West Norfolk Council discuss effectiveness of disability forum

GV of  the Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk, King's Court Hq, Chapel Street King's Lynn
GV of the Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk, King's Court Hq, Chapel Street King's Lynn

Council chiefs are looking at alternative ways to operate the West Norfolk Disability Forum after hearing concerns over its current format.

On Wednesday, September 6, West Norfolk Council officials will meet to discuss disbanding the disability forum and to consider various recommendations for its future.

This comes after the environment and community panel received a report on the work of the West Norfolk Disability Form, which raised concerns about its effectiveness.

The panel set up an informal working group to look at future operations of the forum, who concluded it “was not produced in its current format, the size of the forum, the lack of attendance at meetings, managing expectations of external attendees and that the forum has become a ‘talking shop’ and no longer delivered its objectives, as set out in its constitution”.

At cabinet, council officials will also consider appointing a disabilities equalities champion, creating a page on their website to promote the disabilities and equalities champion, extending access to the disability awareness e-learning package, as well as creating an e-form that will enable members of the public to report issues direct to the champion.

The cabinet report states: “The environment and community panel recommend to cabinet that the West Norfolk Disability Forum be disbanded.

“The panel recommend alternative ways of working so that members of the public continue to have a route to report any issues within the borough council’s control.

“The environment and community panel agreed with the findings of the informal working group that a lot of the information available at forum meetings was now available in other formats.

“And members of the public could input into issues by other means, such as public consultation exercises, information in the media and online.”

The panel also said queries and issues from members of the public could be addressed quicker through a disabilities equalities champion, rather than waiting for a meeting of the West Norfolk Disability Forum to raise their concerns.

The cabinet report continues: “The disabilities equalities champion could hold public forums as and when necessary so that members of the public could raise issues and concerns.

“The champion can then report on their work annually at meetings of the environment and community panel.”