Reports and consultation responses 2018

Rjcrop previewoyal Blind and Scottish War Blinded engage in policy development and research to take forward our aim to secure positive change for people with vision impairment. We believe it is vital that decision makers at every level of government are aware of the needs and experiences of people who are affected by vision impairment when they make key decisions on issues like reform of public services or the future of healthcare. This works is part of securing our vision to see a Scotland in which blind and partially sighted people, including those who have other disabilities, are fully included and live fulfilling lives. 

On this page you will find details of Royal Blind and Scottish War Blinded responses to government and parliamentary consultations, as well as information about policy campaigns the charities are taking forward.

 
 

UK Government's Strategy for Our Veterans

7 February 2019 - In November 2018, the UK Government published Strategy for Our Veterans, setting out aims and principles to meet the needs of older veterans as well as the wider veteran community over the next ten years. The consultation sought views on focused questions, building on the research and engagement conducted to produce the strategy. Scottish War Blinded's submission called for the UK and Scottish Governments to work collaboratively to ensure the strategy achieves positive change for veterans in Scotland. It highlighted gaps in provision, particularly for disabled veterans and those living with vision impairment, and emphasised the importance of signposting veterans to relevant support as soon as they require it.

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Restricted Roads (20 mph Speed Limit) (Scotland) Bill

25 Person on pavement with white caneJanuary 2019 - Royal Blind and Scottish War Blinded responded to the consultation by the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee on the Bill. The legislation would reduce the speed limit on most residential and urban streets from 30 mph to 20 mph.We support the aims of the Bill, which would have a positive impact on vision impaired people. A national restriction on traffic speed to 20 mph on restricted roads would improve safety and accessibility for people with vision impairment on more streets and roads in Scotland.    

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Equality & Human Rights Commission draft strategic plan

7 January 2019 - The Equality & Human Rights Commission ran a consultation on the aims outlined in its strategic plan 2019-2022.  Despite the progress made in recent years in changing perceptions around disability, Royal Blind believes there is a great deal more to do to challenge successfully the stigma which remains around vision impairment in every area of life. Our submission called for the lack of provision in additional support for learning to be given further consideration by the Commission, as this is impacting on children's human right to education. 

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Draft NHS Education for Scotland Strategy 2019-2024

15 January 2019 - NHS Education for Scotland consulted stakeholders on its Strategy for 2019-2024. Royal Blind's response expressed support for the vision and mission statements. We also reiterated our concerns over the need to recruit more staff into social care and improve retention in the sector given the ageing demographic of Scotland. We called for Scotland’s health and social care staff to be equipped with the skills to ensure tailored care can be provided to an increasing number of people with vision impairment, with this number set to more than double to almost 400,000 over the next two decades.

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Our Vision for Equal Education

Royal Blind School pupils with a teacher23 October 2018 - Royal Blind is taking forward the "Our Vision for Equal Education" campaign to highlight the need for increased support in Scotland's schools for blind and partially sighted pupils. Royal Blind has highlighted that because up to 80% of our learning is through our vision, pupils with vision impairment start at an immediate disadvantage to their fully sighted peers. There is also a growing number of children in Scotland's schools who are vision impaired, but the most recent figures show there has been a fall in the number of specialist teachers. The charity is concerned that this is contributing to an attainment gap for vision impaired young people. 

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Transport (Scotland) Bill

28 October 2018 - The Transport (Scotland) Bill will legilsate in important areas of policy for people with vision impairment in Scotland. The Bill includes provisions to introduce a national ban on pavement and double parking to make it easier for local authorities to ensure our pavements and roads safer and more accessible to all. Royal Blind and Scottish War Blinded have responded to the consultation by the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee on the general principles of the Bill. Our submission stressed the importance of a ban on pavement parking and the need to ensure disabled people are fully consulted on key decisions on local transport issues. 

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Progressing Children's Rights in Scotland

Pupils at the Royal Blind SchoolRoyal Blind was pleased to take part in the consultation on the content and format of the Scottish Government's Action Plan to take forward children’s rights in Scotland.The charity welcomed the proposals for the plan, which include embedding the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child into domestic law.  The charity also stressed in its response the need for the rights of disabled children and young people to be a key aspect of the plan and wider work to promote the rights of children in Scotland.  

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Supporting Disabled Children, Young People and their Families

A young person at Royal Blind's Forward Vision service with staff5 September 2018 - Royal Blind has responded to the Scottish Government's consultation on a new information resource to support its policy framework for Supporting Disabled Children, Young People and their Families. Royal Blind has welcomed the proposed new publication and the fact it signposts to many organisations who can help young disabled people and their families, but has asked the Scottish Government to consider how the publication might be of more practical support for families who still too often face barriers to accessing key services. 

