Today (9 July) the Government is launching the Access to Elected Office Fund to provide practical support for disabled people who want to become an elected representative.
The Fund has been made available to help meet the additional support needs that a disabled person has that are associated with their disability. If this support were not provided, a disabled person may face an additional barrier in the selection and campaign processes compared to a non-disabled person.
The Access to Elected Office Fund offers individual grants of between £250 and £10,000 to disabled people who want to be considered for selection as candidates for an election, or are standing for election.
The Fund will be open for applications until the end of March 2014. It will help disabled candidates meet the additional costs they may face compared to a non-disabled person whether these are related to transport, communication, technology or support.
The Fund only covers the additional costs that a disabled person might face. It does not cover costs that all candidates for elected office have to pay whether or not they are disabled, for example the costs of producing leaflets for campaigning. It can only be used for costs associated with standing for elected office, not general living costs.
Convey is the independent administrator of the Access to Elected Office Fund.
The Fund is part of a wider strategy put in place by the Government; the Access to Elected Office strategy has been developed following last year’s consultation which sought proposals on a range of measures designed to help disabled people to overcome the extra disability-related barriers they face in trying to get elected.
The Strategy will provide support for disabled people who want to stand either for political parties or as independent candidates for the following elections and by-elections: UK Westminster elections, English local authority elections, English Mayoral elections and elections for Police and Crime Commissioners.
For more information about the Strategy, please visit www.homeoffice.gov.uk/equalities/equality-public-political including links to the public consultation and the Government response to the consultation which was published in September 2011. You can contact the team at [email protected]