Written evidence from Inclusion Scotland (COV0177)


Inclusion Scotland is a Disabled People’s Organisation (DPO) – led by disabled people ourselves. Inclusion Scotland works to achieve positive changes to policy and practice, so that we disabled people are fully included throughout all Scottish society as equal citizens.


The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting on all areas of our lives. Disabled people are not just at risk from the virus. We are at risk from the actions of public bodies and others who do not understand who we are, what we need or what will work. Why? Because they have not asked us. Not only will this mean that thousands of us do not get what we urgently need but getting it wrong costs providers valuable time and money. 



On 01 April 2020, the Chair of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Disabled People issued a statement on measures to ensure that the lives and rights of disabled people are appropriately protected in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic[1]. Key recommendations included


Evidence from Inclusion Scotland’s survey[3] of disabled people and their carers about how the measures to deal with the outset of COVID-19 affected them suggest that the UK and Devolved Governments have not done enough to protect the rights of disabled people in line with the Committee’s Statement.



Inclusion Scotland are concerned that the emergency measures to combat COVID-19, including the Coronavirus Act (CA) and the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act (CSA), have not been subject to adequate Equality and Human Rights Impact Assessments. We have particular concerns regarding the failure by the UK and Scottish Governments to take account of State Party obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Disabled People (UNCRPD)[4], including:











Inclusion Scotland’s survey[5] revealed that disabled people and their carers were under significant pressure:



A follow up survey on those who are shielding[6] has revealed that many of these issues have not yet been resolved[7].



[1] https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=25765&LangID=E

[2] [our comments in square brackets]:

[3] The online survey ran from 01-30 April 2020 and was widely promoted to our members and disabled people through social media, newsletters and by partner organisations, including the Scottish Human Rights Commission. Nearly 900 people resonded. A summary of initial findings can be found here: https://inclusionscotland.org/COVID-19-evidence-survey/

[4] https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/CRPD/Pages/ConventionRightsPersonsWithDisabilities.aspx

[5] See above (https://inclusionscotland.org/COVID-19-evidence-survey/)

[6] Whether or not they have received a formal “shielding” letter: 55% of those shielding who responded to our follow up survey are doing so without a Chief Medical Officer (CMO) letter because they consider themselves to be a risk because of their medical condition or ave been advised to shield by their GP.

[7] The follow up survey on the impact on those who are shielding, including those who are shielding voluntarily, can be found here: https://inclusionscotland.org/shielding-report/