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Increasing Employment of Disabled People in the Public Sector

15 August 2018 - Royal Blind has responded to the Scottish Government consultation on increasing employment of disabled people in the public sector. As a provider of supported employment through the Scottish Braille Press, Royal Blind recognises there are several factors which contribute to the disability employment gap in Scotland.  We have welcomed the committment by the Scottish Government to half the disability employment gap and believe measures proposed in the consultation document can help ensure the public sector makes its vital contribution to this goal.

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Safe Staffing Bill

30 July 2018 - Royal Blind has responded to the call for evidence from the Health and Sport Committee of the Scottish Parliament on the general principles of the Scottish Government's Safe Staffing Bill.The Bill will create new duties for health and social care providers in relation to assessing and maintaining staffing levels. Royal Blind supports guiding principles in statute applying across both the health and social care sectors, although we believe there should be further reflection on the mechanism for how this commitment in statute is fulfilled in social care. 

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Consultation on the UK’s implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty

15 June 2018 - Royal Blind has submitted a response to the UK Government's consultation on the implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty which allows for international copyright exceptions to help promote the availability of accessible versions of books and other copyrighted works for vision impaired people. As a producer of accessible format documents for people living with sight loss through the work of the Scottish Braille Press, Royal Blind believes the new Treaty is an opportunity to ensure a greater number of publications can be made available to more vision impaired people across the world. 

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Social Connections and Sight loss

9 June 2018 - Royal Blind and Scottish War Blinded have published "Social Connections and Sight Loss" which outlines the findings of research across the charities' services into the links between vision impairment and loneliness. The report looks into the major causes of isolation among people living with sight loss, and examines what interventions are most effective in preventing and tackling loneliness. The report also makes recommendations for actions which should be taken at a national and local levels to promote better social connections for people living with sight loss.

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Adults with Incapacity

Royal Blind has responded to the Scottish Government's consultation on Adults with Incapacity focussing on our adult services.30 April 2018 - Royal Blind has responded to the Scottish Government’s proposal for reform of the Adults with Incapacity legislation.  International human rights law in this field has developed further since Scotland developed a comprehensive regime to protect the welfare and financial rights of persons lacking in capacity. Royal Blind agrees we need to ensure that Scotland's law remains fully fit for purpose in this important area of legislation for people requiring support and care.

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Social Isolation and Loneliness

Scottish War Blinded Member talks about his experience of loneliness27 April 2018 - Royal Blind and Scottish War Blinded have undertaken a major study into the impact vision imapirment can have on loneliness.  The research was to inform our submission to the Scottish Government consultation "A Connected Scotland: Tackling Social Isolation and Loneliness and Building Stronger Social Connections." The survey found that almost two thirds of the 281 vision impaired people who participated had experience loneliness due to their sight loss, and Royal Blind and Scottish War Blinded services helped many overcome feelings of loneliness. 

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Electoral Reform

14 March 2018  - Royal Blind has submitted to the Scottish Government's Government consultation on Electoral Reform.  The charity has urged for more action to be taken to ensure that a greater number of vision impaired people can particpate in future elections, both as voters and as candidates for elected office.

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Excellence and Equity for All: Guidance on the Presumption of Mainstreaming

Pupils at the Royal Blind School receiving instruction form a teacher on using equipment during a lesson9 February 2018 - Royal Blind has written a submission for the Scottish Government consultation on new guidance on the presumption of mainstreaming. Royal Blind has welcomed the new guidance. The charity has made the case that guidance must be reinforced by the right support and resources for vision imapired pupils, and that too often pupils with vision impairment do not have access to the expert support they need.

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Empowering Schools: A consultation on the provisions of the Education (Scotland) Bill

 Royal Blind School pupils in a lesson using tactile diagrams30 January 2018 - Royal Blind has responded to the Scottish Government's consultation on "Empowering Schools: A consultation on the provisions of the Education (Scotland) Bill." Our response highlights the need to provide more supportive school environments for pupils with vision impairment, and considers the potential for Regional Improvement Collaboratives to be drivers of improved educational provision for vision impaired children and young people. 

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The impact of leaving the EU on health and social care in Scotland

Member of staff at Braeside House with a resident. 24 January 2018 - Royal Blind has submitted a response to the call for evidence from the Scottish Parliament's Health and Sport Committee Inquiry on the impact of leaving the EU on health and social care in Scotland. Our response focuses on workforce issues for the provision of health and social care as this is the key concern for Royal Blind and the charity’s services.

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