New Funka report on disability rights in Sweden

In a new report, Funka examines how municipal and regional authorities in southern Sweden approach disability rights issues.

During December and January, Funka interviewed public servants, elected officials and representatives of local disabled persons’ organisations. The aim was to find out what strategies there are for working with disability rights and how well these strategies work. All told, Funka carried out more than forty interviews.

This has really been an exciting assignment, says Emil Gejrot, researcher at Funka. We’ve had loads of interesting conversations that have given us a more complete understanding of how disability issues are addressed today, strategically as well as in practice.

The assignment is a result of Sweden’s new national disability policy, put in place in November 2017. To achieve the goals set out in the new policy, the Swedish government has tasked its County Administrative Boards with providing appropriate support to regions and municipalities. The Administrative Board in Skåne, for its part, commissioned a full audit of the work being carried out in that county.

Funka’s audit has given us a clear picture of what systemic shortcomings there are that we can try to address together with the municipalities, says Emma Melander Borg at the Skåne County Administrative Board. We now also know a lot more about what positive examples there are that can be of use to other public sector bodies.

The full report describes how the work carried out on disability rights issues in the county is marked by strengths as well as shortcomings. Funka also makes recommendations for how the County Administrative Board ought to support the municipalities and the regional authority.

Among other things, we believe that they need to help explain what a rights-based approach entails in practice, says Emil Gejrot. Unfortunately, it is still far too common to see disability treated solely as an issue of medical and social care.

The report has been handed off to the Skåne County Administrative Board, which will now decide how to proceed with its work in support of local and regional disability rights efforts.

The report will serve as the foundation for further action in Skåne, says Emma Melander Borg.

The report, written in Swedish, will be published in March. Funka will also present the results of the audit at a conference in Malmö on 15 April 2019.