Disability Equality legislation comes into force today

Published: 4 December 2006

From today the Disability Discrimination Act (2005) requires public bodies to look at ways of ensuring that disabled people are treated equally

You may be aware, through the media, of changes in the disability legislation that have come into effect today, 4 December 2006.

The University has been drafting a Disability Equality Scheme and associated Action Plan for ratification by the University Court at its meeting on 13 December 2006. This document has been formulated with the involvement of disabled students and staff and recognises the things we have already achieved as well as the things we want to improve.

From today the Disability Discrimination Act (2005) legislation requires public bodies (which are defined to include universities) to look at ways of ensuring that disabled people are treated equally. This means that rather than just making reasonable adjustments as necessary, we must actively promote disability equality (this is the new duty) and publish a document which sets out how we plan to address issues of disability in the services we provide (our 'Disability Equality Scheme' and associated Action Plan). This is all designed to improve equality of opportunity and maximise the opportunity for disabled people to contribute as fully as possible. We are also required to report progress on outcomes annually and to review and revise our Scheme.

The changes mean that we have to review systematically what we do and how we deliver services and we must involve disabled people in the design, planning and delivery of those services. This includes looking at our learning, teaching and research activity. The Scheme and Action Plan set out our first priorities, informed by the views of disabled people, for tackling the agenda and how we'll approach it. The implementation, some of which is already underway, will be rolled out progressively over the life of the plan.

Staff development and training opportunities will be provided, but everyone needs to be aware of the requirements and objectives of the legislation.

If you have any questions or require any further information/guidance on the new Disability Equality Duty, please contact Jean Chandler, ext 6810, email: J.Chandler@admin.gla.ac.uk

More information on the new disability equality duty can be found online at Disability Rights Commission The University's draft Scheme, and Action Plan is at www.gla.ac.uk/DES/ Disability Equality Scheme

Media Relations Office (media@gla.ac.uk)

First published: 4 December 2006