December 2006 offers Disabled People a unique opportunity to ‘up the ante’ in regard to Disability Equality. The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) will be ten years old on the 3rd December and the next phase (part 6) of the DDA, The Disability Equality Duty, comes into force.
This new Duty applies to all public bodies and is enacted on the 5th December. All of them have to comply with the general duty, the goals of which are:
- Promote equality of opportunity between Disabled People and other people.
- Eliminate discrimination that is unlawful under the Disability Discrimination Act
- Eliminate the harassment of Disabled People that is related to their impairment
- Promote positive attitudes towards Disabled People
- Encourage participation by Disabled People in public life
- Take steps to meet Disabled People’s needs, even if this requires more favourable treatment
Most bodies also have to comply with the specific duty which includes publishing a Disability Equality Scheme. This has to be published on 4th December and must include an action plan setting out how they will achieve the goals set out in the general duty. This plan has to be put together ‘involving Disabled People’ and showing how they have done that.
We recognise that many bodies are struggling to do this effectively and so SCIL & HCODP along with other organisations of Disabled People across the South East have come together to form SEDEC – The South East Disability Equality Council. This will be a ‘one-stop-shop’ for public bodies to be able to get informed, consistent advice and guidance around Disability Equality.
SEDEC will be made up of Disabled People from across the South East who are well informed about the issues and the Social Model and will be setting the standard for Disability Equality in the South East.SEDEC also offers an opportunity for Disabled People to become involved by offering Disability Equality Training and a chance to be part of the council.
To launch SEDEC we will be hosting an event ‘Ten Years On’ at The HG Wells Conference Centre in Woking, on the 4th December, giving public bodies and Disabled People a chance to reflect upon what has been gained since the implementation of the DDA and what we hope to achieve in the future with the new duty.
If you are interested to know more about SEDEC then email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone Ian or Hazel on 023 8033 0982.