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PUBLIC SECTOR TOLD TO MAKE RIGHTS OF DISABLED PEOPLE A TOP PRIORITY

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Minister for disabled people Maria Eagle today called on the public ...
Minister for disabled people Maria Eagle today called on the public

sector to deliver a programme of real change to make the rights of

disabled people a top priority.

Speaking on the day of the publication of Delivering Equality for

Disabled People, Ms Eagle said that the public sector had a

responsibility to lead the way in rights and attitudes.

'The public sector has a key role to play in making sure that the

rights and opportunities of disabled people are not ignored. I want

to see a real commitment from them to lead the way both as an

employer and as a service provider.

'This consultation is vital if the public sector is to champion the

rights of disabled people and I want everyone working within or

outside the public sector to tell us what they think. This is why we

will be holding public events for people to get involved in.

'Discrimination has no place in modern society. In the same way that

the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 introduced the need to

eliminate racial discrimination, this measure is part of a package

from the government to stamp out discrimination for Britain's 10

million disabled people'.

As part of the recommendations of the Draft Disability Discrimination

Bill, public bodies will be under a new duty to promote equality of

opportunity for disabled people as well as making sure they do not

discriminate when carrying out public functions.

Major organisations delivering important public services such as

health and education will be required to publish and implement a plan

setting out how they will improve the way they deal with disabled

people.

Notes

1. The consultation document Delivering Equality for Disabled People

can be obtained from www.tso.co.uk (Cm6255 ISBN:0101625529) and will

shortly be available from the DWP website.

2. The document explains how the government expects two key measures

in the draft Disability Discrimination Bill to work in practice, the

extension of the DDA to cover public functions; and the introduction

of the duty to promote equality.

3. The consultation document sets out what the government expects to

require public authorities to include within their Disability

Equality Scheme - which is the plan they will be required to publish

and implement.

These include:

- a list of the actions the authority intends to take to promote

equality

- a list of the measures the authority intends to monitor in order to

assess whether it is making progress towards equality of

opportunity for disabled people

4. The measures are closely related to the reforms introduced by the

Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000, which implemented the

recommendations of the Macpherson inquiry into the death of Stephen

Lawrence.

5. Before the new duties are implemented, the Disability Rights

Commission will publish guidance to public authorities to help them

comply with the duty. The information gathered in this consultation

will enable the Disability Rights Commission to ensure that their

guidance meets the needs of public authorities.

6. Members of the public, people working in the public sector, and

anyone else with an interest can comment on the proposals either in

writing, or at a series of public events. The consultation period

ends on 21 October 2004.

Details of remaining events, which will take place in other major

cities, will appear on www.disability.gov.uk or can be obtained from

events-disability@dwp.gsi.gov.uk

7. The Draft Disability Discrimination Bill was published on 3rd

December 2003. The draft bill has been through pre legislative

scrutiny and the government's response to the report of the joint

committee can be found at

www.disability.gov.uk/legislation/ddb/response.asp

8. The government intends to enact the Bill within this parliament.

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