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Disability Discrimination Act 1995

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Disability Discrimination Act

Employers need support to adapt to Equality Act - October 2010

Rental Properties in the private sector - Disability Discrimination Act 2005

New Code of Practice on Disability Discrimination

The Disability Discrimination Act 2005 (DDA 2005)

Implementation of The Disability Discrimintation Act 2005

Provisions of The Disability Discrimination Act 2005

Disability Discrimination Act and Stairs

Implementation of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) (England & wales) Order 2005

New legislation to transform public services for disabled people - December 2006

Public sector professions fall foul of anti-discrimination laws says DRC

DRC launches the Disability Agenda - Feb 2007

The Disability Discrimination Act came into force in 1995 with the objective to end the discrimination which many disabled people face in their everyday lives. Since it's introduction additions to the Act have put greater pressure on companies to open their doors to the UK's 10 million disabled people.

By October 2004 all service providers had to have made made reasonable adjustments to physical features of their premises to overcome physical barriers to access of the premises. Examples are:Putting in a ramp to replace steps providing larger, well defined signs for people with a visual impairment improving access to toilet or washing facilities.

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In April 2005 a new Disability Discrimination Act was passed by Parliament, which amends or extends existing provisions in the DDA 1995, including:

  • making it unlawful for operators of transport vehicles to discriminate against disabled people
  • making it easier for disabled people to rent property and for tenants to make disability-related adaptations
  • making sure that private clubs with 25 or more members cannot keep disabled people out, just because they have a disability
  • extending protection to cover people who have HIV, cancer and multiple sclerosis from the moment they are diagnosed
  • ensuring that discrimination law covers all the activities of the public sector
  • requiring public bodies to promote equality of opportunity for disabled people

Some of the new laws - including the increased protection for people who have HIV, cancer and multiple sclerosis - came into force in December 2005. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) website has more about the December 2005 changes.

Others changes will come into force in December 2006 - the Disability Rights Commission (DRC) website has more details on these.

  • employment
  • education
  • access to goods, facilities and services
  • buying or renting land or property

The Act also allows the government to set minimum standards so that disabled people can use public transport easily.

The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995 aims to end the discrimination that many disabled people face. This Act gives disabled people rights in the areas of:

Definition of 'disability' under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA)

The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) defines a disabled person as someone who has a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities

The definition

For the purposes of the Act:

Substantial means neither minor nor trivial

Long term means that the effect of the impairment has lasted or is likely to last for at least 12 months (there are special rules covering recurring or fluctuating conditions)

normal day-to-day activities include everyday things like eating, washing, walking and going shopping

a normal day-to-day activity must affect one of the 'capacities' listed in the Act which include mobility, manual dexterity, speech, hearing, seeing and memory

Some conditions such as a tendency to set fires and hay fever, are specifically excluded.

Provisions allow for people with a past disability to be covered by the scope of the Act. There are also additional provisions relating to people with progressive conditions.

The DDA 2005 amends the definiton of disability, removing the requirement that a mental illness should be 'clinically well-recognised'.

People with HIV, cancer and multiple sclerosis will be deemed to be covered by the DDA effectively from the point of diagnosis, rather than from the point when the condition has some adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

Getting hold of a copy of the Disability Discrimination Act 2005 The Act can be viewed from the website below:

Disability Discrimination Act 2005 (opens new window)

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Rental Properties in the private sector - Disability Discrimination Act 2005 - Legislation will come into force on the 6th December 2006 aimed specifically at the services connected to the provision of housing in the private rented sector as well as issues relating to the property itself. The relevent clauses of the Act are in Chapter 13, section 13, clauses 24(a) to 24(k).

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New Code of Practice on Disability Discrimination - A new code of practise from the Disability Rights Commission has been put before Parliament for consideration. The Code will give practical guidance on the application of the provisions of the Disability Discrimination act that comes into force in December 2006. The Disability Rights Commission has revised the existing guidance on the Disability Discrimination Act for providers of goods, services and facilities to include the new duties on public authorities, landlords and private members clubs.

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Fact Files

PainSmith Solicitors Legal Update - 07 October 2005

The Disability Discrimination Act 2005

The Disability Discrimination Act 2005 (DDA 2005) changes the way that landlords and their agents will be required to react to disabled tenants. While much of these changes do little to alter the fundamental requirement for the landlord to respond positively to “reasonable” requests they do shift the burden somewhat in both evidence and monetary terms. For full article Click Here. This article appears as a PDF - The free Adobe Acrobat Reader is available to download direct from Adobe by following the link.

