On January 22 and 23, 2012 the International Conference on Good Policies for Persons with Disabilities took place for the first time in Vienna, Austria with ENIL participating through Jamie Bolling, the ENIL Executive Director (see her speech). It was part of the Zero Project – zero as in zero barriers (see www.zeroproject.org/ ) with over 250 stakeholders from all over the world. Future legislation for a better world was the main theme. The conference was organised by the Essl Foundation in cooperation with the World Future Council and its founder Jakob von Uexkull, as well as by UniCredit Bank Austria.
One of eight selected laws was the Swedish Act Concerning Support and Service to Persons with Certain Functional Impairments. This is the only legislation covering personal assistance as a right to persons in need.
This law is used as a model within the Independent Living movement. Already since 1993 it legally entitles persons with extensive disabilities to cash payments for the purchase of self-directed personal assistance services. The Act concerning Support and Service to Persons with Certain Functional Impairments sets out the right for persons with considerable and permanent functional impairments to “good” as opposed to basic living conditions through the provision of ten measures for special support. The measure constituting the right to personal assistance has set the foundation for a demand-driven and competitive personal assistance market.
“Independent Living means having the same range of options and the same degree of self-determination that non-disabled people take for granted,” explains Adolf Ratzka, Founder of the Institute on Independent Living. “The Act needs to be further developed: recent restrictive court interpretations highlight the need for re-formulating its original intent and to expand its scope. Especially during the present European Year for Solidarity amongst Generations and Active Ageing we need to promote a wider independence of elderly people from institutionalized living.”