Public bodies slammed over disability equality

The Disability Rights Commission (DRC) has hit out at over 60 public authorities in a new report that warns that many organisations are still failing to produce a disability equality scheme.

Despite a government deadline of December 2006 for public bodies to provide a disability equality scheme covering a range of issues, including employment, many are failing to meet their responsibilities.

The DRC is warning organisations across the public sector, including health trusts, universities, museums, Channel 4, fire departments and local councils, that they could face sanctions and even court action unless they address their disability equality procedures immediately.

A total of 65 organisations that have failed to meet the disability equality scheme deadline have been put on notice by the DRC after warning letters were sent out at the start of March and they failed to provide evidence of meeting the required standards.

Sir Bert Massie, DRC chairman, said: “The disability equality duty is a real opportunity to transform disabled people’s experiences of the society we live in. I’m really pleased that the public sector as a whole has done a great job in responding to the requirements of the duty, with more than 96 per cent of organisations producing a scheme.”

An Ipsos MORI study for the Office for Disability Issues (ODI) was carried out in December 2006 to ascertain how many disability equality schemes had been published. A total of 3.7 per cent of 1752 organisations have still failed to produce a scheme.