The government’s Office for Disability Issues is apparently failing to take any action to address “worrying” concerns about disabled people’s organisations (DPOs) that are being forced to close because of funding problems.
Earlier this month, two prominent user-led organisations spoke out about the “urgent” need for research into the falling number of DPOs across the country.
Shaping Our Lives said it was seeking funding, and partners, for a major piece of research to uncover the scale of the problem, with its own figures suggesting that more than 60 user-led groups that were members of its network had been forced to close since 2014.
And Inclusion London, which supports Deaf and disabled people’s organisations across the capital, also raised concerns and said there were now a number of London boroughs without their own DPO.
But when asked if the Office for Disability Issues (ODI) was aware of and concerned about the problem, and if it was taking any action, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said it was concerned about closures but failed to suggest any measures it was taking to address the concerns.
A DWP spokeswoman said: “The ODI is aware that DPULOs [disabled people’s user-led organisations] close on a fairly frequent basis, and are obviously concerned by this.
“The government takes the opportunity to work with them and support their work wherever possible.”
But when asked again whether it was taking any action to address the concerns about closures, another DWP spokeswoman said the department had “nothing to add”.