The Plan is codesigned with disabled people
In July 2013, the Chief Executives’ Group on Disability Issues met for the first time with the Independent Monitoring Mechanism (that is the Human Rights Commission, the Office of the Ombudsman, and the Convention Coalition Monitoring Group). This meeting recognised that the status quo approach to disability policy development needed to change.
The Chief Executives’ Group agreed to take a more inclusive and collaborative approach with developing a new action plan. They directed government agencies to work closely with Disabled People’s Organisations and codesign the Plan.
This direction reflected an interest by the Chief Executives’ Group in:
- ensuring that disabled people’s lived experience can inform and enrich Government priority setting
- advancing New Zealand’s implementation of the CRPD, particularly the obligation in Article 4(3).
The CRPD’s Article 4(3) obliges States to ensure that the authentic perspectives of disabled people, which are voiced by disabled people themselves, can be present alongside government agencies developing legislation, policy and services impacting on disabled people.
Disabled People’s Organisations have been key to help meet this obligation in New Zealand, as representative organisations of disabled people.
This CRPD obligation acknowledges the long history of exclusion and invisibility of disabled people from government policy development and other matters impacting on them. It seeks to ensure that disabled people, themselves, always have the opportunity to be involved.
Involving Disabled People’s Organisations does not exclude or replace the need to consult with or involve other organisations, at any stage. Input from a variety of stakeholders will be needed to make sure the scoping and implementation of individual actions is informed by diverse perspectives and expertise in the disability sector.
Disabled people are involved through their representative organisations
Disabled People’s Organisations are generally described as organisations that:
- are governed and led by disabled people
- focus on representing the lived experience of disability in one or more impairment areas
- have members who are disabled people.
There are many other organisations in the disability sector, which each have different and important perspectives. However, these other organisations predominantly provide disability-specific services and/or are led by non-disabled people and therefore are not Disabled People’s Organisations.
Seven national Disabled People’s Organisations were involved in codesigning the initial Plan, and have continued to work with government agencies in its implementation and the 2015 update. They are:
- Disabled Persons Assembly New Zealand
- People First New Zealand
- Deaf Aotearoa
- Blind Citizens New Zealand
- Balance NZ
- Deafblind New Zealand
- Kāpo Māori o Aotearoa New Zealand.
In 2015, the Disabled People’s Organisations published a list of attributes describing in more detail what constitutes a Disabled Person’s Organisation. These attributes are online at: http://www.odi.govt.nz/community/disabled-peoples-organisations.html
Building on principles, working together evolves into practice
In July 2014, the Chief Executives’ Group on Disability Issues signed an agreement with the Disabled People’s Organisations to further develop their working relationship. The agreement is based on five principles of engagement developed in August 2013, at the beginning of the initial Plan codesign process:
- Government will engage with Disabled People’s Organisations as representatives of disabled people.
- We involve the right people, at the right time, in the right work.
- We value the contribution of each party and make it easy to engage.
- We will be open, honest, transparent and creative in our engagement with each other.
- We jointly learn about how to engage with each other.
The Office for Disability Issues has continued to fund the Disabled People’s Organisations to participate in the Plan implementation, including regular meetings in Wellington.
Informed by experiences implementing the Plan to date, the Office for Disability Issues will progress the agreement on working together over 2016.
 The Chief Executives’ Group on Disability Issues provides leadership and coordination amongst government agencies on implementing decisions by the Ministerial Committee on Disability Issues.
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