West Norfolk Disability Forum disbanded

West Norfolk Disability Information Service (WNDIS)
West Norfolk Disability Information Service (WNDIS)

Council chiefs have agreed to disband West Norfolk Disability Forum, after receiving concerns over its format.

Officials say West Norfolk Disability Forum was no longer productive and had moved away from its aims and objectives as set out in its constitution.

A report from the Environment and Community Panel, which was discussed at cabinet on Wednesday, recommended disbanding the forum to introduce alternative operation options.

Lead officer, Sam Winter, said: “West Norfolk Council Disability Forum has been in existence for a number of years. It was commented it should, potentially, be reviewed as it was no longer meeting its aims of its constitution.”

The environment and community panel proposed disbanding the forum after setting up an ‘Informal Working Group’ who raised concerns that “the forum lacked attendance at meetings and had become a ‘talk shop’, which was no longer meeting its aims and objectives.

West Norfolk Council officials considered 10 recommendations put forward by the panel at their meeting, including appointing a disabilities and equalities champion.

Council leader Brian Long said: “A champion for disability needs to focus on the disabled, and, actually, equality is a whole different ball game.

“We could have a separate champion for equalities, but it would be too much to knock them both together. If we did, it could mean having a disability issue on one hand which is impacting on somebody else’s equality. That may well cause conflict within the post.”

Coordinator of West Norfolk Disability Information Service (WNDIS), Jonathan Toye, yesterday said: “The forum was a very good way for people to meet and discuss matters.

“I believe a disability champion is a very good idea. This will give people the link to information and help. It’s concerning when something is taken away and nothing is put in its place, but the disability champion sounds as if they will act as an access officer, which is a good move on the council’s part.”