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Implementation of The Disability Discrimination Act 2005 The Statutory Instruments implementing the Disability Discrimination Act 2005(DDA) in respect of rented accommodation have now been laid before Parliament.The Disability Discrimination (Premises) Regulations 2006 confirm that these provisions will come into force as from 4 December 2006 and provide further clarification of how the Act will be implemented in respect of residential premises. For full article Click Here

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Provisions of The Disability Discrimination Act 2005 The Disability Act 2005 builds on and extends earlier disability discrimination legislation, principally the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. The Acts aim to end discrimination against disabled people in a range of circumstances, including in employment, education and the provision of goods and services. For instance if a student with a personality disorder was refused entry to college on the grounds that her disability may make her disruptive, then this may amount to unlawful disability discrimination, unless it can be justified. For full article Click Here

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Disability Discrimination Act and Stairs - 23 May 2007 A recent case before the court of Appeal has clarified the position regarding the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) and it application to residential premises.For full article Click Here

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Implementation of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) (England & wales) Order 2005 The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) (England & Wales) Order 2005 came into force on the 1st October 2006. This order brings together a large amount of legislation relating to obligations to make premises fire safe For full article Click Here

Dr David Smith is a trainee solicitor with PainSmith Solicitors, a niche practice specialising in residential landlord and tenant law. He can be contacted on 01420 565310 or by email at david@painsmith.co.uk. If you wish to subscribe to the free legal updates service then you should email update@painsmith.co.uk with the phrase "subscribe updates" in the subject of the email.

PainSmith Solicitors Legal Updates are provided for information only and are not legal advice. If you do have a legal problem, you should talk to a lawyer or adviser before making a decision about what to do. You may wish to use the CLS/CDS Directory (www.justask.org.uk/public/en/directory) to locate an adviser. The information provided here is written for people resident in, or affected by, the laws of England and Wales only. You should note that date given in the update and be aware that the information given may become inaccurate due to changes in the law or its implementation.

©PainSmith Solicitors

Information supplied by PainSmith Solicitors who are a niche practice specialising in Landlord and Tenant Law. Based in Medstead in Hampshire, they are ideally situated to provide an efficient service to clients nationwide as well as those based in Central London and the Home Counties.

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New legislation to transform public services for disabled people - December 2006 News Release from Alyson Rose in the DRC Press Office

Approximately 45,000 public bodies will be affected by new legislation introduced on 4 December that is set to transform the lives of one in five Britons.

The new Disability Equality Duty (the DED) will affect the way public authorities run and plan their services for the 10 million people who have rights under the Disability Discrimination Act. The DED is similar to the race equality duty introduced by the Race Relations (Amendment) Act.

The Disability Rights Commission (DRC) had been urging the government to introduce the new duty since 2000. The DRC’s Chairman Bert Massie said today: “The Disability Equality Duty will have a major impact on the lives of disabled people and will radically shift the way public authorities deliver their services.

“Public bodies – from the local library to the NHS – will have to consider what disabled people need when planning their services. This is a step-change away from individual disabled people having to complain about discrimination after an incident has taken place.”

The new duty has been introduced to tackle the endemic discrimination faced by disabled people and those with long-term health conditions. For example, disabled people are less likely to receive a full education, less likely to get a job, more likely to be discriminated against in the health service and to be a victim of crime than non-disabled people.

DRC Chairman Bert Massie continued: “The DED will help public bodies become more efficient and save money because it involves providing services that disabled people need. Those who fail to meet their new legal duties risk facing us in court.

“Ensuring that disabled people’s needs are thought of at the beginning of policy and service development will help enhance the service that many disabled people receive. Next February, the DRC is unveiling a new agenda aimed at breaking the cycle of persistent exclusion and discrimination that still blights many disabled people’s lives.”

Publicly funded organisations with specific duties under the DED need to publish a Disability Equality Scheme that shows how they intend to fulfil the new duty. The scheme – which has to be published by 4 December – needs to show how a public body intends to eliminate unlawful discrimination and promote equality of opportunity. The DRC will be scrutinising these schemes from 5 December 2006.

The Disability Equality Duty is contained in the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, as amended by the Disability Discrimination Act 2005. Alyson Rose in the DRC Press Office

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Public sector professions fall foul of anti-discrimination laws says DRC - 18-12-06 News Release from Will Dingli in the DRC Press Office

Current guidelines used to determine whether people can train and practise as teachers, nurses and social workers are likely to fall foul of anti-discrimination laws, an independent legal review reveals today.

The review forms part of the Disability Rights Commission’s (DRC’s) investigation into the legal framework governing entry and progress in nursing, teaching and social work. The review also found significant variations in the criteria used for entry in the three professions in Scotland, England and Wales.

In the first assessment of its kind to examine the criteria used to determine entry to the professions against the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), the review found that there was no recognition of the DDA in some sectors’ statutory documents. This is despite the fact that the regulations governing training and entry were compiled after 1995 – the year the DDA was passed by Parliament.

The review also found that ‘health’ and ‘fitness’ are defined in a confusing variety of ways across countries and sectors. In some cases, such as the teaching profession in Scotland, the focus is on competence and conduct and not on attempting to define and assess health.

Bert Massie, Chairman of the DRC, said: “Our investigation has uncovered over 70 separate regulations and pieces of guidance across these three sectors, yet the overwhelming majority of them take no account of the DDA. This means that despite the minefield of regulations governing teaching, nursing and social work, disabled people are in severe danger of experiencing discrimination, both at the point of entry when they undertake training and also later on, once they start working.”

