Four disabled activists have resigned from the board of the UK’s leading disabled people’s organisation following a disagreement over its future direction.
The trustees who resigned from the UK Disabled People’s Council’s (UKDPC) national council – Mark Harrison, Anne Novis, Tara Flood and Rachel Hurst – had played major roles in renewing and restructuring the organisation over the last four years.
All four declined to explain why they had resigned.
Harrison is chief executive of Norfolk Coalition of Disabled People and was chair of UKDPC’s international committee, Novis is a leading authority and campaigner on disability hate crime, Flood is director of the Alliance for Inclusive Education, and Hurst is a veteran activist and former director of Disability Awareness in Action.
UKDPC is now seeking up to 12 new disabled trustees – including five from under-represented groups – to be co-opted onto its national council until an election early next year.
Newman paid tribute to the four former trustees, and said: “They have given a lot of years of hard and good service and have been a significant part of keeping the organisation going and developing.
“I wish them well and recognise the hard work they have put in over the last four-and-a-half years to stabilise, renew and reorganise the organisation.”
Jaspal Dhani, UKDPC’s chief executive, said: “The organisation’s agenda has been slowly developing over the last four or five years and it has reached a point where it is looking at its objectives, at the people involved and its strategy, and the resigning officers felt that they no longer had a role in the future direction of UKDPC.
“We are now looking to recruit new trustees to take the organisation forward into the next stages of its development.”
He said the resignations came at a point when UKDPC was recruiting a new member of staff to boost membership, and for the first time seeking member organisations from among disabled-led businesses, although they will not have voting rights.
UKDPC is also playing a leading role in monitoring the UK government’s implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
And it is organising a high-profile international disability arts festival in the Paralympic borough of Newham, to coincide with the London 2012 Paralympics, from 29 August to 9 September.
Newman said: “This is a very exciting time. It is genuinely a time of growth for UKDPC.”
19 April 2012