Case study 1
Saving money by involving disabled people in the decision-making process- Leicester City Council
Between 2006 and 2008 a number of changes were made to Leicester city centre. The Council assessed the impact of these changes and found that a number had an adverse effect on people with disabilities – for example, increased walking distances to the shops and a loss of blue badge parking spaces.
In order to resolve these issues and to prevent similar problems from occurring in the future, Leicester Council worked with voluntary sector organisations to listen to the experiences of blind and partially sighted people who used the city centre. They also set up an Inclusive Design Advisory Panel (IDAP), with the purpose of advising council planners about the implications of their plans for disabled people. The Panel is chaired by a councillor with an interest in inclusive design, and disabled people and disabled groups are involved in running it. In order to ensure that the needs of disabled people (such as parking) are met in the future, all planning and design projects now come through the Panel.
This approach has proven to be cost-effective to the organisation. Before the panel’s existence, disabled people’s requirements in respect to access were often picked up too late, when projects were completed. Problems were then costly to rectify and bad for the Council's reputation.
Source: Leicester City Council officials (See Equality Diversity Forum, 2013. ‘Submission to the Government’s Equality Duty Review')
Case study 2
Saving resources by addressing Gypsies' and Travellers' accommodation needs - Bristol City Council
In 1996 there were no authorised sites for Travellers in Bristol and illegal encampments were set up on a regular basis. This led to tensions between local residents and Travellers. Bristol Council was spending between £200,000-£350,000 annually to deal with the consequences.
The Council consulted with Gypsies and Travellers to find out if more authorised sites needed to be built. The lack of sites was seen to increase social exclusion, hostility and discrimination. The Council noted how the lack of appropriate accommodation affected a variety of vulnerable groups most: children (access to education services), older and disabled people (access to health and care services) within the Gypsy/Traveller community. As a result, in 2004 the Council decided to build two sites, one site for Travellers on their way to another destination (transit) and another site for Travellers settling more permanently.
Almost immediately the resources required to deal with unauthorised encampments decreased dramatically. Gypsies and Travellers living on authorised sites paid rent to live on the pitches provided, and paid their utility bills. The Council started to generate revenue and began to cut their expenditure. The actions have also enabled Gypsies and Travellers to better access basic services and it has reduced tensions with the settled community.
Source: Improving people's life chances,'Gypsies and Travellers: Simple solutions for living together'.
Last updated: 15 Apr 2016