Children, Familes and Young People, DRF News

Inquiry announced into the implementation of the right to independent living for disabled people (UK)

Those of you in the UK interested in the impact of funding restrictions on the right to independent living may be interested to know that the parliamentary Joint Committee of Human Rights (chaired by Dr Hywel Francis MP) is conducting an inquiry into the implementation of the right to independent living for disabled people, as guaranteed by Article 19, UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The Committee invites interested persons and groups to submit evidence on this issue and would welcome written submissions by Friday 29th April 2011.  

The Committee particularly welcomes submissions from disabled people and their families about independent living and how Government policies, practices and legislation or the activities of public authorities and others can implement the right to independent living in practice.

Further information about the Committee’s inquiry, together with questions the Committee intends to address can be found here.

In other related news, as part of the recently published Welfare Reform Bill, the UK government has delayed its decision to remove the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for disabled people living in residential care homes.  Find out more about Mencap’s campaign to protect the DLA mobility component here.

DRF News, Policy and Legislation

How did disability do in the UK’s ‘bonfire of quangos’?

Yesterday, the UK government announced the details of, what has been termed, a ‘bonfire of quangos’ in a move to improve accountability and, crucially, to cut costs. It will axe 192 of public bodies while merging another 118.  ‘Quangos’ is a term for “quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisations” which are funded by, but operate at arm’s-length from, government.  In terms of disability-related bodies, the status of the following quangos is as follows…

Equality and Human Rights Commission – to be retained (but with a focus on core functions and ‘better use of taxpayers money’)

Equality 2025 – will be retained and will advise on areas covered by other relevant bodies that cease to exist.

Disability Employment Advisory Committee – abolished (transfer function to Equality 2025)

Disability Living Allowance Advisory Board – abolished (transfer of functions to Department for Work and Pensions and Equality 2025)

Disabled Passengers Transport Advisory Committee – abolished (Department for Transport will consider other ways to consult disabled passengers)

General Social Care Council – abolished

Independent Living Fund – still under consideration (‘options being considered’)

DRF News, Policy and Legislation

Bye Bye DDA – the UK gets a new Equality Act

The majority of the provisions under UK’s new Equality Act comes into force today (1st October 2010), with the rest being phased in by 2013. Previous separate legislations- (such as the Sex Discrimination Act (1975), the Race Relations Act (1976), the Disability Discrimination Act (1995) – were considered complex and the slow progress on some issues of inequality and discrimination has been cited as proof that segregated legal frameworks were not working.  Under the new act groups (on the basis of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex (meaning gender) and sexual orientation) are provided the same levels of protection from discrimination across all the protected characteristics and all sectors.

Key changes include:

  • Protecting people from discrimination in the recruitment process. The Act makes it unlawful for employers to ask job applicants questions about disability or health before making a job offer, except in specified circumstances.
  • Protecting people discriminated against because they are perceived to have, or are associated with someone who has, a protected characteristic.  The Equality Act will protect people who are, for example, caring for a disabled child or relative. They will be protected by virtue of their association to that person.
  • Extending the equality duty to require the public sector to take into account the needs of all protected groups (except marital and civil partnership status). The new Equality Duty will require public authorities to consider the needs of all the protected groups in, for example, employment and when designing and delivering services.  Although timescales for this Duty are still to be confirmed.
  • Changing the definition of gender reassignment, by removing the requirement for medical supervision.
  • Extending protection in private clubs to sex, religion or belief, pregnancy and maternity, and gender reassignment.

For an Equality Act 2010 Starter Kit visit the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

For a more comprehensive list of changes visit the Government Equalities Office website.