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Welfare Reform on the Web (June 2009): Services for the disabled - UK

Better breaks for families of disabled

J. Mahadevan

Children and Young People Now, Apr. 23rd-29th 2009, p. 12

In 2008, 21 local authorities were given the bulk of the funding for a 370m three-year investment programme to transform short-break provision for disabled children and their families. This article reports on some innovative ways of providing short breaks that offer the children valuable experiences as well as giving parents a rest from caring.

UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities: reservations and interpretative declaration

Joint Committee on Human Rights

London: TSO, 2009 (House of Commons papers, session 2008/09: HC 397)

In this report the Joint Committee welcomes the Government's intention to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities but draws attention to proposals for reservations and interpretative declarations.

The Committee's conclusions and recommendations include:

  • The Committee was concerned that there had been insufficient scrutiny of these proposals, not least because draft texts had not been published, and that the Office for Disability Issues had not robustly challenged Government departments about their proposals.
  • The Government laid the Convention before Parliament on 3 March 2009, heralding the beginning of the ratification process. Four reservations and one interpretative declaration were proposed.
  • The Committee has criticised the Government for ruling out formal consultation on these proposals and also drawn attention to the limited opportunities for parliamentary scrutiny and control of the ratification of treaties.
  • Ratification should take priority over potentially lengthy and futile discussions about whether or not to enter reservations but the Government's approach to some of the reservations has been unduly cautious and may detract from the position role the UK has played in relation to the Convention.
  • The Committee considers that the reservation relating to service in the armed forces is open to challenge as incompatible with the object and purpose of the Convention. .
  • The reservation relating to immigration control is felt to be too broad, its purpose has not been adequately explained and so it should be dropped.
  • The Government should clarify matters in relation to the reservation and declaration on education and should consult on how to deal with the treatment of benefits appointees.
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