Forcing people with learning difficulties online for concessionary travel consultation cannot be ‘right, fair or proper process’ say community groups (updated)

Organisations for people with learning disabilities on the Isle of Wight say the lack of paper versions of the council’s consultation on concessionary travel scheme cannot be a right or proper process.

computer keyboard

In mid-July the Isle of Wight council launched a public consultation on their concessionary travel scheme.

With just three weeks left in the consultation, representatives on behalf of John’s Club and ‘People First’ – organisations for people with learning disabilities – have been in touch to express their concerns about how the survey has been conducted.

They have been told that some groups, like them, have found out there aren’t any paper copies of the survey to fill in. They add that there is also no printed easy read form to fill in.

“It’s not right”
A spokesperson for the group said,

“This could stop a lot of people with a learning disability doing the survey – especially if they can’t use a computer.

“The groups are concerned that not everyone can understand the information about the possible changes easily or do the survey on a computer. They don’t think this is right.”

“Cannot be either a right, fair or proper process”
They go on to say,

“The consultation started ten weeks ago. For the council not to have the right forms even now cannot be either a right, fair or proper process.

“No one can do the survey more than once from the same computer so it isn’t even possible to help other people get their opinions across that way.”

How the scheme will affect Islanders with learning disabilities
John’s Club and ‘People First’ explain below how different people will be affected by what the council might do.

The members are aware that any changes might stop some people with a learning disability going to work because they don’t get paid enough to afford the bus fares.

A number of people volunteer, but they too won’t be able to afford the bus fares in the mornings.

Working people or volunteers might get sacked if they can’t get to work on time.

Could lead to isolation and poor mental health
The groups say that making people pay for the bus in the mornings might stop others going to their day service, morning group, college, further education club or activity. This could mean that they don’t go out in fact it might mean that they can’t go out.

People could easily lose their place at their group and that means they might lose their friends making them isolated.

Isolation has a bad effect on many people’s mental health and wellbeing. Shortage of attendees means the day services might close if people can’t get there on time.

The other alternative is that the club or service might not be able to offer so much in the way of activities. That would not be fair on those who can get there on time.

“Won’t be very fair, proper or right”
John’s Club and ‘People First’ have asked the council to think carefully about what it is they are going to do, “as what is decided could affect a lot of people with a learning disability quite badly and that won’t be very fair, proper or right”.

IWC: Hard copies available on request
OnTheWight has asked the Isle of Wight council a series of questions in relation to the above.

A spokesperson for Isle of Wight council replied,

“We have advised since the beginning of the consultation that hard copies and easy read versions will be made available on request.

“Additionally, having received requests and feedback from stakeholder organisations, these hard copy and easy read versions are also now available by visiting Newport Help Centre.”

Consultation extended
They went on to add,

“To assist with the completion and return of hard copy versions and taking into account the views of stakeholders, it has also been agreed to extend the period of the consultation until midday on Tuesday 22 October 2019 (with hard copy surveys to be posted back by Friday 18 October).”

Article edit
1/10.2019 8.55: Response from IWC added

Image: Brandon Leon under CC BY 2.0

Monday, 30th September, 2019 12:40pm

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Filed under: Isle of Wight News, Top story

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