The Campaign wants power and control to shift from government to citizens, families and communities. But we don’t want the government’s ‘Big Society’ if that means a loss of basic human rights and unfair cuts focused on the most vulnerable. We want a fair society.
We want to see the current broken system change. But change needs to be underpinned by fairness and a vision for the kind of society we want to live in.
Seven principles for a fair society
Everyone is equal, no matter their differences or disabilities. A fair society sees each of its members as a full citizen – a unique person with a life of their own. A fair society is organised to support everyone to live a full life, with meaning and respect.
The seven principles below will help us create a fair society:
Family – we give families the support they need to look after each other.
Citizenship – we are all of equal value and all have unique and positive contributions to make.
Community – we root support and services in local communities.
Connection – we all get chances to make friends and build relationships.
Capacity – we help each other to be the best that we can be.
Equality – we all share the same basic rights and entitlements.
Control – we have the help we need to be in control of our own life and support.
These principles can give direction to anyone making decisions about policy and funding. Using them to guide decisions will encourage greater independence and well-being for all vulnerable children, their families and to adults.
Individuals and families can measure the support and services they receive against them. They can also work with the Campaign to design a system based on these principles.
The principles are inspired by the vision of equal citizenship in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which the UK has ratified.
Why we need change
You may think that these ideas are already widely accepted but they are not.
Family – The unpaid, natural support given by families is worth billions of pounds but the current system makes it hard for families to provide this support.
Citizenship – Too often, vulnerable people – especially people with learning disabilities – are marginalised and treated in ways most people would not accept for themselves.
Community – Too many services take people away from ordinary relationships in their community.
Connection – For anyone, a life without relationships is a miserable life that requires more and more support.
Capacity – Services are often organised in ways that makes people less capable and more dependent.
Equality – Disabled people face extra taxes, extra poverty traps and have limited entitlements to support.
Control – Decisions about how people lead their life and get support are often taken by professionals who don’t know what people want.