Advocacy / Representation
The Forum provides peer advocacy services to ensure clients are represented by disabled people with similar experiences to that of the client with relevant expertise. The Forum members, its advocates and representatives do not provide counsellingservices or legal services. Anyone identified or deemed as needing such services should be referred to the appropriate public authority or relevant third party.
Representation of the Forum within Local, Regional or National Fora or Independent Third Party Organisations
Anyone appointed by the Forum to represent our interests on external bodies must comply fully with the objects and purpose of the Forum as set out in its mission statement and objectives.
Policy Positions on Subject Specific Matters
All policy positions are voted on and agreed by Committee. Members of the Forum are required to seek advice from the Committee when representing the North West Forum on any local, regional, national Fora or any independent external third party organisation.
It is important that individuals acting on behalf of the Forum present the agreed position of the Forum at all times and communicate the appropriate evidence to support that positon.
For example, the Forum’s position on education follows closely the articles and recommendations set forth by the Committee on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities including the general comment issued by the Committee on education which highlights how Article 24 the right to education should be interpreted and implemented by state parties (countries) who have ratified the Convention. Broadly in our view education should be mainstreamed and inclusive and support disabled students being taught alongside their non-disabled peers.
However, the Forum recognises that the full implementation of Article 24 is a progressive process and that mainstream education does not deliver appropriate provision for disabled students, including children and young people. We maintain that all students are entitled to choice, determined by their educational requirements which may require segregated educational opportunities that best meet those requirements.
It is important when representing the Forum that the personal experience of members is incorporated into any policy formulation or representation, however such experiences should not be allowed to override the collective interests of disabled people. Personal experiences should be used only if it is consistent with the objects and purposes of the Forum’s mission statement and objectives and is consistent with the collective policy position adopted by the Committee.