Disabled people, choices and collective organisation: examining the potential of cooperatives in future social support

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle



Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)849-864
JournalDisability & Society
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Publication type

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Major shifts in funding, demography, personal expectations and the rise of a global disabled people’s movement require new and creative solutions to the choices and rights agenda into the twenty-first century. Direct payments and the individual employment of personal assistants is one clear and recognised path to independent living. However, there have been some reservations about the nature, process and impact of the broader personalisation agenda more generally within which direct payments and personal budgets are located. Some commentators point to the loss of the collective impulse in personalised approaches – ideas that were central to the development of the independent living movement and its founding principles. Some countries have seen the rise of collective responses to direct payment developments. This is explicable in terms of a suspicion of individualist underpinnings of personalisation coupled with a collective vision of social life. This article is based on an exploratory study of collective approaches in the field of direct payments where choice and social solidarity are being combined. Drawing on developments in Sweden, England and Wales, the article aims to inform possible future debates about direct payments and cooperative approaches and argues that greater user-control is not inimical to enhanced collective action.