|Background of SCIL|
Joint Consultative Committee (JCC)
JCC was a committee enabling representatives from different services to work together to improve service provision in Sheffield. In 1996 funding was allocated by JCC for a 3-year period to give people who use services a voice in the way that those services were designed and developed. Service users involved in this project decided that this was to be through establishing an organisation called the Service User Network (SUN), loosely based on an organisation of disabled people in Warwickshire. During its first year SUN ran into difficulties and was closed by JCC, who then commissioned a review that would investigate the reasons for its closure, suggest other possibilities for involving service users and reallocate the remaining funding.
Disability Consultative Committee
In 1996 Sheffield City Council was advised about matters relating to disability and access by the Disability Consultative Committee (DCC). This was a non-political Council committee and therefore chaired by an elected member from the ruling party with members from other political parties. The committee was not impairment specific and was intended to reflect the views of a wide spectrum of disabled people. The vice chair was a disabled person and the other members included people with a variety of impairments. It was developed and administered by the Disability Officer working in the Council Equalities Unit.
A Subgroup Starts Work …
When the review commissioned by the JCC was underway some disabled members of the DCC were interviewed as part of the process. Details of how the review was carried out worried the DCC and a sub-group was formed to consider the issue and report back. The JCC took no notice of the concerns expressed by the DCC and the review was completed and published with recommendations as to how the remaining funding could be used. The subgroup continued to meet to consider its own alternative possibilities for using the available funding to make sure that the views of disabled people were taken into consideration in the way that services were provided.
Stumbling First Steps – Funding and Independence …
The first meetings of the subgroup were held in the Town Hall, but the group decided to meet outside Council premises to indicate their independence, reduce costs and avoid poor access. The group was made up of six disabled people – none of whom had been involved in setting up SUN. It was administered by the Disability Officer from the Equalities Unit and co-ordinated by a disabled person. Small scale funding was available to pay disabled member’s traveling expenses but no other funding was available. The co-ordinator was interviewed by the JCC review and suggested that funding could be used to set up a Centre for Independent Living (CIL). A bid was made to JCC, but unfortunately it was not successful. The group then made a bit for funding from the lottery as there was an opportunity to bid for projects that linked to research institutions to carry out health and social care research. As the group had no independent identity the bid was made through Voluntary Action Sheffield and the Health, Housing and Social Care manager from VAS joined the group. Unfortunately the bid was also unsuccessful.
The Pace Builds up – The Centre for Inclusive Living Group …
The group continued to meet and become known as the Centre for Inclusive Living (CIL) group. The aim of the meetings was to achieve funding to set up a Centre for Inclusive Living in Sheffield. The group recognized that funding a cross impairment organisation of disabled people would always be a problem so they decided that Sheffield CIL should offer some alternative services eg a direct payment support service, an information service and some activities that were income generating and would directly benefit disabled people in Sheffield.
Launching Inclusive Living Sheffield
ILS became a company and was launched in February 2003. The original base for ILS was with the Forum of Disabled People (FDP) in their office at The Wicker. At this time the Board appointed Administration Officers and ILS became completely independent.
Firmer Foundations – New Initiatives …
From 2001 to 2006 ILS built a network of contacts with organisations of disabled people and service providers. In 2006 ILS became a registered charity to ensure maximum opportunities for funding. In 2004 ILS collaborated with the health service and social services to establish Partners for Inclusion (PFI). At this time the Department of Health was developing a National Service Framework for People with Long-Term Neurological Conditions. In Sheffield, uniquely, it was decided that this would be a development led and administered by disabled people, with physical, sensory or cognitive impairments, working in partnership with the Health Service and City Council. PFI was administered by ILS. PFI organised a number of events and commissioned some time-limited studies. It was beginning to emerge as the recognized voice for disabled people in Sheffield. However, its existence tended to encourage the belief that ILS was limited to being an organisation of people with physical or sensory impairment.
In 2006 the unique nature of the partnership was recognized nationally when PFI received a Community Care Award. In 2003 the Direct Payment Support Service was based in VAS and funded by Sheffield City Council. Irreconcilable differences between the City Council and the Support Service led to a full-scale review of the service conducted by DCIL. ILS worked with disabled people who used direct payments, in managing the closure of the original Support Service and in developing a tender to be the new provider. Unfortunately the tender was unsuccessful and ILS withdrew from any further work with direct payments. Attempts were still made to find funding to start more services. This included the development of the Sheffield Youth Mentoring and Personal Support Scheme (Sympsons). After much work, in 2006 a lottery bid for funding to develop this initiative was successful, ensuring its existence until June 2010.
Completing the Circle – A New Beginning …
In 2006 the first Chair of ILS stood down due to ill health and the organisation moved to a new office space at The Circle. The Government published the “Improving Life Chances for Disabled People” report and indicated its support the development of Centres for Independent Living in all local authorities. The ILS Board of Trustees decided to change the name of ILS to Sheffield Centre for Independent Living to re-inforce our status as the Sheffield CIL. In 2008 funding was secured to develop an independent information service and an advocacy service focusing on accessing NHS funded services. These new initiatives were identified by disabled people at the 2006 Sheffield Wednesday Partners for Inclusion event as being their priority.