On 17 October 1991, the five pioneers Tone Norli, Vibeke Marøy Melstrøm, Leif Sylling, Knut Flaaum and Bente Skansgård and 12 other disabled people establish Uloba (Uavhengig Liv Oslo – Begrenset Ansvar). They share a dream of controlling their own assistance and their own lives. The organisation’s Articles of Association state that Uloba is part of the international Independent Living movement, and that its objective is to obtain citizen-controlled personal assistance (PA) for its members.
The pioneers start holding courses and provide guidance to future/prospective work leaders. We enter into our first contract. Uloba becomes the employer of the assistants working for work leader Inger Jorun Christensen at Stovner in Oslo.
Uloba joins the European Network for Independent Living (ENIL). In the following years, several ‘Ulobists’ serve on ENIL’s board. We cooperate most closely with the cooperative societies Stockholm Independent Living (STIL) and Gøteborg Independent Living (GIL).
On assignment for the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs, we write the first PA manual for work leaders. In cooperation with the Resource Centre for Municipal Restructuring (RO), we hold courses for work leaders, their assistants and municipal employees across Norway. We continue to do so over the following years.
We hold a one-day seminar on PA in Oslo with 184 participants. Minister of Health and Social Affairs Hill-Marta Solberg (Labour party) is one of the speakers. We publish journals and brochures targeting disabled people and assistants.
Uloba enters into dialogue with Eastern Norway Research Institute (Østlandsforskning) and other research institutions on projects concerning the PA scheme and the living conditions for disabled people in general.
Uloba has meetings with the Jagland government and members of the Storting. We demand that the PA scheme be strengthened by being incorporated into legislation. A handful of administrative staff start working at Uloba’s new office in Tollbugata in Drammen.
Uloba participates in a demonstration outside the Storting, where we demand that PA be incorporated into legislation. A period of growth starts.
We employ our first regional PA advisor (in Western Norway). We organise a national experience seminar on PA in Oslo with more than 100 participants. A delegation from Uloba participates in the Independent Living movement’s first international conference in the US.
Uloba wins an important political victory. PA is incorporated into the Social Services Act. The Ministry of Health and Social Affairs follows this up with Circular I-20/2000, where the municipalities are instructed to provide PA to their residents (external link). (PA has now been incorporated into the Health and Care Services Act). More than 1,000 personal assistants work for the 151 work leaders who use Uloba’s PA scheme.
Uloba celebrates its tenth anniversary. We now have PA advisors living and working in all the regions of Norway. Uloba moves to new and bigger premises in Drammen that are customised for our needs.
We prepare new course and information materials, which are also available to the visually impaired and blind.
Eastern Norway Research Institute publishes a report concluding that work leaders deem Uloba to be the best facilitator, which provides the best training, guidance and follow-up. Uloba now has more than 300 members.
We conclude the Folk er folk (‘People are people’) project on PA for disabled people who cannot act as work leaders for their assistants. The project becomes the permanent PA scheme with acting work leaders. Over the following years, Uloba employs more PA consultants who are themselves acting work leaders for the assistants of someone close to them. Uloba’s development work and efforts lead to an increasing number of members under the age of 18 and adult members with cognitive impairments.
The Norwegian Supreme Court’s Østensjø judgment concludes that work leaders are free to distribute the hours of assistance as they wish throughout the calendar year. Uloba buries the concept of ‘user’ and becomes a cooperative society for citizen-controlled personal assistance.
The Ministry of Health and Care Services distributes circular I-20/2005 to the municipalities. It strengthens the possibility for children and adults who cannot themselves act as work leaders to be granted PA. Uloba’s political efforts ensure that the majority of the members of the Storting take a positive attitude to making PA a right.
Uloba celebrates its fifteenth anniversary. The organisation continues to grow.
The red-green coalition government distributes its first proposal on individuals’ right to PA for consultation. In our consultation submission, we point out that the proposal must be improved if making PA a right is to be in line with the intentions of the PA scheme. The first proposal on the right to PA is not adopted by the Storting.
The annual Pride Parade in Oslo is held for the first time. Uloba now has 826 members, just under 5,000 assistants on its payroll and agreements to facilitate PA in 154 municipalities and city districts.
Uloba member Inge Husmo sues the Norwegian state after Randaberg municipality refuses to grant him PA hours to fulfil his role as father. The Ministry reverses the decision before the case comes to court, and concludes that parents in need of assistance shall be granted PA to follow up their children.
Uloba celebrates its twentieth anniversary with around 1,200 participants in the Pride Parade and a show at Oslo Spektrum that is broadcast on television. The municipal cooperation Vestregionen for municipalities on the western side of the Oslofjord enter into service concession contracts for PA. It emerges from the concession basis that Vestregionen wishes to dilute the PA scheme. Therefore, Uloba cannot facilitate PA in the 15 municipalities in the region. In the subsequent four-year period, 181 Uloba members cannot use Uloba’s scheme. A Norwegian Standard for PA (NS8435) is introduced. Uloba urges the municipalities to use it.
Uloba changes its organisation from an andelslag (BA) to a samvirke (SA) form of cooperative society. It becomes possible for Uloba work leaders to submit digital timesheets. This makes it easier to check compliance with the working hour provisions. Uloba’s assistants get their own safety delegates.
The red-green coalition government submits its second proposal on the right to PA. Several of the elements of the proposal are in breach of the intention behind PA. Other organisations are inspired by Uloba’s critical consultation submission. We put the right to PA on the agenda in the election. The blue-blue coalition emphasise the importance of enshrining the right to PA in law when they launch their election platform.
Uloba wins an important victory after a battle lasting almost 25 years. On 17 June 2014, a unanimous Storting adopts a resolution to make PA a right. Our efforts are praised from the speaker’s rostrum. This means that from 1 January 2015, around 14,500 disabled people with major and long-term assistance needs can demand to be in control of their own lives.
Our new collective wage agreement with the Norwegian Union of Municipal and General Employees covers all of the 6,000 personal assistants employed by Uloba. Head of the union Mette Nord believes the collective agreement both secures and recognises disabled people with PA and their assistants.
Our new name, Uloba – Independent Living Norge SA, highlights our position as a political spearhead. We start work on facilitating functional assistance in working life. One year after the right to PA entered into force, the number of people with PA in Norway has only increased by 139 to 3,146.
We celebrate our 25th anniversary with a big Scandinavian conference in Oslo. More than 200 work leaders, assistants and people from various organisations attend. Prime Minister Erna Solberg and other speakers put the conference’s two topics on the media agenda: The municipalities’ dilution of PA and the institutionalisation of disabled people. Attempts to deny disabled people with PA control of their own lives are ever more apparent in the municipalities’ service concession announcements. A number of organisations and politicians follow Uloba’s example and speak up.
As of 31 December 2016, we had:
- 1,415 members
- 963 work leaders
- 107 administrative full-time equivalents
- 9,521 people who received pay and/or holiday pay.