What is a Disabled People’s Organisation?
DPOs are organisations run and controlled by Deaf and disabled people, and are committed to human rights, inclusion and removing the barriers faced by Deaf and disabled people in society. Transport for All is a DPO, and the slogan ‘Nothing about us without us’ is central to our work around transport.
London’s DPOs are small voluntary organisations and most employ between 1 and 20 staff, mainly part-time. They are a voice for the concerns of London’s 1 million Deaf and disabled people.
However, many DPOs face particular challenges relating to employment and human resource (HR) issues. This reflects the long-term impact of exclusion and discrimination faced by disabled people, such as high levels of poverty, poorer employment, educational and health outcomes than non-disabled people and higher levels of isolation and social exclusion. For example, few DPOs management committee members are in employment, and many DPO staff have not previously been in paid work. DPOs work to tackle this exclusion at the same time as dealing with its consequences, such as the impact of disability on individual disabled staff and the lack of support from mainstream voluntary sector support organisations.
Transport for All recently participated in the Building Our Futures project. Building Our Futures, an action research project undertaken over a two-year period and managed by representatives of DPOs and HR experts, found a range of employment and HR issues undermining DPOs ability to survive and thrive and meet the needs of their disabled staff.
Further information about the findings and the full report of Building Our Futures can be download here: