Ahead of a meeting with disabled leaders and others to debate
strategies and tactics to address the current threats to
independent living for disabled people, Martin Routledge, In
Control's head of operations offers his views in a blog for
'Authors of Our Lives'.
At a time when progress towards independent living is at greater
risk than ever, Martin discusses some of the challenges faced by
disabled people in ensuring that independent living is
He poses many questions - no doubt to be debated at the coming
meeting where together with disabled leaders and Sue Bott, In
Control trustee, he will look at how together they can tackle this
'These are incredibly worrying times for disabled people.
Progress towards independent living is at greater risk than it has
been for decades. People who care about this must act, but what to
In a time when services are moving towards personalisation,
Martin questions why disability remains marginalised and why there
isn't the same political and community support for the independence
of disabled people as there is for the wider social care
He suggests that independent living is sacrificed in favour of
more institutionalised 'solutions' and that attempts to personalise
fail when up against a system that seems to see this as less of a
priority than in other cases.
Looking at the many stakeholders involved, the real question
is how this can be changed, and change quickly.
'There isn't a single actor (usually we think of central
government) that could just adjust its behaviour and bring
independent living about. We need to think about a combination
of tactical and strategic activities running in parallel that might
achieve positive short term developments which can support and link
with more major shifts.'
In light of the numerous stakeholders that would need to work
together, Martin suggests that there is a real need for partners to
work together, developing strategies that are linked but in reality
this may prove problematic to bring into place due to the varied
nature of each agency's own agendas.
'We will need to be principled, pragmatic and opportunistic all
at the same time. The threats currently faced can provide
energy, determination and drive the construction of alliances.'
In his blog he puts forward a range of specific and broader
activities designed to help build the right conditions to enable
this partner-working to happen. These include: developing strong
and powerfully communicated narratives that demonstrate why
independent living is the right thing for disabled people and
society through to finding ways to generate investment in national
and local leadership.
While not suggesting that this work will be easy or will be
possible, Martin sees the need for some sort of organisation as
being paramount to ensuring that these issues and challenges can be
'As a minimum I would suggest a coalition of disabled leaders
and their organisations to generate a core mission and agree key
activities in a plan. Such a coalition could be supported by a wide
range of other groups and individuals based around sign up to the
mission and accepting the leadership of the coalition.'
'In Control are very keen to play whatever role we can to
support such a development.'
To read the full blog visit: