1. Home
  2. Library
  3. Cumulative Impact Assessment (CIA)

Cumulative Impact Assessment (CIA)

Author: Simon Duffy

In 2010 the Coalition Government introduced the most radical changes to the UK welfare state since its creation. Deep cuts in services were combined with major changes to the benefit system. It was obvious to any neutral observer that there would be significant consequences for many disadvantaged groups, particularly disabled people. 

The UK Government is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), as well as other important human rights treaties. So it has not just a moral duty, but also a duty in international law, to take the human rights of persons with disabilities seriously. It should endeavour to improve the position of disabled people in society, and it should certainly not worsen their position. 

A Cumulative Impact Assessment (CIA) is an evaluation of the combined impact of different government policies. Given the wide-ranging nature of the Government's Austerity plans it would be natural to suppose that any government that meant to honour its duties to disabled people would carry out a CIA to ensure that it was not exposing people to harm by the combined impact of its policies. However, despite the calls of disability campaigners (at first Pat's petition and then the WOW Campaign), of many charities and of multiple United Nations human rights bodies, the Government has refused to carry out a CIA.

More than this, the Government has continued to make the utterly self-contradictory claim that it cannot carry out a CIA, but that its policies will have a beneficial impact on disabled people. How would it know?

Since 2011 the Centre for Welfare Reform has published a series of progressively more sophisticated CIAs and other bodies have also published independent CIAs. In 2015, after a debate in the House of Commons, the Centre also engaged in a prolonged, but ultimately fruitless discussion with the Office of Disability Issues (ODI), within the Department of Work & Pensions (DWP) on this issue. Ultimately we came to the view that the ODI and the DWP had no serious intention of either developing their own CIA or of explaining how to improve the Centre's methodology or data. Instead its intention seemed to be to merely go through the appearance of having engaged, but in a way that could actually create no improvement in knowledge.

In 2018, after further pressure from Ian Jones, of the WOW Campaign, a letter was written by the current head of the DWP, Amber Rudd MP, to the current Prime Minister, Theresa May MP. This letter provides a summary of the DWP's reasons for not producing a CIA. Furthermore Debbie Abrahams MP and Kate Green MP have organised a debate on this issue in the House of Commons. Therefore, at the request of the WOW Campaign, the Centre has published its analysis of the Government's reasons for not producing a CIA.

In summary, the Centre found no good reason for the Government not to evaluate the combined impact of its own policies. The only plausible reason for the Government's failure is that the Government knows that any such analysis will show that its policies have caused considerable harm to disabled people and to other disadvantaged groups. 

Read and download the free pdf in your browser here.


The publisher is the Centre for Welfare Reform.

Cumulative Impact Assessment (CIA) © Dr Simon Duffy 2018.

All Rights Reserved. No part of this paper may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher except for the quotation of brief passages in reviews.

Documents

People

Simon Duffy

Simon Duffy

Director

Library

Next Steps on a Cumulative Impact Assessment (CIA)

Next Steps on a CIA

Simon Duffy explores the possibility of developing an even more rigorous assessment of how cuts have targeted disabled people.

Call for a Cumulative Impact Assessment

Call for a Cumulative Impact Assessment

Catherine Hale shares the text of a letter to her MP calling for her support for the Cumulative Impact Assessment.

Manifesto for a Fair Society

Manifesto for a Fair Society

The Campaign for a Fair Society's Manifesto sets out 8 key ideas for a fairer society and shows how current cuts target those who are already most disadvantaged.

A Fair Society?

A Fair Society?

Produced for the Campaign for a Fair Society, this report shows how government cuts in the UK target disabled people.

A Fair Society - Tizard Annual Lecture

A Fair Society - Tizard Annual Lecture

These slides were given as part of the 2011 Tizard Lecture given by Simon Duffy on A Fair Society & the Limits of Personalisation. They describe both the cuts facing disabled people and policy solutions for the future.

A Fair Society and the Limits of Personalisation

A Fair Society & Personalisation

This discussion paper describes how the current cuts that target disabled people reflect deep flaws within the welfare system and sets out the case for more fundamental reforms.

Counting the Cuts

Counting the Cuts

This report was one of the first quantitative analyses providing an estimate of the cumulative impact of UK Government cuts on disabled people and those in poverty.

Counting the Cuts

Counting the Cuts

This film introduces the report Counting the Cuts outlining how the UK government's austerity programme has targeted disabled people and people in poverty.

What Austerity Means for Women

What Austerity Means for Women

Brooke Bates explores the impact of austerity on women in the UK at the level of the individual and civil society.