Having achieved its initial three major objectives over the last couple of years the Partnership intends now to focus its attention on capitalising on these “gains” to continue to lift the profile of disability and the consequences of the same and to push it further up the political agenda. This of course includes the associated issues for Carers. This to be achieved by vigorous engagement with Government in its broadest sense.
The Island now has a good grasp of the breadth and depth of disability within Jersey through research conducted to a social, non-medical model, which teased out the consequences of disability as well as the broad numbers. The last States Assembly passed a fledgling Disability Strategy to deal with both of these findings, and finally in September 2018 it passed Jersey’s first Disability Discrimination legislation into law.
The task now is to persuade Government to move its Strategy forward as a priority and to live up to at least one of its five stated Strategic Policies for the period 2018-2022 – that of “improving islanders’ wellbeing and mental and physical health”. To this end a meeting has been organised for the 28th January at 6pm at St Paul’s Centre (all are welcome) to listen to Rob Sainsbury, the Group Managing Director of the Hospital and Community Services, explain the detail of the intended restructuring of the governance of the Health and Community Services Department and how this might relate to Voluntary and Community Sector Partners including the Disability Partnership.
At the same meeting Sean McGonigle, the newly appointed permanent Director of Local Services, will explain how he intends to start the process of building a new relationship between all States Departments and the VCS and what part he envisages the Disability Partnership might play in this. In the context of this the JDP is seeking information from Government about the future responsibilities at Ministerial level for broad Social Policy and what if any opportunity to replace the moribund Service Users Forum might be created.
To reinforce our efforts across all areas the Partnership will continue to raise and highlight issues brought to it by the broad membership and to this end is seeking to find a “champion” by way of a politician to speak and argue our cause within the States Assembly. The prime responsibility of the JDP is to weave disability inclusion into all areas of government policy as a matter of urgency.