Baroness Jane Campbell and Sian Vasey Discuss SPECTRUM CIL’s Disability Manifesto 2017

SPECTRUM Centre for Independent Living was delighted to welcome Baroness Jane Campbell, a cross bench peer in the House of Lords and Sian Vasey, a Disabled film maker, to Southampton to discuss all things Independent Living related with our Chief Executive, Ian Loynes. They covered a wide range of topics from employment to welfare reform, not forgetting Brexit of course. You can watch highlights of their conversation below.

All of them agreed that none of the political parties were yet offering a comprehensive disability strategy that would enable Disabled People to enjoy true equality within society.

If you want to read the full manifesto, please visit our Disability Manifesto page.





Summary of ‘Disability Manifesto’ now available

With the General Election just a week away, many people are still deciding on who they are going to vote for. The election campaign has been dominated by issues such as social care and welfare reform, although sadly the horrific terrorist attack in Manchester has focused everyone’s minds on the issue of safety and security.

Our ‘Disability Manifesto’ which sets out what Disabled People would like political parties to commit to doing in the next Parliament, has been a great success. We are aware that it is a fairly long document so we have summarised the key commitments for each topic area into a short document so people can see at a glance what Disabled People want the political parties to sign up to.

We hope this summary document will be easier for some people to access. We will also be tweeting out the key commitments between now and the big day as well as releasing a video with some very special guests discussing our manifesto so keep an eye on our blog and Facebook page over the next few days.

If you want to read the full manifesto, please visit our Disability Manifesto page

Disability Manifesto: Employment

Yesterday, SPECTRUM Centre for Independent Living launched The Disability Manifesto for the General Election 2017. The aim of the manifesto is to highlight the issues that Disabled People feel ALL political parties should commit to,  following the General Election. Over the coming days, we will be focusing on a particular section of the Disability Manifesto each day and welcome your feedback on our Facebook page or via Twitter using the hashtag #DisMan17download

Today, we are looking at the topic of Employment:


Reducing unemployment – especially long-term unemployment – and making the workplace fully inclusive and accessible to all are both vital to the UK’s economic recovery, but many Disabled People face a range of barriers to work and there is a still large and persistent disparity in the employment rates of Disabled People compared to non-disabled People and this gap has widened since 2010/11. Less than half (47.6%) of Disabled People in Britain are in work compared to almost 80% of non-disabled People.

The disability pay gap in Britain continues to widen. In 2015-16 there was a gap in median hourly earnings: Disabled People earned £9.85 compared with £11.41 for non-disabled People.

The next Government needs to address the gap between rhetoric on the need for more Disabled People to work and the lack of effective support for the many Disabled People who want to do so. Supporting Disabled People to work reduces dependence on benefits and increases the number of tax paying citizens contributing to the nation’s economy.

We call on all political parties to commit to halving the employment gap for Disabled People over the course of the next Parliament.

We call on all political parties to commit to eradicate the pay gap between Disabled People and non-disabled People.

We call on all political parties to commit to double the number of Disabled People benefiting from Access to Work support in the next 3 years.

Funding for Access to Work, which is proven to be effective in helping Disabled People to move into work and to stay in work, should be increased.

We also call on all political parties to commit to ensuring that Disabled People with complex support requirements have equal access to all employment support programmes.

If you want to read the full manifesto, please visit our Disability Manifesto page

SPECTRUM 2017 Disability Manifesto out now!

There are more than 13.3 million Disabled People and people with long-term health conditions in the UK – a very sizeable part of the electorate in 2017.

We believe it is essential for Disabled People’s voices to be heard in the debates around the 2017 General Election – not only because they represent a large number of votes but, more importantly, because they are deeply affected by so many of the key issues at the heart of political debate.

On the 25th May 2017, SPECTRUM Centre for Independent Living will be launching our Disabled People’s DISABILITY MANIFESTO – a pragmatic and realistic range of proposals which shows how the Government, any Government, could address the unfairness, the indignities and the discrimination that Disabled People have faced because of austerity measures.manifestocover2017


The launch of the DISABILITY Manifesto will be the start of our campaign to bring the needs, and the solutions that Disabled People are proposing, to the eyes and minds of the electorate, and into the minds of politicians and policy makers.

