State agency may be set up run by disabled people

State agency may be set up run by disabled people only


12.01.2015, Moscow

Members of the Public Chamber have proposed setting up a Government Inspectorate for the Employment of the Disabled and Creation of a Barrier-Free Environment, to be staffed  solely by disabled people. The Chamber believes that the people best placed to identify problems faced by the disabled community can only be those who have experienced such difficulties at first hand.

“Vladimir Putin has repeatedly stressed that we should not lower our social standards, or the level of support the State provides for vulnerable people. We are also absolutely convinced that what’s on offer isn’t just another social experiment, but a serious and essential step – a State agency that won’t be too formal, but one that adopts a more informal approach in addressing social policy issues”, said Vladimir Slepaka, Chairman of the Public Chamber’s Commission on social policy and quality of life, to Izvestia. It is proposed that disabled people themselves will monitor and address issues that concern them on a daily basis.

Slepaka also stated that the current “Accessibility” programme has spent large sums of money from a variety of budget sources, but all too often officials are not making enough effort to receive feedback from disabled people – this will be one of the main challenges facing this new agency. It is proposed that the Inspectorate will be vested with administrative authority and so able to apply the Federation’s Code of Administrative Offences to officials who do not meet their responsibilities in terms of creating an accessible environment.

Members of the State Inspectorate will deal with issues within their own particular region, e.g. the lack of ramps, and unfair dismissal of disabled people. According to Mikhail Terentev, Chairman of the All-Russian Society for the Disabled and State Duma Deputy, it is more important to “educate” those working in existing bodies, rather than creating new ones, to ensure that each department in exercising its powers is more attentive to resolving problems faced by disabled people. “If we create a separate structure, existing State agencies will become more indifferent to the needs of the disabled. For example, they will be more and more inclined to refuse to deal with issues referred to the department  created exclusively for them”, said Terentev in an interview with Izvestia.

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