Disabled People's Organisations

This page presents information about Disabled People's Organisations. You can find out about the role and attributes of Disabled People's Organisations. Any organisation seeking to be recognised as a Disabled People's Organisation can test themselves against the attributes and apply. You can also find out about seeking representation from Disabled People's Organisations into policy advice processes.

On this page

Representative organisations of disabled people

Recognition as a Disabled People's Organisation

Requests for representation and input from Disabled People's Organisations into government processes 

Representative organisations of disabled people 

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, in Article 4(3), promotes the active involvement by government agencies of representative organisations of disabled people which are governed by disabled people (or Disabled People’s Organisations).

Over 2013/2014, the Disability Action Plan 2014-2018 was developed through a collaborative process involving government agencies and seven national Disabled People’s Organisations, which was coordinated by the Office for Disability Issues. The seven Disabled People’s Organisations have a history of working together under the Convention implementation and monitoring, and working with government agencies.

The recognition of Disabled People’s Organisations that are distinct from other disability sector organisations recognises that disabled people themselves should have the opportunity to be around the table in matters affecting them. This development is acknowledged as the basis of the new way of working together agreed between the Chief Executives’ Group on Disability Issues and the seven Disabled People’s Organisations in July 2014.

The evolving direct relationships between government agencies and Disabled People’s Organisations are in addition to, and do not replace or substitute, relationships with other disability sector organisations.

The Office for Disability Issues has supported the seven Disabled People’s Organisations to meet together and lead thinking about how working collaboratively with government agencies to implement the Convention can be advanced.

Recognition as a Disabled People's Organisation

Alongside collaborating with government agencies to agree on priorities in the Disability Action Plan 2014-2018, the Disabled People’s Organisations have developed a set of attributes that distinguish Disabled People’s Organisations from other organisations working and advocating for disabled people or providing services to disabled people.

Any organisation can review the list of Disabled People’s Organisation Attributes and consider whether they meet the criteria.

An organisation wishing to be recognised as a Disabled Person’s Organisation should write to the Disabled People’s Organisations Group providing a short description of the role of their organisation in representing disabled people, outlining why they want to be recognised as a Disabled People’s Organisation and assessing themselves against the Disabled People’s Organisation Attributes. The Disabled People’s Organisations Group will discuss and consider the application and will seek advice as required (including from the Office for Disability Issues). Discussion with the applying organisation will be part of this process.

Email any requests or applications to the Disabled People’s Organisations Group at: AskDPOs@yahoo.com

Download - Disabled People’s Organisation Role and Attributes [DOC, 49 KB]

Requests for representation and input from Disabled People’s Organisations into government processes

DPOs have a partnership with Government under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

As part of this partnership, the Government requires high level strategic input from Disabled People’s Organisations around rights-based approaches and/or decision-making. This is covered by Article 4.3:

In the development and implementation of legislation and policies to implement the present Convention, and in other decision-making processes concerning issues relating to persons with disabilities, States Parties shall closely consult with and actively involve persons with disabilities, including children with disabilities, through their representative organizations.

This input may take various forms ranging from technical advice through to a representative speaking on behalf of all Disabled People’s Organisations.
Disabled People’s Organisations want the process for input and representation to be clear so that the overall partnership under the Convention is effective for both Disabled People’s Organisationsand Government.

Government obligations

  • To use this process to seek Disabled People’s Organisations input and representation for activity relating to the Convention's Article 4.3.
  • To include the agreed information in each request.
  • To refine the request if required by Disabled People’s Organisations feedback.
  • To fund the time and support costs of Disabled People’s Organisations representatives (if these are not already provided through Disabled People’s Organisations base funding).

Disabled People’s Organisations group obligations

  • To forward any requests made directly to their Disabled People’s Organisation to this process if the request relates to the Convention's Article 4.3.
  • To clarify what input is funded by base Disabled People’s Organisations funding, with anything additional to be funded directly by each project.
  • To maintain a current list of Disabled People’s Organisations representatives.
  • To respond to requests for input or representation in a clear and timely way, including to provide feedback on the request.
  • To review the process overall from time to time to ensure that Disabled People’s Organisations are delivering according to the Convention.

Content of the request

Requests must be clear about the nature of the work, priority with respect to the Disability Action Plan, duration, time commitment, skills required, payment (time and support costs) and due date.

The request needs to cover the following points:

  • An outline of the work, covering its purpose in relation to a rights-based approach and to the objectives of the Disability Action Plan, timeframes for the work and any key decision points. This tells us what the requester is trying to achieve.
  • Why input from disabled people is required. What types of input and representation are required for the project. Types of input are: lived experience, specific technical expertise, or expertise from a specific disability perspective. Types of representation (decision-making) include: representation from an individual Disabled People's Organisation, representation from several Disabled People's Organisations, representation on behalf of several Disabled People’s
  • Organisations or representation on behalf of all Disabled People’s Organisations. This tells us what mix of input and representation (decision-making) the requester believes they need to deliver their objectives.
  • Is the input specific to a disability or generic to all disabilities?
  • Confirms which and how many Disabled People’s Organisations need to be involved.
  • Is the role required to make decisions on behalf of one or more Disabled People’s Organisations? Are there any decisions required relating to Article 4.3 of the Convention. Clarity on where decisions will be made tells us whether a Disabled People’s Organisations governance person needs to be involved and what connection is required to Disabled People’s Organisations governance and decision-making processes.
  • What payment and support is provided for the representative?
  • This tells us whether the role is funded by the project or expected to be covered by Disabled People’s Organisations themselves.
    Who makes the final decision? Clarifies whether Disabled People's Organisations are deciding the representatives or are being asked for nominations for someone else to make the final decision. The representatives list will record nominating agency and appointing agency.


  • All requests for a representative or input from the Disabled People's Organisations Group to come via email to AskDPOs@yahoo.com.
  • If the request is incomplete, there will be discussion with the requester to clarify.
  • Confirm that the expert input or representative role needs to be decided by the Disabled People's Organisations Group. At this point, some requests will be confirmed as not relating to Article 4.3 so they can be sent back to individual Disabled People’s Organisations to deal with through their usual processes.
  • Request for nominations goes to Disabled People's Organisations via the Disabled People's Organisations Group email. Nominations must be from a Disabled People's Organisations and include a description of the person's skills and suitability for the role. This is provided at least 5 working days before the date that Disabled People's Organisations will vote.
  • Disabled People's Organisations voting occurs at the next Disabled People's Organisations Group meeting or by email if required to meet the due date.
  • Successful person(s) advised and added to the Disabled People's Organisations Group representatives list.
  • Requester advised of representative(s) within a maximum 6 weeks of the date of their request.

Tell us what you think

Page last updated: