Sligo County Council has been one of the first local authorities to formally adopt the social model to lead their work and supports with North West disabled people. ILMI is keen on getting more local authorities to adopt a social model approach and ILMI sees its current delivering of Disability Equality Training with Sligo ‘CoCo’ managers and elected councillors as developing a model for other councils to follow.
ILMI’s social inclusion Coordinator Peter Kearns, who is leading the delivering the DET workshops with ILMI ONSIDE staff, had previously worked with Disability Equality Specialist Support Agency (DESSA) and St. Angela’s College NUIG Disability Equality Unit to capacity build Sligo Councillors to vote on successfully embracing the social model at Xmas 2018.
The Sligo Council has a specific Disability Consultative Committee, which has ILMI as a member since 2020. This social model informed Committee is also an example of a model of participative structures being created that could be copied by local authorities towards fulfilling goals associated with the National Disability Inclusion Strategy (2017-2021). The Disability Inclusion Strategy was introduced to promote greater inclusion for and with disabled people in Irish society across all councils. One of the key objectives of the Sligo Disability Consultative Committee is to give legal effect to the principle that mainstream public services should serve disabled people alongside other citizens, as set out in the 2005 Disability Act.
ILMI’s delivery of Disability Equality Training by our DET expert staff is part of working towards fulfilling Sligo County Council’s Disability Inclusion & Access Strategy 2019 – 2022, which was published in May 2019. This was 5-months after the Council wholeheartedly adopted the social model to proof all aspects of its mainstream work throughout the county. The Sligo Inclusion Strategy sets out how the Authority will provide for the support requirements of disabled people across the wide range of services that it delivers to the NW public on behalf of the state.
ILMI’s membership of Sligo Council’s Disability Consultative Committee, and current spring 2022 delivery of DET, is an important aspect of social model capacity building of elected councillors and management staff. Sligo County Council hopes to roll-out DET workshops for all their local authority staff, based on ILMI’s DET workshop Learning-Outcome approach, in the near future.
The need for DET workshops for staff and elected councillors is in Sligo Council’s Disability Inclusion & Access Strategy 2019 – 2022 Strategy. This Strategy was developed by the Council’s Disability Consultative Committee following an extensive Public Consultation Process with disability equality experts such as DESSA and St. Angela’s College NUIG Disability Equality Unit, where ILMI’s Peter is a permanent-part time lecturer. Going forward it will be the role of this Disability Consultative Committee to oversee the implementation of the Strategy and report to the full Council on progressing social model proofing of Sligo ‘CoCo’ actions.
The Committee, as well as overseeing the implementation of the Disability Inclusion & Access Strategy, will provide a forum for consultation and effective dialogue with DPOs such as ILMI to ensure social model linkage between the policies of the Council and UN CRPD Articles of local effective community and political participation by disabled people.
Alongside ILMI’s Peter Kearns, the Sligo ‘CoCo’ Committee consists of elected council members, Local Authority Staff, student disability groups, representatives from Disability sector, advocacy groups and relevant Agencies. The term of the Committee corresponds to the terms of the elected Council politicians until May 2024.