The public sector must not treat a new requirement to improve
disabled people’s access to services as a tick box exercise,
a government minister stressed today, writes Amy
Speaking at a conference in London the minister for disabled
people Anne McGuire called for the public bodies to see their new
duty to promote equality of opportunity for disabled people as
integral to their organisation’s culture.
McGuire added that the public sector needed to think about
disabled people’s needs before they required services and not
as an after thought.
The duty, which becomes law in December 2006 and is part of the
Disability Discrimination Act, means that public sector
organisations will need to have ‘due regard’ to
eliminating discrimination against disabled people and to
encouraging people with disabilities to take part in public
They will also be required to create a disability equality
scheme that sets out how they will assess the impact of existing
and proposed policies and activities on disabled people.
McGuire urged conference delegates, who were from the public
sector, to look at how they would ensure the duties were met.
“Everyone – from the very top of the office to the
shop floor – needs to ask difficult questions of ourselves
and our businesses,” she said.
“We need to do things differently. Think ahead, plan and
give confidence to millions of disabled people that are no longer
an afterthought but central to the design of public