Manual for local consultative assemblies of persons with disabilities in Norway
Funka has received funding to develop a web-based manual to take advantage of local expertise in municipal planning and accessibility. Local consultative assemblies are required in the Nordic countries, to ensure involving users in planning and development.
Only when end users get the opportunity to make demands and experts get more practical knowledge, we can talk about power-sharing between experts and those individuals who are affected, says Funka CEO Susanna Laurin. For us this is a question of democracy.
Members of disability organizations are obviously experts on their own needs, but to be an expert on accessibility from the user's perspective is not always the same thing as being able to set detailed requirements for all user groups, leading discussions with procurers or understand how rules and laws should be interpreted in everyday life a county or municipality.
Especially in smaller towns can the user organizations have trouble finding enough local representatives who are able to read up on the pretty extensive regulations that you need to know to develop recommendations on accessibility. It is simply hard to be an expert at everything - at the same time.
Municipalities and regions have similar problems. Officials who are experts in planning have, of course, the basic knowledge of the legislation for accessibility. But they often lack the experience and detailed knowledge of the solutions required to comply not only with the law but to really make things work for people with varying abilities.
We want to change this
To increase the local knowledge of accessibility on a broader base, we will develop a web-based manual for the two target groups: local government officials involved in planning in general and the officials and lay people who are represented in the consultative assemblies.
Our hope is that members of user organizations, by learning more about the rules, standards and requirements, will be able to give better advice, initiate and participate more actively in the debates and thus contribute to an increased focus on the accessibility of municipal planning. At the same time, we believe that local government officials who learn more about accessibility on a purely human level, in addition to rules and legislation, will create new ideas and more sustainable solutions. Together, the two groups should be able to act in a constructive manner in order to increase the level of accessibility in the community.
A number of years ago, we conducted a series of trainings for members in the Disability Federation in southern Sweden. That project focused on ICT accessibility and included a series of physical training sessions.
Funded by: Norwegian Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation
Budget: 100 000 NOK