Bill Scott highlights some of the key strands coming out of the Inclusion Scotland webinar on DRILL funded projects in Scotland

The webinar centred around the experience and need for co-production in research, highlighting that disabled people should no longer be the subject of research, but equal partners in it.

The ‘Match Me’ project explored social housing lettings for disabled people, hearing their experiences as well as working with housing providers to find out about their practices. Their findings showed a shift towards the social model of disability, but things were often still too complex.

Peer researcher Chris Baird described his time working on the project as ‘informative, interesting and rewarding’.

‘The Barriers Faced by Autistic People’ project looked at ways to influence strategies, interventions and provision of services to autistic people.

Coproduction to them was a process; getting it right takes time and sufficient resources. Coproduction must stress quality over quantity.

The ‘Good Self-Directed Support’ project looked to shift the way in which support and social care for disabled people is delivered.

Their team discussed coproduction as a need to combine academic expertise with lived experience, emphasising that there should be ‘nothing about us without us.’ Peer researchers must be involved in the design of services, not just in the later stages when key decisions had already been made.

The ‘Inclusive Toilets’ project looked at the problems finding accessible toilets for disabled people when making journeys. Alongside their report, they also produced a play about their experiences.

Their idea of coproduction was based on inclusion, giving an example of a peer researcher who didn’t think they could take part because there was no childcare available, so an art table was created during workshops to entertain children.

Does it Matter?’ was a research project led by People First Scotland which looked at how people with learning disabilities can be supported to make decisions that are right for them. People First Scotland weren’t able to join the webinar, but the report they produced was really significant. Their research found that supporting people to make their own decisions made them more confident, but there was still a need for a big change in attitudes, especially from government and organisations that make decisions about funding people’s care.

We’re some way from where we want to be. But these projects have shown there are routes to co-production if the will is there. We now need to build on this work to ensure all projects which impact on disabled people have disabled people involved right from the start.

Bill Scott is the senior policy advisor and DRILL lead at Inclusion Scotland

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