Landmark Disability Duty Means 'Embedding' Equality
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
December 8, 2006
LONDON, ENGLAND--On December 4, the United Kingdom's Disability Discrimination Act of 2005 went through a fundamental change that could shift how people with disabilities are treated now and in the future.
On that date, the new Disability Equality Duty went into effect, requiring all 45,000 public entities across the country to actively promote equality of people with disabilities and to consider their needs when planning services, and in their employment practices.
Under the DED, all public schools, hospitals, and health services, along with local and national governments, will have to develop a written plan detailing how they will meet the new equality rules.
Those who fail to follow the DED could face legal action from the Disability Rights Commission.
"This is a step-change away from individual disabled people having to complain about discrimination after an incident has taken place," said DRC Chairman Bert Massie.
In an interview with BBC disability and aging issues correspondent Geoff Adams-Spink, Disability minister Anne McGuire said: "The good thing about the duty is that it's not just about the clerk on the desk, it's actually the chief executive of the council or public authority, it's the Secretary of State in some instances, or the leader of the council who all carry some responsibility."
"This is about embedding equality inside a public authority," she said.
"Public bodies must implement disability duty" (Computer Active)
"Interview: Disability minister Anne McGuire" (BBC News)
Disability Rights Commission