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North Yorkshire Disability Forum meeting notes - 19 March 2021

For a printable copy of these minutes, please email 

North Yorkshire Disability Forum – online/telephone meeting - Friday 19 March 2021

Notes of meeting

These notes combine conversations from the meeting and comments from the online chat log.   


Phil Dodson (Chair/SDDF), Nick Moxon (HDDF), Helen Firth (CDF) (for part of meeting), Maggie Donnelly (RDF), Jeremy Dunford (RDF), Andrew Newton (RDF) (for part of the meeting), Bridget Hardy (YCRDF), Ian Lawson (YCRDF), John Slaughter (NAOFF), Shanna Carrell, Polly Oldacres and Claire Canavan (NYCC)

Guests: Lauren Robinson (Darlington Association on Disability), Victoria Binks and Paula Middlebrook (NHS Vale of York CCG), Francesca Floris and Karl Battersby (NYCC), Christopher Porter (NYLDPB), Kim Sanders (KeyRing)



  • Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)
  • Craven Disability Forum (CDF)
  • Darlington Association on Disability (DAD)
  • Harrogate District Disability Forum (HDDF)
  • Northallerton Over Fifties Forum (NAOFF)
  • North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC)
  • North Yorkshire Disability Forum (NYDF)
  • Ripon Disability Forum (RDF)
  • Selby District Disability Forum (SDDF)
  • Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)
  • Yorkshire Coast and Ryedale Disability Forum (YCRDF)


1. Welcome, introduction and apologies

Phil welcomed everyone and everyone introduced themselves. There were apologies from Ian Ludlum-Brown (CDF).


2. Darlington Association on Disability

Lauren Robinson, Chief Officer of Darlington Association on Disability (DAD), joined the meeting to introduce DAD and its work. DAD provide information, support and services to disabled people in Darlington and Tees Valley area, as well undertaking campaigning work. They are a user-led organisation and either their chair or vice-chair must be a disabled person. The majority of their trustees are disabled, as are their staff and volunteers.

Lauren gave some background to DAD’s previous activities, including their Shopmobility work and provision of leisure services to children and young people. Lauren also highlighted campaigning work they had done in relation to Government White Papers, the accessibility of libraries and transport. During the pandemic they have offered a range of support including advocacy for people in care homes, supporting people who receive Direct Payments and supporting people to access vaccinations including family carers and Personal Assistants.

Nick asked if DAD influences local authority decisions. Lauren said that they are a critical friend to the local authority, offering a well-informed and well-balanced local perspective.

Andrew asked if DAD have taken action through the Equality Act. Lauren said that they had previously supported people with individual cases brought under the Equality Act and the Care Act, when funding was available to help people with legal costs. Ian added that organisations themselves cannot take action under the Equality Act but it was positive that DAD supported individuals.

Bridget asked if DAD get money mostly through services they provide. Lauren said that they sought to gain income this way to achieve independence and ensure they have unrestricted funds to use.

Maggie asked how DAD manage to engage with younger disabled people. Lauren said that because of the leisure services they provide, children and young people have grown up with DAD. They also work with Children and Young People’s Services at the local authority and have got involved in the SEND agenda. They also promote and support coproduction, including working with the local authority, and try to attend relevant events.

Polly asked if DAD if there is a specific department or contact at the local authority with whom they liaise. Lauren said that the local authority does not have a dedicated access officer so they need to identify the right people in the organisation. They work with both councillors and staff at the local authority, and ensure that they introduce themselves to the council leader.

Ian and Phil said that they would like Lauren/DAD to come to future meetings to continue the discussion. Phil said that he would like to discuss their transport work further. Lauren said she was happy to do this where possible.

Bridget asked if DAD has councillors on their management committee. Lauren said they do not as there would be a conflict of interest.


3. Notes of the last meeting

The notes of the last meeting were confirmed as accurate and approved.


4. Action Log

  1. Invite Victoria Binks from the Vale of York CCG to March NYDF meeting
    Victoria Binks is attending today’s meeting.
  2. Local forums to contact local Parkinson’s UK groups (contact details in December NYDF minutes)
    This item is ongoing for local forums.
  3. Invite Chief Officer of Darlington Association on Disability to NYDF meeting in 2021
    The Chief Officer of Darlington Association on Disability has attended today’s meeting.
  4. Members from NYDF to attend a future meeting of Accessible Calderdale Disability Access Forum
    Calderdale Disability Access Forum have offered NYDF some dates in April.
  5. Approach a carers’ organisation to represent carers’ views at future meetings.
    Phil has approached Chris Whiley from Carers’ Resource.
  6. Add a clause to the Terms of Reference about the involvement of family carers. Shanna and Bridget have worked together on this and they have shared the latest draft as part of today’s papers. Shanna suggested that they could vote on the new Terms of Reference as part of the AGM in June.
  7. Planning 2021 campaigns: accessible transport; availability of hearing loops. Shanna explained that she wanted to develop the work plan and next steps in conversation with local disability forum chairs so that local forums can feed back what they are doing around these topics. Nick said that with regards to accessible transport HDDF had invited someone from Harrogate Borough Council to their next meeting to talk about accessible taxis. 


Action: Phil to add voting on new terms of reference to the AGM agenda.

Action: Local forums to feed back to Shanna any work they are doing in relation to accessible transport or hearing loops.


5. Local Forum reports

Highlights from Local Forum Reports were shared with members

Craven Disability Forum— the forum had guest speakers at their most recent meeting to talk about the census and about social prescribing. Social prescribers work with people to support them to access non-clinical services and opportunities within their communities that enable them to manage their health and wellbeing. The forum have also developed a new relationship with The Bentham Line Community Rail Partnership.

