168. The main objective of the competence and recruitment plan, Competence Reform 2015, is to help to secure adequate, competent and stable manpower for the municipal health and care services, and to raise competence levels in the care sector. A large proportion of users of care service receive these services because of a disability. Subsidies for basic training and continuing professional education for municipal care service employees are channelled through the plan. The Directorate of Health is responsible for developing programmes and providing funding for professional development and competence building.
169. In 2013, a national programme for developing and introducing welfare technology was established. Welfare technology is designed to give users a greater opportunity to master their own lives and health, and to help more people to live at home longer. The main objective of the programme is for welfare technology to form an integral part of services by the year 2020. The Directorate of Health has the primary responsibility for implementing the technology programme. The programme includes a grant scheme to which municipalities can apply for funding of safety packages for users of care services (fall detectors, smoke detectors, etc.). Standardisation work has also been launched to facilitate the introduction of integrated, supplier-independent ICT systems across the public and private health sector. This is in response to the Storting report Meld. St. 9 (2012-2013) Én innbygger – én journal. [One Citizen – One Medical Record]. In addition, a training package will be developed to boost the welfare technology skills of the staff. The programme is part of Competence Reform 2015.
170. Assistive aids is intended to compensate for practical problems that individuals with disabilities encounter in society. Examples of assistive aids are assistive technologies, services and measures, and they must form part of an overall plan. Persons with a significant and long-term disability (more than two years) have a right to those assistive aids that are necessary and appropriate for enabling them to be more self-sufficient and to solve the practical problems of daily living, to remain living at home and to be nursed at home. Assistive aids encompass everything from relatively simple products to sophisticated technical products. In addition come services such as interpreting, sign language interpreting and escort assistance.
171. One of the services offered by the assistive aids centres is interpreting. The service provides interpreting for about 3,500 users, about 85 per cent of them deaf and 15 per cent deaf-blind or deafened. In addition to sign language interpreters for the deaf and hard of hearing, and interpreting for the deaf-blind, the interpreting service supplies video and speech-to-text interpreting. There has been an increasing need for speech-to-text interpreters in recent years.
Review of policy on assistive aids
172. A committee will be appointed to make an overall review of policy on assistive aids. The committee will consider how to create comprehensive solutions in different spheres of life that meet the challenges of the future, and where policy on assistive aids together with measures in other policy areas will yield sound and cost-effective solutions. This study will include a thorough examination of the most appropriate division of responsibilities between central and local government with respect to grants for assistive aids. The interests and needs of the users will form an important part of the review to be carried out.
Public Committee on Fundamental Rights of Persons with Intellectual disabilities
173. The Storting debated the white paper Frihet og likeverd [Liberty and human dignity] in 2014. The Storting asked the Government to appoint a broad-based committee to propose measures for strengthening the fundamental rights of persons with intellectual disabilities with respect to autonomy, private life, family life and participation in society. The committee was appointed in 2014, and will determine what has contributed to improving the living conditions of persons with intellectual disabilities over the past 20 years. It will be particularly important to assess measures in the areas referred to in the white paper: self-determination, due process protection, quality in training, participation in working life, and good health and care. The committee will also determine whether the right to private and family life of persons with intellectual disabilities is fulfilled. The committee will present proposals for measures necessary to meet the challenges in this field and ensure that the political goals are achieved.
174. The chairman and members have broad expertise in the field. One member of the committee has immigrant background and has expertise in immigrant issues. In spring 2015, the committee was supplemented by a member of the Norwegian Association for Persons with Developmental Disabilities. The committee will deliver its report in June 2016.
175. A national goal is that people of of all ages and circumstances should, as far as possible, be able to use the public transport system, thereby reducing the need for special solutions and special transport to a minimum. One of the goals of the National Transport Plan 2014–2023 is to work towards universal design of the transport system.
176. Legislation and physical measures financed through the government budget are being employed in dedicated efforts to make the public transport system accessible to as many travellers as possible, independent of individually varying functional ability. Rules to ensure universal design of transport equipment and infrastructure have been introduced in most areas. New infrastructure, terminals and means of transport are being built to universal design standards according to Technical Regulations in the Planning and Building Act and sector-specific regulations. Universal design is an integral part of all plans for upgrading and building infrastructure under the Norwegian Public Roads Administration, Avinor AS and the Norwegian National Rail Administration. Emphasis is placed on upgrading one section at a time, where whole travel chains are upgraded to obtain maximum effect from the measures. Transport hubs and key public transport routes receive priority.
177. Emphasis is placed on good arenas for user participation, to help ensure that the best possible solutions are chosen and that resources are used optimally. Organisations of disabled persons are consultative bodies in development projects affecting the general public.
178. The EU bus directive contains requirements regarding universal design, and applies in Norway. The universal design requirements apply to buses that carry passengers on the basis of a route licence. They also apply to cars that provide transport with special licences for transporting persons with disabilities, and to taxis, which are required to make adaptations to accommodate such transport.
179. As part of the local public transport service, the county authorities offer specially adapted transport for persons with disabilities who cannot use ordinary public transport. The county authorities set the standard for the service, as they do for local public transport generally.