X by X Bromley - A Community Interest Company

Your VOTE counts – Elections on 22nd May 2014, 7:00am – 10:00pm Don’t miss out on your chance to vote!

Elections are TODAY 22nd May 2014, 7:00am – 10:00pm

Don’t miss out on your chance to vote today!!!

The response below in  BLUE are for the Labour Party Response

and RED are for the Conservative Party

Do you know who you will be voting for?  Would you like more information to help you make this decision?   Bromley X by X have contacted local candidates telling them about 8 pledges that we feel if backed by the elected party will help improve the lives of disabled people.


The Pledges

1) Our Council will develop an inclusive education policy

Inclusive education is a must to support disabled people’s inclusion in society.  The starting point of the Children and Families Act 2014 is the presumption of mainstream education for disabled children and young people (including Special Educational Needs). Councils have a central role in developing policies and deploying funding in a manner that builds sustainable inclusive education practice in all schools across the borough.       

We ask the Council to develop an inclusive education policy, setting out their plans to build the capacity of mainstream schools and colleges so that they become inclusive of all disabled learners.

For information about inclusive education go to: www.allfie.org.uk/

Bromley Labour Party Response:  Although schools are now independent of local authorities as Academies, the Labour Party is committed to inclusive education. As the Labour Party has only 3 of the 60 seats on Bromley Council, we have limited success in delivering the Labour agenda at a local level.  We recognise that barriers are created and re-enforced through segregated educational systems and will work with the community to enable an exclusive education policy is adopted by Bromley Council.

Bromley Conservative Party Response:

Inclusive education Policy – Bromley Council does have one. More children are going into inclusive education with complex needs. In fact 3 fully ventilated children are now in mainstream school at the same time we are still supporting and expanding special schools so children can be day pupils and don’t have to go out of Borough.  Also have a robust respite system to give parents time out.

2) Our Council will ring-fence money for Independent Living Fund recipients

The Independent Living Fund (ILF) was set up to provide support for disabled people with the highest levels of support need to live in the community. The government closed the Fund to new applicants in December 2010 and had now announced that it will be closed permanently from June 2015. Without the support that the ILF provides there is a serious risk to disabled people’s right to independent living with the prospect of institutionalisation against people’s wishes and a lowering of quality of life. With the closure of the Fund responsibility for meeting the social care support needs of existing ILF recipients will transfer to Councils. Funding will be devolved from central government to local Councils to help meet these new responsibilities for one year from 2015 – 2016.

We ask the Council to commit to ring-fence this funding for existing ILF recipients.

Some Councils including Islington have already committed to this.

For the latest figures on numbers of ILF recipients living in your local area go to: www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/301888/user-profiles-0314.pdf

For Inclusion London’s briefing paper on the ILF go to: www.inclusionlondon.co.uk/

Bromley Labour response: The barriers to independent living faced by disabled people have been increased under the austerity packages. The Labour Party will commit to ring fencing the ILF budget for disabled people and ensure that the budget is not absorbed into other areas.


Bromley Conservative Party Response: ILF money from the government – Does not need to be ring fenced. Money earmarked for care is used for care. Example – Won’t use it to repair roads. Evidence of this can be found in the budget. Due to the FACS criteria Bromley only provide care to those that meet substantial and critical care needs. So if people are assessed and don’t meet these need levels, they won’t get the support. Estimate 100 people in borough are getting ILF and estimate that about 20% i.e. 20 people will no longer be eligible for this support. Will work closely with people during the transition. Will want to work with individual cases, who have difficulties as result of these changes. X by X has been asked to refer them to Bob Evans

3) Our Council will commit to ending 15 minute care visits and will not replace home visits with telecare services

Increasingly local Councils are introducing 15 minute care visits as a response to huge social care funding cuts and growing demand for social care support services. Research by Leonard Cheshire has shown that 60% of local Councils now commission 15 minute visits and with some local Councils delivering more than 75% of their care visits in 15 minutes. Visits of such a short duration deprive disabled and older people of their dignity and simply cannot meet peoples need. Cutting down on the support provided to disabled people represents a false saving. One third of disabled people who use social care are of working age. With the right kind of support disabled people can work, avoid hospital visits and be active in the community. Cutting back on social care support ends up costing much, much more in the long term as people’s needs escalate without this support.

We ask that Council commit to ending 15 minute social care visits. For Councils where 15 minute visits have not yet been introduced we ask that they pledge not to. We also ask that the Council home visits are not replaced by telecare services which are simply not an acceptable alternative to ‘face to face’ practical assistance and support.

Some Councils including Greenwich have already committed to this.