Direct discrimination under the DDA occurs when a disabled person is discriminated against purely on the grounds of their disability. As much of the regulations and guidance is very general (e.g. the Nursing and Midwifery Council rules call for someone to merely be in ‘good health’) stereotypical assumptions can be made about a persons’ fitness to perform a role and this can result in direct discrimination.

As part of its investigation, the DRC has uncovered case studies that highlight problems of discrimination against disabled people. For example:

Philip Stott, aged 40, from Warrington, Cheshire, said he experienced considerable discrimination when he attempted to change profession and re-train as a teacher. This was despite a positive occupational health assessment that said he was perfectly safe to teach. Stott was injured in a motorbike accident when he was aged 18 which left his shoulder at risk of dislocation.

Philip said: “I told the college about my condition from the beginning, yet after the first time my shoulder dislocated and I had to go to hospital to get it fixed, they started saying ‘you can’t do this’ and ‘you can’t do that’. In the end they prevented me from continuing on the course.”

Joanne Harrison, aged 25, from Colchester, Essex, had always dreamed of becoming a social worker, but was told she must drop her degree after being diagnosed with ME. Joanne said she was devastated at the news: “They told me I was off the course just like that. There was no warning, nothing. I tried to stand up for myself, my health has greatly improved, but they disregarded all of that. The senior occupational therapist wrote a really good letter saying how capable I was but they just disregarded it completely.”

Stuart Nixon, aged 42 and an NHS manager from Newport, Gwent, was diagnosed with MS aged 14 and went on to train as a nurse. Stuart was offered no support to manage his condition while training and no support once he started work. Instead he was encouraged to look at other areas of NHS employment. Stuart eventually decided to give up nursing and re-train in general management. Stuart said: “I was asked to consider whether nursing was an appropriate career for someone with MS simply because people couldn’t see beyond my diagnosis. On the ward they only looked at five per cent of my role which I couldn’t do, they didn’t see the 95 per cent that I could do.”

Bert Massie concluded: "Disabled people want to make a contribution to Britain’s public services, which employ millions of people and have an impact on all our lives. These vital services benefit from diverse experiences and perspectives. We would not accept any of these professions being all white, all male or all female. They should not be no-go areas for disabled people either. Yet people who are disabled or have long-term health conditions, as the cases we have come across illustrate, are being denied opportunities to progress and these professions are all the poorer for it.”

The DRC’s year-long investigation is the most wide-ranging analysis of disability-related fitness standards in the public sector that has been undertaken. The investigation will conduct a legal review, two research projects, a call for evidence and run an Inquiry Panel which will take oral evidence from organisations. The final report is due in the summer of 2007.

1. The definition of disability in the DDA covers people with physical, sensory and mental impairments. It includes people with a range of health conditions such as diabetes, epilepsy and long-term depression. Since December 2005, it has included people with cancer, HIV and multiple sclerosis from the point of diagnosis. The DDA calls for employers and training providers to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people such as wheelchair access, grab rails, induction loops and sign language interpreters.

2. The legal review, commissioned by the DRC and conducted by the legal firm Levenes, is entitled ‘An analysis of the statutory and regulatory frameworks and cases relating to fitness standards in nursing, teaching and social work’. It can downloaded from the DRC’s website (see link below).

3. ‘Fitness Standards’ is the umbrella term used in the investigation to cover the wide range of formal regulations along with the operation of policies, practices and procedures that affect a persons’ ability to qualify, register and work in a number of public sector professional occupations.

4. A DRC study (Michael Hirst et al 2004) ‘The Employment of Disabled People in the Public Sector: A Review of Data and Literature’ found that only 11% of working age disabled people had public sector jobs compared with 18% of non-disabled people. It also showed that in the public sector, disabled employees are less likely than non-disabled employees to occupy higher-skilled professions such as nursing, teaching and social work.

5. The DRC is an independent statutory body responsible for tackling disability discrimination. We aim to bring about equality of opportunity and increased participation for the 10 million people in Britain who have rights under the Disability Discrimination Act.

Please note that The Disability Rights Commission (DRC) closed on 28 September 2007. Its responsibility for helping secure civil rights for disabled people has transferred to the new Equality and Human Rights Commission which opened for business in 1 October 2007.

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DRC launches the Disability Agenda - 14th February 2007

The Disability Rights Commission launched the Disability Agenda on the 14th February 2007, which sets out the major challenges for public policy in respect of disabled people and their families and recommendations for how to meet them.

Speaking at the launch of the Agenda, Sir Bert Massie, DRC's Chairman said: "The positive developments of the last decade have undoubtedly helped to create a more open road for disabled people to be and do the things they want to in life.

But at the same time the public services, resources and support many require to take up these new opportunities have either not materialised, remain at odds with these goals or have gone into decline.

Many disabled people have been invited to look up to the stars, only to find the ground opening up beneath them. And this is why, just as the DRC has offered leadership during the last decade, so with the launch of today's Disability Agenda we are seeking to offer leadership for the next.

It proposes reform and investment in our public services founded upon the principles of dignity and respect and delivering the means for people to participate and achieve their potential and to secure a healthy and prosperous life.

And importantly it is also about refreshing our approach to disability equality fit for a new era of leadership from the Commission for Equality and Human Rights".

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