First indicator for disability services

A performance indicator for services for disabled children is set to be included in the formal assessment process for the first time, the junior children’s minister has revealed.

Parmjit Dhanda told the House of Commons the indicator would be introduced as a part of the comprehensive spending review.

Of 20 children’s indicators in the 2005-6 performance assessment framework for councils, none specifically concerned disabled children, while 14 related directly to looked-after children.

Steve Broach, manager of the Every Disabled Child Matters campaign, which is being run by charities including the Council for Disabled Children, said it expected the indicator to measure how well families with disabled children were supported and their access to universal services.

Dhanda also reiterated the government’s pledge to bring forward new policy proposals on short breaks as a part of the spending review.

He made the comments during a debate on the Disabled Children (Family Support) Bill, a private member’s bill backed by the campaign, which failed to get its second reading.

The bill would have placed a duty on local authorities and health ­bodies to provide short breaks to families with disabled children, but the government refused to support it on cost grounds.


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