Harlow councillors agree to create new Disability Action Panel
Health / Sat 4th Nov 2023 at 06:13am
HARLOW Council has agreed to setup a new Disability Action Panel to give residents with disabilities a voice in the decisions the council makes.
A motion, proposed by Councillor James Griggs (Labour) and the Leader of the Council, Councillor Dan Swords (Conservative) was debated by councillors on Thursday night (2 November) and was unanimously agreed.
The start of the motion reads:
“This council recognises that many disabled residents, their families, and carers believe that they do not have a voice and their opinion is often not heard. They are more used to having solutions to issues imposed upon them rather than as a result of consultation. Their lived experience and ideas for a better, more understanding and accessible Harlow should be at the heart of every relevant discussion and decision made by this council.”
The motion goes on to propose the creation of a new Disability Action Panel.
The new panel will be chaired by the Leader of the Council and will include councillors from all political parties and Harlow’s MP. Residents with disabilities and representatives from charities and groups who work with people with disabilities will be invited to attend meetings.
The panel will give residents with disabilities a voice and enable them to directly influence the way the council responds to issues of concern to them. Through the leader of the council the panel will be able to make direct recommendations to the council’s Cabinet for implementation and approval of expenditure relating to the recommendations. The panel’s work will be non-political including its recommendations and activities.
The panel is scheduled to have its first meeting this month where it will agree its terms of reference. The panel will meet once every three months.
Film is below.
"The panel will give residents with disabilities a voice and enable them to directly influence" I would be very interested in joining this panel but it appears not to be advertised anywhere of how it can be done? I made a comment on the article when the idea was being floated but didn't have any council response?
They don't want to listen to anybody.
Chris, please give us a chance, the panel has quite literally just been created. Your enthusiasm is very welcome but a hint of patience would be appreciated. If you’re interested in participating please email me you details [email protected] Kim, have you listened to the film? The creation of this panel and the manner in which it will work demonstrates that on this occasion you are completely wrong.
Well done Harlow council! That’s another box ticked
Can these meetings be attended thru zoom etc? Im a disabled resident and have 2 young children, unless meetings are during school hours i cannot attend in person? I feel like im imprisoned where i live, and needing a mobility scooter that i would have to use on the road til i get to the bottom of the estate where there are drop curbs. The flat im in is too small and has nowhere for a scooter to go or storage for my mobility aids. There are no properties built for my age group that are disable friendly. So i would really like to be able to have a say once this panel has been set up
@James, my enthusiasm was expressed previously as mentioned however went unheard. The hint of patience comment was unnecessary and I've taken offence to this where there was a genuine interest. I'm autistic and say how I see issues without colouration and fluff. I am not overly happy with this.
Chris, apologies, no offence intended. I assure you we want a wide range of enthusiastic voices to join this panel. Please email me.
Cllr James Griggs, I hope indeed that I am wrong... having had a disabled granddaughter,,I know that there voices are lost... could you start of on the right foot and answer kel for me..
I have to say @James Griggs I whole heartedly commend you on the creation of this panel. I would be very interested to join please so I will email you asap. The disabled community need a voice & you have provided the means to make us heard- Thank you!
We will see.
I ask that anyone who is interested please keep an eye on Harlow Council website and YH for information about the first meeting of the panel. I’m keen to hear ideas from anyone interested in participating and ask that you email me at [email protected] I will ensure that anyone who contacts me will be advised of the details and timings of the first meeting as soon as that information is available.
Brilliant! Well done for working together, I’m looking forward to see how they can help, listen and improve things for people and families living with disabilities.
“I ask that anyone who is interested please keep an eye on Harlow Council website and YH for information about the first meeting of the panel. I’m keen to hear ideas from anyone interested in participating and ask that you email me at [email protected] I will ensure that anyone who contacts me will be advised of the details and timings of the first meeting as soon as that information is available.” YourHarlow 5 Nov 2023. And so it falls at the first hurdle. Around 17% of Harlow’s population does not have access to broadband, ICT or a smart phone. That figure is disproportionally made up of the elderly and disabled. So how are people not IT literate supposed to get in touch and be engaged? Answers please, by letter, in large print or braille. People with disabilities should be full members of the panel to own the agenda and recommendations and not just heard 'by invitation' at the Panel's condescention and their words filtered by a couple of councillors.
Simon, I have explained the invitation situation to you but you seem to be hearing something else. I also explained it in detail during the debate on the motion and those who had previously expressed a concern seemed satisfied with the intention. Have you listened to the film? If we don’t invite people how do they participate? The people reading this forum clearly have access to the internet so your argument about the numbers who don’t is not relevant in this case. For those who do not have internet access we will clearly have to explore other means of informing and engaging them. Whatever your misgivings about this panel you could at least let it get started and judge it in a years time when it’s had a chance. For your information, I have had a number of responses from interested parties as a result of seeing this comment section. It is, as I said in the debate, not the finished product but just the beginning. I am determined to make it work with residents driving the agenda as full panel members. Please don’t talk it down before it’s even got started, that is a huge disservice to those who are excited and optimistic about joining the panel, participating and making a difference.