DFID’s work on disability–inclusive development Contents

Conclusions and Recommendations

The Global Disability Summit (GDS 18)

1.The committee commends the work of DFID on the Global Disability Summit, and its global leadership to push for disability-inclusive development. Given the recent changes in DFID’s leadership, DFID should ensure it keeps up the momentum on delivering their own summit commitments and continues taking the lead in urging other donors and actors to deliver on theirs. More specifically, DFID should develop a robust accountability mechanism that enables all actors to be held to account for making progress towards meeting their commitments. (Paragraph 43)

2.The accountability mechanism for GDS18 commitments should be hosted by an independent agency and resourced in such a way as to prevent risks of conflict of interest that may be associated with receipt of programme funding from donors, DFID being no exception. This should be developed in partnership with disabled people and their representative organisations, who should also continue to play a leading role in the process of following up on Summit commitments and informing DFID’s future decisions on disability inclusion. (Paragraph 44)

3.A schedule of regular reports on progress against commitments should be set. We recommend that governments and actors update their progress on the online portal on a six-monthly basis. DFID country offices could play a role in encouraging national governments to submit progress updates by the set timeline. It is important to capture lessons from the data collected to inform future planning and funding decisions. DFID should develop a specific plan on how to do so. (Paragraph 45)

DFID’s Strategy for Disability Inclusive Development 2018–2023–general themes

4.We look forward to receiving more detail about the planned changes to the delivery plan for DFID’s Disability Inclusion Strategy—in advance of these being finalised—as part of the Government’s reply to this Report. (Paragraph 49)

5.In reply to this Report, we expect DFID to provide us with an interim report on progress by all its business units and country offices towards the target of meeting the minimum standards on disability inclusion by the end of this year, 2019. In addition, we request an equivalent update on the eight country offices invited to work towards the high achievement standards. (Paragraph 53)

6.Adopting a twin track approach of funding disability-specific projects and mainstreaming disability across DFID’s work is the right approach to take. However, DFID should ensure that it scales up its spending on disability-specific projects over time, as well as provide support for effective and imaginative mainstreaming with specific funding. DFID should also ensure that disability is a key consideration in broader strategic and budgetary decisions, such as the long-awaited Comprehensive Spending Review, as well as internal allocations to DFID’s programmes. It could be helpful to set an overall target for increasing disability-focused programming and spending over the next five years. DFID should also ensure that the initial commitment to disability inclusion in business cases is followed on in projects’ log frames and other planning and reporting documents. (Paragraph 83)

7.Mainstreaming disability requires a systematic sharing of information and coordination at all stages between country programmes, business units, country offices, and suppliers. DFID should ensure specialist experts are appointed to different areas of the Strategy, and that staff across DFID receive specific technical training on using relevant tools like the extended set of the Washington Group Questions. DFID should also increase the numbers of people with disabilities amongst its cadres at all levels, and make sure disabled people are consulted more widely on disability inclusion planning and delivery. DFID should also consider building disability inclusion into the competencies of its advisers, along the same lines of gender mainstreaming. Country offices should develop their own contextual theories of change and action plans that guide their delivery of disability-inclusive development depending on each country’s situation, and enable direct assessment and adaptation. To lead by example, DFID should make all its offices—in the UK and its operating countries—physically accessible to people with disabilities. (Paragraph 84)

8.DFID committed to republish its delivery plan to make it more specific and measurable by the end of 2019. As we recommend above, we request a consultative update on progress with this revision in the Government’s reply to this Report. The re-published delivery plan should include a clear allocation of resources attached to deliverables, and a clear evaluation mechanism with a clear timeline. DFID should also update its Strategy to include neglected issues like the link between universal health coverage and the needs of disabled people, and the linkages between ageing populations and disabilities related to old age. We also urge DFID to publish its global health position paper as soon as possible, and address these issues within it. (Paragraph 85)

DFID’s Strategy—the four pillars

9.DFID should ensure it is addressing the specific needs of children at each stage of education, taking into account the obvious, as well as the less obvious (intersecting and contextual), barriers to access to education. The hidden costs of disability, relevant to access to education, need to be exposed and budgeted for in DFID’s projects and programmes. (Paragraph 97)