For more information go to: www.leonardcheshire.org/sites/default/files/15 min care report final.pdf

Labour response:  We pledge not to contract or provide undignified 15 minute social care visits for disabled or elderly people in the borough. We will consider adding telecare services as an additional service, but not as an alternative to current visits.


Bromley Conservative Party Response:  15 min calls – ‘not in Bromley at the moment and not on my watch!  Officers are not keen on this and I’m not keen. Likely if someone takes over from me, they would agree with my stance.  Telecare – we are happy to introduce this to assist people further but not in exchange for part of a call.

4) Our Council will increase the availability of accessible housing

The housing shortage is a major pressure facing Londoners. For disabled people this is compounded by limited availability of adapted properties and by a lack of systems for matching accessible housing to need. Research shows that 52% of people with impairments in the UK have difficulties with accessing rooms within the home while 41% have difficulty getting out of their homes due to a lack of suitable adaptations[1]. Only just over a quarter of households with disabled adults in London report having adapted accommodation and a quarter of these say the adapted accommodation they do have is unsuitable[2].

Councils have targets to meet for building affordable housing. This is also an important issue for disabled people but we would also ask for a pledge to address the need for accessible housing built to Lifetime Homes standards.

Labour response:For a number of years housing services have been provided by a variety of agencies in the borough, and despite the numbers of people needing accessible accommodation, the numbers provided have not matched the numbers waiting. Labour councillors will work to persuade the Tory Councillors in Bromley to ensure that all new developments have a set proportion of accessible homes within the scheme. We will work with disabled people to develop this policy.


Bromley Conservative Party Response: Availability of accessible housing – Bromley Council has no housing of its own – all went over to Affinity Sutton many years ago. So we work with the 18/19 Housing associations who have properties in this borough. Meet them regularly and all appreciate the need for more adapted housing Disabled facilities grant – (DFG) is consistently under spent

5) Our Council will put in place a strategy for implementing the 7 core recommendations contained in the Equality and Human Rights Commission report ‘Hidden in Plain Sight’

Disability hate crime is a major concern for disabled people. Mencap reports that 9 out of 10 people with learning difficulties experience bullying or harassment. In the most serious cases disabled people are murdered, as highlighted in the Scope report ‘Getting Away with Murder’. This is a continuing problem as evidenced by the murder at the end of last year of Bijan Ebrahimi. Disabled people report that hate crime is on the increase fuelled by media portrayals of benefit claimants as scroungers. The Equality and Human Rights Commission 2011 report ‘Hidden in Plain Sight’ made a number of recommendations for tackling disability hate crime. A recent report by Respond ‘London Calling: Local Authority responses to Disability Hate crime’ revealed that the implementation of those recommendations is patchy across London and there is much more that local Councils could be doing.

For more information about Respond’s research project: www.respond.org.uk/watch-listen-learn/londoncalling/

For information about ‘Hidden in Plain Sight’:http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/legal-and-policy/inquiries-and-assessments/inquiry-into-disability-related-harassment/hidden-in-plain-sight-the-inquiry-final-report/

Labour response: We recognise that too many disabled people experience disability hate crimes, so will work with the Police, disabled people (& disability organisations) to ensure that within Bromley the issues are highlighted, and real tangible actions taken to reduce this crime.


Bromley Conservative Party Response: Implementing 7 core recommendations in Hidden in Plain Sight – a lot of these are for the police and judiciary. But we are totally against all hate crime including disability hate crime. The Disability hate Crime project has been extended and we see that continuing on.

6) Our Council is committed to accessible streets and transport for disabled people

Below is a list of specific demands DDPOs could ask for depending on what is most relevant to your area:

1)   If your council does not allow double swiping for Taxicard, will the council instate or re-instate double swiping (i.e. being able to use two of your Taxicard trips at once for one longer journey)?

Bromley Conservative Party Response: No plans to change double swiping or roll over facility

2)   Will council commit to 100% accessible bus stops by 2016? (2016 because Trust for London committed to 95% by 2016)

Bromley Conservative Party Response: For 2014/15 £250,000 for upgrading bus stops

3)   Will council work with TfL, train companies and Government to set out a funded timetabled programme for stepfree access at stations in the borough?

Bromley Conservative Party Response: We can lobby but not councils decision. Two more stations in the borough will hopefully get money for step free access

4)   Will council work to ensure all pedestrian crossings under their control are fully accessible, with tactile and/or audio signal; and allow enough time to cross?

Bromley Conservative Party Response: When planning projects, we want to work with groups. Always go to KAB for comment

5)   Will council introduce a licensing system for A-boards which make so many of our pavements into an obstacle course for visually and mobility impaired people?

