The United Kingdom’s Disability Inclusiveness Highlights

The previous Department for International Development (DfID) had, in recent years, become a clear leader in its strategic ambition and operational incentives for disability inclusion. However, our research shows more emphasis was needed by DfID on the fundamental role of organisations of persons with disabilities (DPOs) in tackling the root causes of inequality.

It is too early to know in detail how the UK’s approach to disability inclusion in Official Development Assistance (ODA) will be affected by the recent merger between DfID and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Current Strengths

  • Staffing within DfID included a central disability team; individual disability experts working on other teams; social development advisers who worked part-time on disability; and a network of disability champions in each business unit.
  • DfID was one of the Co-Chairs of the GLAD Network. FCDO has continued in this role but it has now stepped down as of February 2021 (Norway is the new co-chair).
  • Disability was integrated into the competency framework used to appraise social development advisors.
  • DfID had a Strategy for Disability Inclusive Development (2018-2023).

Areas to Improve

  • UK acts governing humanitarian action and development coordination do not include disability.
  • Disability was not integrated into DfID’s core programme management document – its Smart Rules – which only contained one broad reference to disability in 99 pages.
  • The standard terms and conditions of contract and the supply partner code of conduct only contained very brief and general references to disability in the context of non-discrimination; nothing specific on procurement of accessibile goods and services.

Advocacy Questions

  • UK ODA spending is undergoing major changes, including the merger of DfID into the FCDO. How will FCDO ensure these changes do not dilute the focus on disability inclusion in UK ODA?
  • Building on the first steps it has already taken, how does FCDO plan to ensure the expertise of DOis is prominent throughout its work?
  • How will development cooperation and humanitarian action be integrated into the new National Strategy for Disabled People?

More Information – UK Factsheet [12 KB doc]