10.It is also important that the implementation of DFID’s projects create norms that will put pressure on national governments to budget for disability inclusion costs in their own planning. DFID should develop specific guidelines and technical guidance notes to implementers across all its education projects, to ensure its initiatives are implemented effectively, incurring no harm to disabled children. DFID’s support to national governments, for the delivery of disability-inclusive education policies, should be targeted and specific and take into account that each country starts from a different base and operates different systems. Technical support must focus on capacity within government to budget for inclusion rather than the building of special schools that will prolong segregation. Collection of data and understanding the interlinked factors causing barriers to access to education in each of these countries is therefore crucial. Data collection should specifically focus on ways to identify out of school children who are vulnerable to compounded marginalisation. (Paragraph 98)

11.DFID should consult on the case for special schools vs integration within the main education system, and the use of ‘Equity Based Stepping Stone Targets methodology’ and promote effective adapted tools for each country DFID operates in. Specific actions for involving families in achieving DFID’s inclusive education initiatives should be identified and published in the new delivery plan. (Paragraph 99)

12.DFID should gather more evidence on the implementation of its social protection programmes. DFID should particularly consider whether the focus of social protection programmes on poverty reduction, may obscure the interlinkages between social protection and access to services, like education and employment. DFID should leverage existing research to understand the different components of the social protection system, to assess how the additional costs of disability can be met, and to ensure projects are not inadvertently causing discrimination in other areas of inclusive-development like access to employment. (Paragraph 107)

13.DFID should work to strengthen the appetite and capacity of national governments, and other stakeholders, to engage with DPOs to consult on barriers and opportunities for persons with disabilities relating to their active and full participation in economic and social life. DFID should work with governments and stakeholders, including DPOs, to fund and support the inclusion of people with disabilities in existing social protection schemes—or develop appropriate new schemes—including to facilitate the provision and training on use of enabling devices and technologies. In their work with national governments, DFID should:

i)support the establishment of robust and accessible systems for delivering social protection to PWDs that minimise risks of corruption.

ii)secure guarantees of [commitments to] the rights of PWDs to equal and fair access to justice. We would like to see specific deliverables relating to the support of families of PWDs who provide unpaid care, and face stigma and discrimination.

iii)DFID should work with international actors to de-stigmatise speaking up against injustices such as abuse and discrimination of disabled people, and to make reporting such instances easier, particularly for those living in the hardest to reach settings. Those speaking up against injustices must also be protected from further discrimination. (Paragraph 108)

14.DFID should ensure that disability inclusion is mainstreamed throughout its economic development programming and is taken into consideration in investment decisions specifically through the CDC. DFID should ensure that its support of any expansion of the formal employment sector be on an inclusive basis. We recommend that DFID considers the effect any decision making on investment may have on the livelihoods of people with disabilities. DFID should ensure diversity at all levels amongst their staff and through their supply chain. DFID should also address the skills gaps to enable disabled people to access the job market, consider options for those who cannot access the formal job market, factor in support for unpaid family carers, and address the hidden costs of disability that may hamper progress on economic development. DFID should incentivise the private sector to be a lead partner in delivering the economic empowerment target, through offering more opportunities to people with disabilities. This should be seen as both part of corporate social responsibility and as a business case. DFID should also consider how to work with financial and credit institutions to encourage enterprise development for disabled people. (Paragraph 117)

15.The committee welcomes the forthcoming good practice guidance note developed in cooperation with the CDC and the World Bank IFC. We recommend that DFID gradually makes the application of this note compulsory to DFID suppliers, to ensure sudden imposition does not cause smaller contractors to struggle. DFID should commit to building the capacity of DPOs, National Human Rights Institutions, and other actors to support the elimination of disability discrimination in employment. (Paragraph 118)

16.DFID should follow the advice of the 2015–30 Sendai Framework to work with PWDs and grassroot DPOs to assess disaster risk, design and implement plans at all stages of disaster risk planning and management. DFID should develop in-house expertise at CHASE on inclusive emergency and humanitarian response and improve its preparedness for disability-inclusive response. DFID should ensure the interlinkages between all its programmes on disability inclusion are better articulated across the department. DFID should also work closely with other donors to promote inclusive humanitarian action. (Paragraph 128)