SPECTRUM Staff Vacancy – Human Resources & Performance Manager

SPECTRUM Centre for Independent Living CIC are recruiting a Human Resources & Performance Manager

37.5hrs/wk (negotiable), Salary scale: £30,178 – £32,778

SPECTRUM is: a highly respected, progressive and innovative user-led organisation. As a result of a strategic review, we need to recruit an experienced HR & Performance Manager to lead the development of our HR and performance management functions, line management of Team Leaders and ensure our policies and procedures model good practice and employment law.

Working within our Senior Management Team: you will develop and implement policy and practice on all HR & performance management functions, including recruitment, personnel development and safeguarding. You will have a key strategic role in implementing SPECTRUM’s ambitious new Strategic Action Plan.

The right candidate will have: human resources and performance management experience, and have Chartered Membership of CIPD or equivalent experience; Excellent management, interpersonal and organisational skills; You will be self motivated and have a pragmatic approach to problem solving. You will understand and champion equality & diversity in the workforce, and have a good understanding of the aims and values of our organisation and a commitment to the empowerment of Disabled People.

We offer: a flexible package, including 25-28 days annual leave + bank holidays (pro-rata) and a contributory pension scheme. You will have the opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of Disabled People and the success of SPECTRUM.

SPECTRUM is committed to equality and diversity. We particularly welcome applications from Disabled People.

For a job application pack and more information, click here

Job Vacancy – Receptionist and Conference Administrator 

IMG_0020Unity 12 CIC is owned and managed by SPECTRUM Centre for Independent Living which is an organisation run by and for Disabled People. The building provides office space and conference and room hire facilities to the community.

Unity 12 wish to recruit a Conference Administrator and Receptionist Administrator
Receptionist Administrator & Conference Administrator
20 Hrs/week: £16,829 Pro rata

We need an enthusiastic person to carry out conference coordination, reception and general office duties.
Excellent communication and IT skills are essential.
A training and induction package will enable you to develop your skills.
Unity 12 is committed to the principle of equality of opportunity. We particularly welcome applications from people who are members of minority groups. This post is a job share.
For an application pack, or an informal chat, please contact Cicily Hunt at:

Unity 12, 9-19 Rose Road, Southampton, SO14 6TE
Telephone: 023 8020 2629
Fax: 023 8020 2648
Minicom: 023 8020 2649

Closing date for applications: Monday 16th November 2015 at 9am.
Interview date: Monday 23rd November (times to be confirmed)

Personal Assistants Require Support and Recognition – But They’re Not Heroes or Saints

This blog post was written by Robert Droy and is his personal point of view

I get used to reading articles that are patronising to Disabled People. Unfortunately it’s just a price we have to pay if we want to read a newspaper or surf the internet. However an article in today’s Guardian was different in that I found it rather patronising about personal assistants or as the Guardian calls them ‘care workers’ .

Let me be clear this is in no way meant to be a personal attack on the author. Many of the points the author made regarding staff receiving adequate wages and the commitment that many staff put into their work, I wholly agree with. However phrases like ‘noble’ and ‘incredible’ and ‘devoted her whole life to….’ were quite jarring to me. It sounds like the member of staff was very good at her job and was committed, but she was just a member of staff. She wasn’t a hero or a saint. She shouldn’t have devoted her life to the job. My Personal Assistants are great at their job but they haven’t devoted their life to supporting me and neither should they. They should however have their work recognised and rewarded appropriately.

This brings me on to another quote from the article – ‘Caring is often a thankless task’ . Well, so is mending the photocopier, so is emptying other people’s bins, so is dealing with a drunk person after closing time. Many of us have jobs that are thankless but should we expect gratitude just for doing our job? I feel this is where the author got confused between caring and care work. People who are paid to support Disabled People (personal assistants / ‘care workers’ ) are distinct from carers who are normally friends or family who are providing unpaid care to the Disabled Person. Both these groups are vital in the modern social care system but they have different needs and support to undertake their responsibilities.

And after all this, we must never forget the wishes and preferences of the Disabled Person. How do they feel if their staff are held up as heroes and saints? Many Disabled People, including myself, may feel the staff are lucky to have a job at all. And that’s not because we’re ungrateful or don’t feel hard working staff should be recognised. It’s because we hear from our staff, how they enjoy their job, how they do feel recognised, or at the very least, how it’s better than working in McDonald’s.