Three leading disability charities have agreed to merge to form Disability Rights UK. Radar, Disability Alliance (DA) and the National Centre for Independent Living (NCIL) have agreed to join forces following a year of negotiations and after securing support from current boards of trustees and at the annual general meetings of the existing charities.

The new charity will be launched on January 1, 2012. The current charities have some 600 member organisations across the UK as well as more than 500 individual disabled people as members.

Disability Rights UK will aim to represent the views of all disabled people across a range of different impairment groups and health conditions. Disability Rights UK will offer a range of support for disabled people, education providers, employers, welfare rights advisers, local and national government, journalists and parliamentarians.

Liz Sayce, chief executive designate of Disability Rights UK, said: “It is fantastic that the members of the three organisations have voted overwhelmingly in favour of coming together to create the largest pan-disability national organisation led by disabled people, which will enable many more disabled people to have a voice.”

Sue Bott, chief executive of NCIL added: “Disability Rights UK will continue to provide the existing charities’ services and support – including the Radar key, DA’s Disability Rights Handbook and NCIL’s direct payments and independent living support. "We will also continue some of the important former Skill services which DA has been delivering. But we aim to increase the services, consultancy, training and support we offer to disabled people, governments, employers and beyond as an ambitious new organisation dedicated to achieving equality for disabled people.”

Richard Gutch, currently interim CEO of DA and project manager for the merger explained the rationale behind the merger: “With so much change in public services it is now more important than ever that disabled people and the people supporting disabled people have one source of expertise and advice to call on. Disability Rights UK will be that source of independent, authoritative support. As one organisation, it will also be more sustainable and better placed to respond to the challenges faced by the sector.”