Discrimination against disabled people can take place by treating them ‘less favourably’ than other people and by failing to make a ‘reasonable adjustment’ where they are placed at a ‘substantial disadvantage’ compared with other people for a reason relating to their disability. The DDA introduced a wide definition of a disabled person as having a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day to day duties (see Appendix A). This scheme is based on the knowledge that disabled people are almost twice as likely as non-disabled people to be unemployed, that disabled workers are less likely to be employed full time and that 1 in 8 of the working population is disabled.
The DDA 2005 introduced a new disability equality duty for the public sector, effective from December 2006, to promote disability equality across all functions. This means that we need to ensure that we continue to build disability equality into everything that we do. The general duty requires that every College shall in carrying out its functions have due regard to the need to:
- promote equality of opportunity between disabled persons and other persons
- eliminate discrimination that is unlawful under the Act
- eliminate harassment of disabled persons that is related to their disabilities
- promote positive attitudes towards disabled persons
- encourage participation by disabled persons in public life
- take steps to take account of disabled persons’ disabilities even where this means treating disabled persons more favourably than other persons (this principle has always been recognised in the DDA, particularly through the duty to make reasonable adjustments, and ,for example , in the provision of dedicated services to enable disabled persons to access mainstream activities on equitable terms).
Under the specific duties, there is a requirement to publish a Disability Equality Scheme (DES) by the 4th December 2006 as a means of delivering the equality duty and to involve disabled people in the development of the Scheme. The College’s Disability Equality scheme has been developed in line with the requirements of this disability legislation and the associated Disability Rights Commission Statutory Codes of Practice for England and Wales.