The closure of Surrey Disability Register
Members of Surrey Disability Register (SDR) received a communication from Surrey County Council towards the end of last week announcing the closure of the register following a consultation earlier this year.
Surrey Coalition of Disabled People and Surrey Independent Living Council both opposed the closure of the register during the consultation and have written to Surrey County Council to express our disappointment in this decision.
We believe that this removal of a benefit for the disabled community couldn’t have come at a worse time, with us being in the midst of a global pandemic which has disproportionately affected disabled people.
We reject entirely the stated deduction that 71% people not responding to the consultation indicates that they do not value the register. Of the 29% of members that responded, the majority expressed that they wanted the register to continue. The ability to respond to a consultation is not a given for the disabled community for several reasons. The ability to access and respond to a consultation does also rely on receiving consultation documents in an accessible format.
To support Surrey County Council in their need to make savings, but keen to ensure services for disabled people were not lost, the Coalition and SILC suggested what we felt was a viable alternative; that we take over the coordination of the register, unfortunately this was rejected on the grounds of data protection (GDPR). Bearing in mind that both organisations coordinate services and projects for both health and care, we were surprised by the information included in the response letter that suggests that we wouldn’t be able to hold personal information securely. For the avoidance of any doubt, both the Coalition and SILC maintain the highest standards of Data Protection and fully comply with all data protection legislation and best practice.
Both organisations believe the register is of benefit to disabled people and that it should continue. Both organisations believe that it could be done better.
We now intend to work on building plans for a new register, a register that becomes a single place for disabled people to register that then links them in with other services and businesses to get the best deal for disabled people. If you would like to join our project group to help us get this right, then we would love to hear from you.
Very best wishes,
Clare Burgess Richard Davy