Establishes competence centre on personal assistance

I mai skrev vi om tallknuserne våre, Egil G. Skogseth og Laila Bakke, som deltok på Nordic Network on Disability Research Conference på Island. På konferansen ble det foreslått at alle de nordiske landenes Independent Living-organisasjoner sammen skal etablere et felles kompetansesenter for personlig assistanse. Les artikkelen om deltakelsen på konferansen her.

I den forbindelse har Egil G. Skogseth nå skrevet en artikkel til DRDs (Disability Rights Defenders) nyhetsbrev, som du finner under (artikkelen er på engelsk):

Establishes competence centre on personal assistance

Initiator: Vibeke Marøy Melstrøm in Uloba has invited other Nordic independent living organisations to co-found the new competence centre on personal assistance.

Nordic independent living organisations join forces to systematically exchange documentation. 

Iceland, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway have similar welfare states, and have all ratified The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). In the Nordic Council and other fora, Nordic politicians exchange ideas on political reforms on issues such as personal assistance (PA). Governmental investigations and policy papers on PA in Norway and Sweden compare PA in the Nordic countries. 

A human rights approach to personal assistance

“An affordable system, rather than best practice, often seems to be the approach to change in policy. The political discourse on PA seems to be similar in the Nordic countries. It is focusing on costs rather than opportunities and human rights”, Vibeke Marøy Melstrøm, Secretary General in Uloba – Independent Living Norway, writes in her invitation to co-found The Nordic Centre on Competence on Personal Assistance. 

Nordic independent Living organisations which are members of The European Network on Independent Living (ENIL) have been invited to co-found a centre which can contribute to document why a human rights approach to PA policy is needed. Responses so far have been positive. The centre is scheduled to be founded in August/September 2023.

Advocacy based on documentation

NPA MIÐSTÖÐIN, STIL and Uloba, of Iceland, Sweden and Norway respectively, have already started to document the situation for disabled people who need assistance. 

“Our experience is that using solid documentation and research results is important to achieve our political goals,” Vibeke Marøy Melstrøm states in her invitation.

She explains that the centre can be used in our common work for PA policy based on CRPD and best practice in the Nordic countries.

First meeting in 2024

The first annual meeting of the competence centre will be held in 2024. The delegates will be invited to exchange documentation, experiences and ideas concerning personal assistance, and ongoing relevant research and policy processes. They will also discuss the centre’s activities and how it should be organised. Uloba has stared to prepare the first annual meeting. 

In her invitation to the other Nordic Independent Living-organisations, Marøy Melstrøm explains what the centre might contribute to: 

  • Enable each organisation can base their lobbying and activism locally and nationally on documentation and research with comparative perspectives on the Nordic countries’ approach to PA.
  • Further develop how Nordic independent living organisations can base their political priorities and political activism and lobbying on documentation and research.
  • Establishing a common understanding of the link between supported decision making and PA as effective tools for independent living.
  • Promoting independent living ideology, the social model, and the human right model as approaches to both research, state-initiated data collection and policies aimed at disabled people. 
  • Changing researchers, bureaucrats, politicians, and others’ perception of disabled people. In the long term: A renewal of the Nordic welfare state approach to disabled people.
  • Working together with ENIL NORTH/ENIL for effective EU initiatives and legislation on PA.

The Competence Centre is a post covid-19 follow-up of an initiative in Freedom Drive 2019 in Brussels to enhance cooperation among independent living organisations in the Nordic countries. 

Do you have questions?

Please contact Senior Advisor Egil G. Skogseth, + 47 32 88 24 56 / or

Political Advisor Martine Eliasson + 47 32 20 59 10 /