Process for Supporting Disabled Candidates
These guidelines are for your information based on our collective lived experiences in life and politics. They are intended to assist and are, necessarily, only intended to provide a framework for the different needs that may be encountered.
A joint meeting has been held between the Liberal Democrat Health and Care Association (LDHCA) and the Liberal Democrat Disability Association (LDDA) to identify an equitable
and achievable way forward.
The LDHCA and LDDA will provide a support network to discuss the suitability of different types of constituency, ward or division.
The candidate should be made aware of any available funding, that can be used, following discussion, for any reasonable purpose to assist their campaign.
It is the responsibility of the candidate with additional needs to disclose them, should they require reasonable adjustment, so they have equity with their counterparts.
The following stages will outline how this is to be done.
Any disabled member wishing to be approved should contact their Regional Candidates Chair (Candidates Convenor in Scotland and Wales) who should immediately advise them
of the existence of LDHCA and LDDA.
They can be approached for assistance with reasonable adjustment, such as form filling. The HQ Candidates office will also provide reasonable adjustment for the approvals process.
This support should be put in place at the appropriate point of the approval process to give the disabled member the maximum chance of completing the approval stage successfully.
The Candidates Office will provide thorough guidelines on how the application process works.
- The Regional Candidates Chair can provide ongoing support and advice.
- It is important at this stage to identify any support requirements an approved disabled candidate might need during the selection stage whether that is with their application,
campaign or at the hustings in suitably accessible venues.
There has to be discussion and agreement with the party for the selected candidate's compact.
Local parties should be encouraged to hold early selections so that any candidate has time to establish themselves and arrange any support they will need.
Once the compact has been agreed and signed by both the candidate and the local party officer, it will clearly show what all are required to do and when they are required to do it.
This document should be used for reference throughout a campaign.
Any help schemes that are available to candidate with additional needs should be brought to the attention of the candidate and actively sought.
It is the responsibility of a candidate with additional needs to ensure the local party campaign team understands and has helped to arrange all necessary support. Supporting
documentation can be made available from the local party.
The local party will support campaigning needs.
That is why it is important that local parties are flexible during this period and not expect candidates with additional needs to do what it is impractical for them to achieve.
The whole process of finding accommodation for a candidate with additional needs will likely take longer than compared to an able-bodied candidate because of the specific needs
that need to be met. The local party must be accommodating of this.
Local parties therefore must be patient while this process plays out.
- The final stage that needs to be considered in this process is the transition stage: the stage between just being a candidate and becoming an MP. Upon selection as PPC, the local party should contact the candidates' office for discussion about reasonable adjustment at the point of becoming an MP.
The purpose of this is to ascertain what would be required, if the candidate with additional needs is elected as MP, within the first few days and weeks after they have been elected.
This should also be done with parliamentary staff. As anyone wishing to stand as PPC will fully understand their own needs and be able to explain them to a facilitator, hopefully,
available within the parliamentary network, that person should be able to translate need to available support and systems.
Please remember ask, don't assume.
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