On 25 April, the Reclaiming Our Futures Alliance (ROFA), in partnership with Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) and the TUC Disabled Workers Committee, launched ROFA’s Independent Living strategy, titled ‘Independent Living for the Future – Our vision for a national independent living support system’. The launch took place in the Parliament and was hosted by the Shadow Minister for Disabled People Marsha de Cordova.

ROFA’s Independent Living strategy came out of DPAC’s campaign against austerity measures and the closure of the Independent Living Fund. As explained during the launch, it sets out a vision for the future, a plan on how to do things differently.

The strategy’s core demand is as follows: “A new universal right to independent living, enshrined in law and delivered through a new national independent living service co-created between government and disabled people, funded through general taxation, managed by central government, led by Disabled people, and delivered locally in co-production with Disabled people.”

How this is to be achieved is set out in thirteen steps, which include, among other: the formation of an independent living taskforce; funding a case for investment in independent living support; dealing effectively with stigma; funding training on independent living for government personnel, commissioners and service providers; and developing a strategy for the closure of institutional settings, including long stay hospitals and Assessment and Treatment Units. What legal changes are needed is also explained, starting with legislating for a free-standing right to independent living that includes an adequately resourced right to inclusive education.

The strategy is built on Article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, as explained in the General Comment No. 5, the social and human rights-based models of disability and distress, the twelve pillars of independent living, and the National Survivor User Network’s Manifesto.

Having launched the strategy, ROFA and allies will seek support from MPs and councillors. They have also prepared a motion, which they are encouraging trade union branches and Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs) to sign up to. A follow up round table to discuss a campaigning strategy following the TUC’s Disabled Workers’ Conference in May will also be organised.

Download ROFA’s Independent Living Strategy here

Download the Easy Read version here