Harlow Labour persuade Tories to work together on disability panel

Health / Sat 23rd Sep 2023 at 01:31pm

HARLOW Labour succeeded in getting the Conservative group to work together on a creation of a Disability Consultation Panel.

Over the past few weeks, there appeared to be some form of political chess going on.

On Thursday night, Netteswell councillor James Griggs tabled a motion at council.

With the possibility of more political manoeuvrings, an adjournment was called. Afterwards, councillor Griggs announced that they would withdraw the motion as they had been assured that the matter could be taken forward with both parties working together.

Proposed by Councillor James Griggs (seconded by Councillor Chris Vince):


This Council agrees to the immediate formation of a Disability Consultation Panel to further enhance the rights and opportunities for people with disabilities. The panel will give voice to their concerns, desires and needs where they are relevant to the activities of, or matters within the control of, the Council.


The panel shall be composed of a balanced number of 2 Councillors from each of the elected parties and a number of representatives from a variety of relevant organisations in Harlow.

The panel shall be supported by an appropriate Council Officer.

At its first meeting in each Council year the panel shall elect a Chair who shall hold the position for a period of one year.


1.    To support the Council in developing good practice with regard to providing a safe and supportive environment for disabled residents and visitors

2.    To work with the Council to develop a Disability Strategy and Action Plan for Harlow

3.    To bring forward ideas and suggestions to improve Harlow for disabled people.

4.    To give a voice to the lived experience of disabled people in order to inform future projects, policy development and decision making within the Council

5.    To examine relevant planning applications and comment/advise as appropriate

6.    To scrutinise the performance of the Council in its delivery of relevant projects

7.    To scrutinise the Councils implementation of relevant legislation

8.    To advise the Council of relevant reports from other bodies that may be of assistance and influence in developing future projects, plans and strategies

9.    To bring to the attention of the Council any matters it considers relevant

10.  To accept questions and proposals from the public and Councillors. Questions and proposals will be accepted using the same format as used for Cabinet and Full Council. The Chair of the panel shall have the discretion to accept questions without notice from Public and Councillors.

Meeting Schedule

The panel shall meet at least 4 times per year, more if necessary.

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8 Comments for Harlow Labour persuade Tories to work together on disability panel:

2023-09-24 09:41:43

Doesnt give any idea how the public can get involved? As an autistic adult with a wealth of experience and process understanding I feel I could be a value of experience. Is this a real project or just a tick box exercise required by LGA?

S. Kray
2023-09-24 14:03:04

As much as I love this idea and really hope it’s true, , it’s probably just virtue signalling. My friend has neurodiverse issues and now arthritis and she finds stairs to her flat very difficult, she has drs letters etc to back her up , but still, the council won’t move her. They pretend they care and they don’t. I have no faith in authority anymore.

2023-09-24 14:18:01

Start with the mental health services, or complete lack of one.

David Forman
2023-09-24 16:20:01

Harlow Labour councillors should be highlighting the appalling record of Conservative governments on the rights of the disabled. Instead, they eagerly collaborate with Harlow Conservatives. Disabled Persons Against the Cuts stated last month (28 Aug): "UK Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisations have today launched a scathing report evaluating the government's performance seven years on from a United Nations finding of grave and systematic violations of disabled people’s rights due to austerity and welfare reform." See DPAC press release at https://dpac.uk.net/2023/08/press-release-report-finds-worsening-violations-of-disabled-peoples-rights/

David Forman
2023-09-24 16:45:40

The Inclusion London report, referred to by DPAC's August press release, made clear: "Recent plans announced by the government to intensify and expand the benefit sanctions regime and to scrap the current system of out of work benefits for disabled people unable to earn a living through paid employment. Around 632,000 disabled people are at risk of losing essential income as a result of these plans." See Inclusion London report at https://www.inclusionlondon.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/UK-DDPO-CRDP-Special-Inquiry-Shadow-Report-final.pdf

2023-09-24 17:09:53

Further to my first comment i have given evidence to the Essex independent mental health inquiry which was set up as a statute to investigate the deaths in Essex as a result of poor mental health treatment. This in itself is a joke as they forgot about the evidence I expressed interest in providing and have closed to new evidence collecting as they've had a top officer change. At no point were they understanding or actually bothered by how distressed this situation of being ignored caused me which sums up the entire judicial review.

2023-09-24 18:40:42

Dave Foreman, it's not just the financial aspect, it's the plans to remove vital protection such as risk of suicide if forced to work from 'severe risk to self'. So even if hsving to look for work will make you want to kill yourself they will make you have to. That right there demonstrates how much they care about people with disabilities. At the same time they're not funding a decent mental health service .

David Forman
2023-09-24 19:50:08

Desparing, you are absolutely correct about the stress and sheer indifference the system applies to disabled and vulnerable people. I have suffered PTSD and know how everyday issues can be an enormous hurdle, let alone the complex and time consuming benefits system. The sheer number of people knocked off benefits who later win appeals at a much later date is staggering. A recent report showed an average success rate of 62% with an average wait of 26 weeks for justice. See appeals report at https://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/news/fall-in-appeal-success-rates-for-pip,-dla,-uc-and-esa

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