Help! A disability toolkit cheat sheet

Help! I've come straight to this step, what do I need to do?

Do I have to include a disability perspective in my Cabinet paper?

Cabinet has directed government agencies to include consideration of the impacts of policy proposals on disabled people in all Cabinet papers where relevant. This requirement is explained in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC) Cabinet Paper Guide .

Does your policy proposal, service or intervention affect people?

If your policy proposal impacts on people (directly or indirectly), then you will have disability implications to consider. 24% of the New Zealand population is disabled, so  these implications may not be immediately obvious.

Where to start

A good place to start is to clarify who is affected.

For example, is a group of disabled people more likely to be affected? (children? women? those with a specific impairment? Māori? etc).

Or, does the policy affect the wider disability community (e.g. disabled people’s partners, carers, family/whānau, friends and others involved in providing informal support), and/or the wider disability sector (e.g. organisations and people who work in support of disabled people and disability issues).

For more information, see the ODI webpage on key issues for disabled people in New Zealand.

Quick guide to definitions

There are a few key concepts and definitions that are important to familiarise yourself with. You can find them at things you should know: definitions, concepts and approaches.

Next, demonstrate your understanding of the context

For example:

  • What is the history of disability issues in New Zealand in relation to your policy area?
  • Have programmes in your policy area historically excluded or segregated disabled people?
  • How many disabled people are among your target population?
  • Are certain groups of disabled people more affected by the policy problem than others? 

We know that the lack of disagregated data about disabled people makes it difficult for policy makers to know how many disabled people might be impacted. However, some useful data sources include:

Next, answer the following questions: 

  • Does dealing with your policy problem relate to one or more of the New Zealand Disability Strategy's principles, approaches, and/or outcome areas?
  • Do your policy options remove barriers to participation and improve accessibility?
  • Do your policy options include reasonable accommodation?
  • Do your policy options promote the rights of disabled people?
  • Do your policy options provide meaningful and effective opportunities for disabled people to be included in decision-making?
  • Have you included mechanisms to collect data on disabled people?

Removing barriers to participation and improving accessibility

Disabled people have the right to fully participate in all aspects of society, on the same basis as non-disabled people do. They also have the right to independent access. However, full participation by disabled people is limited by three inter-related barriers:

    1. Access - lack of equitable access to opportunities, information, buildings, transport, services, etc. Check the Accessibility Charter.
    2. Discrimination and/or attitudes - prejudice and ignorance resulting in negative discrimination or lack of appropriate accommodations.
    3. Economic and social status - a vicious cycle of lower economic, educational, and health status relative to the rest of the population.

To remove these barriers to participation and independence, policy makers must identify them in their policy area and remove them as much as possible.

Involve the disability community

Engagement is a key opportunity to gather insights and experiences from the disability community. It is important that public engagement is as accessible as possible, and targeted engagement is planned appropriately to ensure accessibility. Explain how any future plans will involve the disability community. As explained in Step 2, involving the Disabled People's Organisation (DPO) Coalition is a good place to start. Instructions on how to engage the DPO Coalition can be found on the ODI website.

Tell us what you think

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