Part 4: How the Framework Fits in the Bigger Picture

Part 4: How the Framework Fits in the Bigger Picture

The aspirations and ambitions of this Framework are supported at the highest levels in government through strategy, policies, legislation and participative processes.

Scotland's Economic Strategy focuses on the two mutually supportive goals of increasing competitiveness and tackling inequality and has as one of its four goals promoting inclusive growth and creating opportunity through a fair and inclusive jobs market and regional cohesion, recognising that the more diverse the economy, the more innovative and high growth it is; and the more successful it will be at recognising, attracting and growing talent.

At the heart of the Scottish Government's approach to tackling inequalities and delivering a strong economy is the need to focus government and public services on creating a more successful society where there are opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish and where the barriers to equality of opportunity and independent living are removed.

Equality and human rights

Human rights are the basic rights and freedoms that we are all entitled to so that we can live with dignity, equality and fairness. They are universal and cannot be given or taken away.

Everyone has these rights and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities sets out what governments have to do to make sure that disabled people have the same rights as everybody else. The Scottish Government uses the convention as the framework to improve the lives of disabled people.

Article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is about the right to live independently and be included in the community.

The Scottish Government has a clear aim: for disabled people to have the same equality and human rights as non-disabled people. This means disabled people having the same freedom, dignity, choice and control over their lives as everyone else, with rights to practical assistance and support at home, at work and in the wider community. This is a joint aim with local government and NHSScotland as reflected in the Shared Vision for Independent Living.[17]

The Scottish Government commitment to decisive, concerted action to promoting and protecting equality and human rights for disabled people in line with the Convention will be strengthened by the Scottish Government's Disability Action Plan. This cross-government action plan will set out the Scottish Government's approach to implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Scotland over the period 2016-2020.

It will include actions to improve outcomes for disabled people, one of which is to develop this Framework for accessible travel. As with this Framework, throughout the lifetime of the Disability Action Plan, and into the future, the Scottish Government will continue to engage with disabled people and their organisations to strengthen Government policies so that they better meet disabled people's needs and wishes.

A similar plan has been drawn up by local government. COSLA and their member councils co-produced a local government action plan with disabled people's organisations to support the Convention and are committed to working with all partners to support the rights of disabled people.

COSLA recognises that local authorities have a critical role in enabling local citizens, including disabled people and people with long-term conditions, to individually or collectively participate in and contribute to the local community. COSLA have a clear commitment within the Local Government Action Plan for United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities[18] to work with all parties to improve accessibility to all forms of transport within Scotland and are pleased that the Accessible Travel Framework outlines both the COSLA commitment and the actions agreed to realise this commitment.

Linked Government policies and legislation

The Scottish Government is responsible for a number of policies which help to implement the Convention and ensure the Shared Vision for Independent Living is realised including:

  • the refreshed employability framework Working for Growth[19] reinforces the need to work with delivery partners to improve the quality, variety and availability of support to disabled people to enter and remain in the workforce and we are delivering this through programmes like Scotland's Employer Recruitment Incentive;
  • on health and social care, reforms give disabled people greater control over the provision of their care and support needs and gives them as much control as they want of their individual budget while our programme of health and social care integration will result in more joined-up and seamless health and social care provision for individuals, including disabled people.[20]
  • acknowledging that a successful place is accessible to all and encourages people to connect with one another, Scottish Planning Policy[21] policies embed good design practice in planning policy. Creating Places[22] recognises that quality places are often central to community life.
    A successful place is accessible to all and encourages people to connect with one another. The Scottish Government also require more accessible buildings, including housing, to be provided through building regulations;
  • on accessible communication the Scottish Government is supporting impactful and innovative projects working at the national level to make improvements, like the contactSCOTLAND[23] online video relay interpreting service and the Scottish Accessible Information Hub;
  • The Strategy for Justice in Scotland[24] and the Building Safer Communities[25] programme underpin our policies to ensure everyone lives free from crime, disorder and danger, including by tackling disability hate crime wherever it happens;
  • the aim of the Accessible Tourism Project is to make Scotland the most accessible tourist destination in Europe by identifying the barriers faced by disabled people holidaying in Scotland and promoting the business benefits of accessible tourism to the industry. Learning from experience gained with the original Accessible Tourism pilot project in Glasgow and Strathclyde Country Park, and a smaller but equally important pilot project with the Fife Tourism Partnership, VisitScotland are now working to improve their range of accessible products for the tourist industry in Scotland.

Additionally, when reviewing policies and services or proposing changes, public bodies including the Scottish Government undertake Equality Impact Assessments that consider the impact on protected groups of people including those with disabilities.[26]

There is legislation to embed disability equality as a key part of our public services, for example the pioneering British Sign Language (Scotland) Act 2015 which promotes the use and understanding of British Sign Language (BSL) across the public sector and places a duty on Scottish Ministers to publish a BSL national plan by October 2017.

The Scottish Government is making sure disabled people's voices are heard by all public services by developing Community Planning approaches – bringing public services in local areas together so they work to achieve local outcomes consistent with National Outcomes, including through the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 and Empowering Scotland's Island Communities.[27]

The Scottish Government has developed a systematic approach to assessing our budget decisions for their impact on all equality groups, allowing the experiences of different groups to be actively taken into account. This means that budgets can be effectively targeted to benefit specific groups, and helps to avoid or mitigate particular negative impacts. The equality assessment of the budget is presented in an Equality Statement, published each year alongside the Scottish Draft Budget.

A diagram showing where this Accessible Travel Framework fits within this wider strategic context is shown at Figure 6.

Figure 6

Figure 6: Accessible Travel Framework