now we’ve produced this guidance, I believe there can be no more excuses for not taking meaningful action to improve the situation.  It is not just about doing the right thing, it is about getting the best creative and competitive edge.    

Accidents by Design: The Holmes Report into Shared Space

Lord Holmes and Lottie at side of Exhibition Road as taxi passes
Lord Chris Holmes and Lottie in Exhibition Road surrounded by cars

Stuck in shared space on Exhibition Road

 

On Friday 1st July I published detailed research into so called “shared space”.  This is the architectural conceit, the planning folly, which proposes that the removal of kerbs, road markings, controlled crossings such as zebras and pelicans and so on leads to a better experience for all users of our streets.  To be clear this means no road or pavement, no safe space, buses and blind people, toddlers and trucks sharing the same space.  Unsurprisingly, the research findings do not support a sunny view of shared space.

Sixty-three per cent of respondents reported a negative experience of shared space. Even more worryingly, thirty-five per cent said they actively avoided shared space, that’s over a third of people planned out of their local community, their local shops, their local support services.  This type of totalitarian planning would make even an old style Soviet feel some shame.  The research also indicated a significant under reporting of accidents in these shared spaces.

The findings are stark, the solution clear, an immediate moratorium on all shared space schemes until thorough impact assessments can be conducted.  This must be combined with a central record of accident data including “courtesy crossings”, which must be defined and monitored.  There is also a need for updated Department for Transport guidance to enable local authorities to fully understand their obligations, not least in relation to the Equality Act.  

Has so called “shared space” achieved an inclusive experience for all? No, it most certainly has not.  Has it opened up our high streets, increased safety and usability? Again, no it has not. Shared space is not a safe place nor a pleasant place, it has turned high streets into traffic free for alls, it has caused confusion, chaos and catastrophe.

In the words of survey respondents, shared space is:

 “Lethally dangerous” (Pedestrian)

“Absolute nightmare that I avoid if I can.” (Driver)

“Shared space is a false promise with poor delivery” (Cyclist) 

Holmes Report on Shared Space

Shared-use streets a safety disaster says, ex-Paralympian, BBC News

Halt city ‘shared spaces’, says report by Lord Holmes, BBC News

Cars and pedestrians don’t mix well concludes study into shared space schemes, Independent

Chaos, Confusion and Catastrophe, Politics Home

Lord Holmes calls for immediate moratorium on ‘lethally dangerous’ shared space, Transport Monthly

Shared space schemes labelled dangerous in Lords report, Architects Journal

New Report calls for a moratorium on shared space crossings, Transport for All

Top Town shared spaces branded ‘dangerous’ and ‘Third World traffic free-for-alls’, Grimsby Telegraph

“Dangerous and Costly” shared spaces should be scrapped, Lord Holmes claims, Gloucester Citizen

Ex-Paralympian in call to end shared space crossings, Swindon Advertiser

Time to stop sharing?, Lord of the Blogs

Blurred Lines #Shared Spaces, Unity Law Report

IHE Response to Holmes Report

Daily Politics asks if ‘shared space’ is safe….

End of the road for white lines on highway, The Times

Please tweet using #stopsharedspace,

Lord Holmes and Lottie at side of Exhibition Road as taxi passes

Still stuck on Exhibition Road

 

 

TED Talk ‘Seeing isn’t believing’

Chris standing on red circle giving TED talk at TEDx Event

Chris was delighted to give a TED talk at a TEDx Event organised along the theme of Momentum; Moving Forward, Gaining Speed and Building Traction. Chris’s talk was titled ‘Seeing isn’t Believing’ as he explained how a working class kid from the Midlands got from an underperforming comprehensive school to Cambridge University, from a rundown 25 yard swimming pool to the gold buy real xanax online medal podium at 4 Paralympic Games, from a terraced house to the House of Lords. For Chris this path was not guided by the light afforded by sight, that sight having departed, without notice, overnight. Vision instead of sight and a clear path firmly built on the bedrock of self belief.

Watch Chris’s TED talk

TEDx Whitehall Women

 

 

 

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