Bromley Conservative Party Response: There is a programme to update crossings and all crossings that can have tactile signals, have got them


6)   Will the Cabinet member(s) with responsibility for Transport and Streets; and the Leader of the Council, commit to going on a journey with a small group of older and disabled transport users, to see first-hand what barriers exist and how improvements can be made?

Bromley Conservative Party Response: A boards – need a license to have one on the pavement but most businesses have them on their forecourts so we have no jurisdiction over these”

After the elections, approach Environment portfolio holder for example to go on a trip.

Labour response:We recognise that without accessible transport, disabled people are unable to access education, leisure or work opportunities. This adds to the many social, economic and attitudinal barriers faced by disabled people. The Bromley Labour Party is currently already engaged with TfL and the GLA to raise issues of inaccessible bus stops. We think an accessible street scene makes Bromley an inviting place to live, visit and work and will work with the Tories to make this a reality across the whole borough. We would look to setting up a mobility forum where all agencies and disabled people can meet regularly to develop action plans and monitor delivery.


Please get in touch with Lianna at Transport for All for support with the Take Your Councillor on a Trip Action and so they can publicise – 020 7737 2339 / lianna@transportforall.org.uk

For more information on campaigning for accessible transport: www.transportforall.org.uk/


7) Our Council will develop an accessible communications strategy to ensure accessible information for our residents

Disabled people face significant barriers to information. This situation is getting worse with cutbacks to frontline support services resulting in a lack of communication support, for example to read letters, attend appointments or use the internet. Increasing reliance on electronic formats to communicate information is unsuitable for many Deaf and disabled people. Deaf and disabled people are significantly less likely to live in households with access to the internet than non-disabled people. In 2011 61 per cent of disabled people lived in households with internet access, compared to 86 per cent of non-disabled people[3]. Under the Equalities Act public bodies have a responsibility to act proactively to create accessible information. Failure to communicate information in a form that is accessible can be considered discrimination. It also limits the usefulness of the information and reaches fewer people.


We are asking the Council to pledge to work with local Deaf and disabled people to develop an accessible communication strategy to ensure Deaf and disabled people can access their information.

 For an easy read version of the Equalities Act: www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/85012/easy-read.pdf

Labour response:All Bromley residents are entitled to accessible communications from their council and we would adopt an Accessible Communications Strategy as a priority to ensure that disabled people are able participate and not disadvantaged due to their communication needs.


Bromley Conservative Party Response: Accessible Communication – would try and provide documents in accessible formats if asked. We asked that if Council was meeting with disabled organisations for example, information should be in easy read if needed. Councillor Evans said he wold bear that in mind. We confirmed we did easy read translation work and Councillor Evans made a note if this

8) Our Council will commit to working in co-production with Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisations and will adopt and work to the social model of disability

Deaf and disabled people’s organisations are central to the successful implementation of personalisation and independent living and ensuring local Deaf and disabled people have a voice in the community. In view of this the 2005 report ‘Improving Life Chances for Disabled People’ made a recommendation that by 2010 there should be Disabled People’s User Led Organisation (DPULO) on the model of a centre for independent living in every local authority area. There was considerable investment in exploring ways that local Councils can work with and commission DPULOs, for example using EU Directive 19 which allows tenders to be restricted for supported businesses. Too much of this learning has been forgotten. Councils need to acknowledge the added value that Deaf and disabled people’s organisations bring to service delivery, social inclusion and tackling poverty and discrimination.

We are asking the Council to pledge to the principle and practice of co-production with DDPOs and ensure awareness and knowledge of the social model of disability is understood by staff and applied across all Council services and functions.

For the SCIE guide for commissioners ‘Commissioning and sustaining User Led Organisations’: www.scie.org.uk/publications/guides/guide36/

Labour response:We would actively support the development for a Bromley DPULO, as the Labour Party believes that disabled people are best placed to develop solutions to the problems society has created. We firmly believe in the social model of disability and would like the DPULO to work with Bromley service providers (police, housing, council, health, education etc) to promote a greater understanding of the social model of disability, and holding service providers to account for the provision of accessible inclusive services across the borough. We fully recognise that disabled people are from BAME groups or from LGBT groups, or may face other challenges based on income, faith, age, gender stereotypes etc and that these add further complexities to life.

Bromley Conservative Party Response: Co production and the social model of disability – Bob Evans sees Bromley X by X as the umbrella organisation for disabled people and we asked if we could have a place on the Care services PDS committee for an X by X representative

[1] Life Opportunities Survey 2010 , Office for National Statistics

[2] Survey of English Housing, 2007/8

[3] British Social Attitudes Survey 2011