An Explanation of the Washington Group Short Set of Questions on Disability
The Washington Group on Disability Statistics comprising over 100 representations (of national statistical offices and international non-governmental and disability organisations) developed the Washington Group Short Set (WGSS) of questions for countries to use in surveys of the general population.
This was developed in response to Article 31 of the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disability (UNCRPD), which obliges state parties to collect appraisal information, including statistical and research data, to enable them to develop policies to give effect to the convention.
The WGSS has been designed to identify individuals who are at greater risk than the general population of experiencing restricted social participation because of difficulties undertaking basic activities.
New Zealand context
The concluding comments of the New Zealand examination on the UNCRPD indicated the need for New Zealand to develop improved disability data.
The WGSS was, therefore, included for the first time in the New Zealand General Social Survey for the 2016/17 collection year. The questions will continue to be included in this survey, which is run every two years. The WGSS was also introduced for the first time in the June 2017 quarter of the Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS), and will continue to be included in each June quarter of the HLFS going forward. There are indications that government agencies will also use the WGSS in their own surveys.
The inclusion of the WGSS on a regular basis, in various surveys, will provide useful and timely information. This will be used alongside information gathered from more informal sources about the experiences of disabled people to inform policy development and service planning.
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