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The Office for Disability Issues leads in driving delivery of the government’s vision for disabled people.

We help remove barriers so that all disabled people are able to fulfil their potential and be fully participating members of society.

We work in all areas of government policy and with a wide range of stakeholders.

Interdepartmental Ministerial Group on Disability (20 March 2014)

The Interdepartmental Ministerial Group (IMG) on Disability met for the first time on 13th March. The Group aims to encourage and stimulate progress to ensure disabled people are included in society and have opportunities to realise their aspirations.

The Group is chaired by Mike Penning the Minster of State for Disabled People and was set up with support from the Prime Minister David Cameron.

Last July Government’s disability strategy, Fulfilling Potential, set out a wide ranging cross-Government action plan. A lot of progress has already been made, and we want to do more.

Mike Penning, Minister of State for Disabled People explained:

“The first Interdepartmental Ministerial Group on Disability shows how seriously this Government takes improving the lives of disabled people. I am personally committed to cutting through bureaucracy to deliver the life changing improvements to make our great country accessible to all”.

21st International Day of Disabled People – 3 December 2013

Minister of State for Disabled People, Mike Penning, has today sent a message to stakeholders about the importance of the International Day, and some of the ways in which DWP will be marking it.

Read the Minister's statement in full (PDF, 3 pages, 28KB)

What is the International Day?

Every year the International Day of Disabled People is used to promote an understanding of disabled people and encourage support for their dignity, rights and well-being.

The United Nations chooses a different theme for the Day and in 2013 it’s going to be: ‘Break barriers and open doors: to realise an inclusive society for all”.

The barriers that disabled people face can take a variety of forms. They might relate to the physical environment or to information and communications technology (ICT) which are not accessible. They could result from legislation or policy.  Or they might be the result of attitudes in society, or discrimination.

The International Day is a great opportunity to celebrate the achievements of disabled people and their contribution to society. This year’s theme offers the opportunity to highlight barriers, and how they have been successfully challenged and overcome. 

Find more information about the International Day, including how the United Nations encourages it to be commemorated, and the themes adopted in previous years.

We are encouraging disabled people and their organisations to celebrate the Day. We want to help share information about what is going on, and think how we can collectively make an even bigger splash next year.

So if you are holding an event, you can let us know by emailing ODI at:

Please head your email: International Day of Disabled People.

For Braille, Large Print formats and a summary in BSL with audio voice-over and subtitles, please email

Aspire 2 Fulfilling Potential: Making it Happen

Aspire2 Fulfilling Potential: Making it Happen is an online magazine which aims to inspire young disabled people to get involved with disability issues.

The second edition looks at attitudes, perceptions and hate crime.

There are interviews with TV broadcaster Alex Brooker, Mike Penning MP the new Minister of State for Disabled People, Paralympian Louise Hunt, Assistant Chief Constable Harris Disability Hate Crime lead, and Stephen Brookes from the Disability Hate Crime Network. It also features articles about the work that is being undertaken to tackle negative attitudes, for example, the Brittle Bone Society’s schools project, and Time to Change. The Young DPULO (Disabled People’s User Led Organisations) Ambassadors have been involved in the preparing the magazine.

The magazine wants to encourage more young disabled people to get involved with, or benefit from some of the projects that have been inspired by Paralympic Games.

Aspire2 magazine - Issue 1

The first edition looks at the Paralympic Legacy, Sport and the disability strategy.

Fulfilling Potential: Making it Happen - Better Working with Disabled People - The Way Forward

We recently ran a consultation on how best to build on previous co-production and create new arrangements to strengthen the voice of disabled people:

On 16 January 2014 we published a document (below) that includes our response to the consultation and outlines our plans to establish an engagement forum, the Fulfilling Potential forum. This forum involves around 40 disability organisations from English regions and UK nations. It will be co-chaired by Minister of State for Disability and Minister of State for Care and Support and will meet quarterly to discuss and inform government strategy. The work of the forum will be complemented by the introduction of the Fulfilling Potential Policy Advice Service.

Fulfilling Potential: Making it Happen

On 2 July 2013 the Government published ‘Fulfilling Potential – Making it Happen’.

‘Fulfilling Potential-Making it Happen’ emphasises the need for innovative cross sector partnership with disabled people and their organisations and promotes new ways of working to deliver meaningful outcomes and bring about the changes needed in communities that have a real and lasting effect on the day-to-day lives of disabled people.

Alongside this the Government also published ‘Fulfilling Potential – Making it Happen Action Plan’ which sets out clearly in one place where progress has been made and where further work is planned.

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How ODI can help

If you wish to contact the Minister for Disabled People, please follow the instructions on the Department for Work and Pensions website.

Page last reviewed: 13 February 2014

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