Craven Disability Forum have invited speakers from North Yorkshire Sport and Bradford District and Craven CCG to future meetings. The forum have postponed their survey until coronavirus restrictions lift further. They noted that they had found the meetings with Richard Webb positive.

Harrogate District Disability Forum – the forum is continuing work on their communications plan. They have started having Chair and Vice-Chairs meetings to keep actions moving forward, and have also begun meeting with Ripon Disability Forum on a quarterly basis. They would like to forge closer relationships with other local disability forums. They had guest speakers from the census and North Yorkshire Police at their February meeting, and are continuing work relating to transport. They have also found the meetings with Richard Webb useful. Shanna noted that they have now set the dates for 3 further meetings with Richard Webb in May, July and November (see item 10).

Ripon Disability Forum – the forum has obtained a grant from Stronger Communities, and is preparing publicity materials to attract new members. They are also continuing to work on Ripon Cycling and Access Strategy. The Forum has raised a question with NYDF about what Disability Proofing takes place on all policy and services delivery across all departments within the Local Authorities. Shanna said that NYCC has a Corporate Equalities Group and suggested that NYDF could invite someone from the Group to a future meeting. People agreed that this was a positive idea. Shanna also highlighted that Francesca Floris was attending today’s meeting as NYCC had just set up a network for disabled staff at the council. Oliver said that he thought it was a good idea to have a network to support disabled members of staff.

Selby District Disability Forum - the forum is continuing with their transport survey. They are also involved in the Selby Station Gateway Transforming Cities Fund project.  The ‘Virtual Friends’ group is going from strength to strength with growing numbers and guest speakers. 

Yorkshire Coast and Ryedale Disability Forum - the forum has been finalising their budget and grant application, and are looking at developing a survey to recruit new members. Bridget said it had been positive to have a local councillor attend their recent meeting.


6. North Yorkshire Wheelchair Forum

Victoria Binks explained that North Yorkshire Wheelchair Forum had been established in its new form in 2019. It brings together wheelchair users, carers, clinicians and members of the VCSE sector, and serves as a forum where updates can be provided about wheelchair services and where people can provide feedback.

The CCG requires assurances from the provider about the quality of the service they provide, and the CCG triangulates this with information that people tell them about the service. Feedback provided by the Wheelchair Forum has highlighted the importance at looking numerical data alongside what people tell them about their experiences. They say that the wheelchair provider now has a schedule of reports that they share with the CCG and that they have developed a survey which the Wheelchair Forum has commented on. The CCG have now asked the wheelchair services provider to give them more information about the complaints they receive, including information about themes, issues and actions they have taken. The CCG are also looking at spending time visiting sites and clinics where services are delivered so that they gain more information this way.

The CCG have worked on trying to ensure that people’s annual reviews are taking place and that people can contact the service when they need them. Members of the forum shared recent experiences of reviews and servicing.

Jeremy said that he was interested in how to ensure that voices of people who are not part of the Wheelchair Forum are heard, for example, how to reach people who are told they are not eligible for a chair. Paula highlighted a piece of work which NRS are undertaking in developing a new engagement strategy, as part of which they will look at how they seek wider feedback, beyond the Wheelchair Forum. 


7. Corporate Director, Business & Environmental Services

Karl Battersby introduced himself as the new Corporate Director of Business and Environmental Services. The Directorate’s remit includes Highways, Transport, Waste Disposal, Trading Standards, Public Rights of Way and Home to School Transport. Karl and his team also support District Councils for example with town centre regeneration work. Karl is a member of the senior management team at NYCC and is happy to champion NYDF’s issues to the wider management board. Prior to his appointment at NYCC, Karl worked for Kirklees Council and was involved in a number of accessibility issues.

Helen highlighted that Craven Disability Forum had had some positive conversations with the Bentham Line Community Rail Partnership Officer who had told them about the Northern Rail Accessibility Fund.

Karl will attend future meetings of NYDF as and when it is relevant. 


8. Disability Awareness Sessions

Shanna explained that they are looking to develop some disability awareness refresher sessions for the NYCC Customer Service Centre. She asked if any members of the forum were interested in being involved in designing and delivering the sessions. The plan is for the sessions to be relatively informal, along the lines of structured chat. They will last around 45 minutes and take place online. Shanna will follow this item up by email after the meeting.

Action: Shanna to contact members regarding disability awareness sessions.


9. Any Other Business

Shanna shared information about the Changing Places Funding which has recently been announced. The funding is for installing Changing Places in existing buildings and is available to district and unitary councils—county councils cannot bid into it. There may also be some requirement for match funding. It was agreed that NYDF should write to district and borough councils to highlight how important Changing Places are.  Local disability forums may also want to contact their local district and borough council representatives, or local councillor.

Details about the funding are available here

Bridget noted that she has shared a survey about Changing Places on the Facebook page and asked people to complete it.

Action: Shanna to liaise with Phil on letter from NYDF to district councils about Changing Places.


10. Dates of Next Meetings

The next meeting of NYDF in June will include the AGM.

NYDF meetings for 2021/22

All meetings 11am – 1.30pm

Friday 18th June 2021

Friday 17th September 2021

Friday 10th December 2021

Friday 18th March 2022


Dates for Q&As with Richard Webb:

All meetings 2pm – 3.30pm

Thursday 6th May 2021

Thursday 15th July 2021

Thursday 4th November 2021