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

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.

SCIL and HCODP agree Closer Working Relationship

This post was written by Ian Loynes, SCIL’s Chief Executive.

At its joint AGM in September, SCIL and the Hampshire Coalition of Disabled People (HCODP) agreed the proposal that both organisations should work more closely together in the future. This article explains why we want to do this and what we hope to achieve.

SCIL & HCODP were formed separately, in 1984 & 1990 with different but linked aims. However (like many organisations) SCIL & HCODP have both found it difficult to attract resources, MC members and other volunteers.  As a result, both organisations increasingly share people (for example, staff with one organisation are commonly MC members on the other). In addition, both organisations share many other things like: members, premises, personnel, funding sources, similar projects etc.  We worried that this might lead to confusion, duplication, tension, burn-out or conflict which we wanted to avoid.

An initial joint meeting agreed the need to work more closely together, but felt a full merger would be inappropriate. Since then DAIN and DOVE have all agreed that the issues apply equally to them as well. Jointly we submitted a funding proposal to enable the appointment of a joint worker to take these ideas forward and to enable all the organisations to survive and thrive in the future.

What should we achieve by working closely together:

  • Streamline our structures and core costs
  • Reduce number of hats we all wear
  • Investigate joint memberships and joint MCs
  • Work together on joint funding
  • Develop a common strategy
  • Eliminate duplication to free up resources
  • Be more effective as a result

However, there are a number of things we also want to avoid:

  • Losing our individual identities
  • Compromise funding opportunities
  • Weaken governance of organisations
  • Confuse personnel or line management
  • Do anything that is not in the interests of our aims or the rights of Disabled People
  • Weaken our democratic accountability to Disabled People 

So, what do you think?…If you have any views or ideas, please email me on or phone or post your views to the usual address.

Design Options for a Versatile Environment (DOVE)

DOVE is a showroom hosting aids and adaptations for Disabled People. We are a charity located in Cosham and aim to provide impartial information on equipment as well as provide a free peer advocacy service. 

After 11 years, DOVE has had a management change and has shifted its focus to follow the Social Model of Disability.  We believe Disabled People have a right to live independently and should make their own choices. Independent living is having control over your life and a say over what happens. 

The showroom displays stairlifts, walk in showers and baths and various bath lifts. Two accessible kitchens are on display and within these, kitchen aids for people with a sensory impairment along with equipment for people with mobility impairments.  Later in the year we will be reopening our sensory room. Watch this space!

Our resource library contains information from an extensive array of suppliers and manufacturers of most aids and adaptations. We are looking at extending our database of approved and experienced fitters/builders of adaptations. All referrals are welcome please. 

Our peer advocacy service, which commenced in February this year, is already proving to be a huge success. Appointments are necessary and are available on Mondays and Tuesdays 11am – 3pm.

Many suppliers are selling over the internet, or via catalogues and simply do not have a showroom. One of our objectives at DOVE is to encourage and invite people to visit the showroom with the purpose to view and try equipment before they purchase the product elsewhere, or before installation by your local authority. 

As we are part funded by Local Authorities, one of our remits is to offer equipment training to occupational therapists.  OTs request the type of training they require and we organise it. We have hosted several successful training days to OTs on stair lifts, walk in showers and baths. This also is a free service and enables OTs to keep up to date on the latest products available on the market. 

Other services we provide are: Educational days to students of health and social care, OT undergraduates and college students;Training on Disability Equality and Disability Discrimination Act; Presentations on the Social Model of Disability.

Our staff and volunteers would be happy to help you, so if you require any aids, equipment or an adaptation in your home, why not come to D.O.V.E. Our opening hours are Monday – Thursday 11am – 3pm Alternatively, we can be contacted on 02392 787 788 or 

We look forward to welcoming you to D.O.V.E  

Disability Agenda Sets Worthy Goals

On February 14, the Disability Rights Commission launched what will probably be its last major inititative before it is merged into the new Commission for Equality and Human Rights in October 2007.

The Disability Agenda sets out what the DRC consider to be the major public policy challenges that Britain is facing and the action required to meet them.  These include promoting a culture of human rights and equality, bringing an end to child poverty, increasing life chances through learning and skills, ending poverty and widening employment opportunity, increasing participation in public, civic and community life, developing a social care system fit for the future, tackling health inequality, meeting the future housing challenge and building stronger safer communities. 

All very worthy aims and remarkably similar to the 12 basic rights that SCIL adopted 20 years ago. Although at first glance, the agenda just looked like a bunch of worthy aims but with no substance, the DRC has drawn up a list of recommendations for each aim, which hopefully both central and local government as well as others will consider when drawing up their future strategic plans.

It is still unclear how much attention the new Commission for Equality and Human Rights will give to disability issues but hopefully the Disability Agenda will be adopted by the new Commission and others in an effort to effect change over the next 10 years.

Individual Budgets Might Include Health Care Funding

Individual Budgets are the current government buzzword and it looks highly likely that they will be the successor to Direct Payments. The idea of Individual Budgets is that they will be a way of pulling together various different sources of funding under one umbrella. Therefore Individual Budgets may consist of Direct Payments funding, Independent Living Fund money, Access to Work funding, Supporting People funding, as well as the Disabled Facilities Grant and funding for equipment.

This one budget will then allow Disabled People to use the money in a way that best suits their own needs and situation. Disabled People will also receive support to plan what they want and how they wish to organise it, from a broker or advocate, family or friends. The Government chose 13 local authorities around the country to pilot Individual Budgets and depending on the results of the pilots, the scheme is likely to be extended.

Alan Milburn

Alan Milburn, former Health Secretary, has however strongly indicated that some Disabled People may be able to receive health funding as part of their Individual Budget in the future. This move would be welcomed by many Disabled People who may have long term health needs as at present there seems to be a ‘grey area’ as to whether people can receive Direct Payments to meet long term health needs.  A few years ago, there were many cases where funding for health needs could be transferred from the NHS to Social Services and then Social Services would then pay the Disabled Person the money as part of their Direct Payments.  This has become less common in recent years.

Alan Milburn said “The Department of Health is currently piloting individual budgets for a wider range of services…Health care is not yet included. I believe it should be for patients whose care needs already entitle them to receive a direct payment for social care. Otherwise we miss the opportunity of genuinely integrating care into the patient’s point of view.” 

This would be a major step forward as most Disabled People find the distinction between ‘health’ and ‘social care’ needs both arbitary and unhelpful. As more and more health care is being delivered in people’s own home, it makes sense for people to choose when and how their ‘health’ needs are addressed, in the same way that Disabled People can choose when and how their ‘social care’ needs are addressed using Direct Payments.