In 1995 the Disability Discrimination Act was introduced by the Conservative government to protect and promote the rights of disabled people and to make it unlawful to discriminate against them. The DDA enshrines the rights of those in society who have disabilities in areas such as disability employment opportunities, education and training, transport and access to buildings etc. It also encourages the public sector to promote equality of opportunity and inclusion for disabled people. The Act was produced after much consultation and feed back from disability rights groups and ensures they are treated equally by employers as well as service providers in the provision of goods and services,
Disability Discrimination Act 1995
The Act gives guidance on issues that affect disabled people in their daily activities like looking for employment opportunities, and attempts to deal with disability jobs inequality. For instance it become unlawful for any employer to discriminate against a disabled person by treating them less favorably than non-disabled candidates when they apply for employment. It also deals with the issue of reasonable adjustment, this is where service providers, i.e. restaurants have to take active steps to remove barriers that may hinder those who are disabled. Another example of this would be where a local authority employer would have to provide ramps so wheelchair users could gain access to their building.
The law is flexible and takes into consideration the fact that small medium enterprises may not be able to afford or practically implement changes to their businesses. To help iron out potential disputes and to give advice and guidance The Disability Rights Commission's Codes of Practice is a service that will look at cases to see if a company or organization may be being penalized unfairly. For instance a shop that is asked to provide a lift for wheelchair users could claim that by doing so it would have a effect on other people trying to enter its premises.
The DDA would describe a disabled person as someone having a physical or mental disability or impairment that has a serious effect on their day to day activities and quality of life.
Disability Discrimination Act 2005
Ten years after it was introduced the Act was amended with the Disability Discrimination Act 2005 with the aim of ending disability-related harassment. The legislation was extended and the core additions that were included covered public transport for disabled people, as well as access to premises and private clubs. It reaffirmed its commitment to end ignorance, thoughtlessness and prejudice that affected the lives of certain disadvantaged people.
In 2006 the government introduced the Disability Equality Duty, specifically aimed at the public sector. It encourages local authorities, hospitals and schools and colleges etc to publish a report to explain their progress on promoting equality and also what action they are taking in practical steps to meet the needs of disabled people. Currently the Equality and Human Rights Commission is responsible for the Disability Equality Duty.
The Disability Rights Commission was a UK organization that was independent and was established to look after the interests of disabled people. In 2007 it was closed down and its duties were taken over by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
The Office for Disability Issues is a department that tries to co-ordinate the efforts of the public service, local authority policymakers and also government departments to promote inclusion and equality for all. They have a target of 2025 of making Britain a
Office for Disability Issues
6-12 Tothill Street