DFID’s Strategy—cross–cutting themes

17.DFID should work with national governments on addressing stigma and discrimination across all policy areas, legislation, and in the justice system. Country offices should work closely with national governments and media outlets to tackle deep-rooted stigma in society. Disabled people and DPOs should be involved in working with DFID programmes on changing the image of people with disabilities as victims in need of help, to one of active agents in society. DFID should also consult widely on how to address alleviating discrimination against people who do not identify as disabled out of fear of stigma, like people with leprosy-related disabilities. (Paragraph 137)

18.We welcome DFID’s focus on women and girls with disabilities, and the fact that there are specific policy markers and spending codes in this area. DFID should pay more attention in their programming on accessibility of information on women’s rights and available support in cases of discrimination. DFID should ensure its adoption of a life-cycle approach is comprehensive and includes older women. DFID should also differentiate between the specific needs and forms of discrimination against adolescent girls. DFID should ensure it specifically works with DPOs led by women on this area, to inform their planning across programmes. DFID needs to ensure their activities focusing on women and girls are clear when republishing the delivery plan at the end of 2019 and use their leadership to encourage other national governments to take specific actions to eliminate intersecting discrimination against women and girls. DFID should ensure its programmes on sexual and reproductive health should pay specific attention to how these issues affect disabled people. (Paragraph 145)

19.We welcome DFID’s recognition of the need to identify clearly the risks to delivery of its strategic aims of failure to secure sufficient levels of assistive technology. DFID should use its leadership role to encourage bigger commitments from national governments, international organisations, and the private sector to the provision of assistive technology. (Paragraph 153)

20.DFID should work closely with national governments on training and building capacity to provide specialist public services for people with disabilities, including accessible buildings and information, and trained staff. DFID should also ensure accessibility of information is considered across all its programmes to enable greater access to the services provided by DFID projects. (Paragraph 154)

21.DFID should also have measures in place ensure that the ‘Do No Harm’ principle is not breached by (a) the lack of suitable assistive devices provided via its projects; and (b) the provision of unsuitable devices. (Paragraph 155)

22.The committee welcomes DFID’s commitment to publishing a position paper on mental health across DFID’s programmes by the end of 2019. The mental health position paper should explain how DFID intends to fill data gaps in this area. DFID should also develop a specific policy marker and spending codes for work on including people with mental health and psychosocial disabilities. DFID should work closely with national governments to give high priority to mental health, and on protecting the rights of people with mental health and psychosocial disabilities in areas like employment, health, and the legal system. DPOs have an important role to play in this area. DFID must ensure that support is available to families of people with Mental health and psychosocial disabilities. DFID should also recognise the specific needs of people with intellectual disabilities, and target them accordingly in their programming. In their work on climate change, DFID should include considerations on the link between environmental stressors and mental health. (Paragraph 164)


23.DFID should invest in staff with its safeguarding unit, who have the capacity, knowledge and expertise to promote the safeguarding, well-being and welfare of people with disabilities particularly children, girls and women (and their families). DFID should ensure it provides adequate resourcing and commitment to monitor and follow-up on cases and referrals, arising from DFID programming. Given recent sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) cases in the aid sector, DFID should consider its specific impact on people with disabilities and work closely with international development actors to put in place sector-wide mechanisms to safeguard people with disabilities, particularly those made vulnerable by especially fragile, conflicted or disempowering environments. DFID should work closely with national governments to strengthen safe access of disabled people to public services, including the justice system. (Paragraph 177)

Cross-departmental ODA spending

24.DFID should develop a systematic way of informing and evaluating disability inclusion in projects overseen by other ODA-spending departments, to ensure the UK is meeting its commitment under the CRPD. All ODA-spending departments should use the OECD DAC disability policy marker to measure and monitor progress towards inclusion. ODA spent outside DFID must be to the same standards for disability inclusion as applied to DFID’s projects and programmes. In particular, ODA spent outside DFID should be designed to strictly avoid creating or exacerbating barriers and segregation of persons with disabilities. DFID as the department responsible for reporting on all ODA-spending should develop a mechanism to ensure all ODA-spending is compliant with the DAC disability policy marker. (Paragraph 183)

Published: 30 July 2019