Public Bodies

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2005 National Disabled Members' Conference
24 June 2005

Conference is delighted that changes to legislation in April 2005 will impose a new disability equality duty on public bodies and some private companies. We believe these new duties could reconstruct a barrier-free society and provide equality of opportunity for the millions of disabled people who are in work, want to work, and those who need public and private services to promote their independent living.

However, we are concerned that government has not fully understood the complex and diverse nature of disability discrimination. In particular we are concerned that:

1)no funding will be made available to remove the barriers within the public sector and some private companies;

2)the duties should be extended to cover all the private sector;

3)there are no adequate arrangements in place to measure standards of service provision thus an alternative charity type industry may emerge in which business thrives off disabled peoples’ rights;

4)no incentives are apparent for disabled people to declare disability status;

5)insufficient group development has been invested in disabled people, thereby leaving them with responsibility but no authority to enforce social change.

We call upon the National Disabled Members’ Committee to:

a)lobby the National Executive Council to mount a campaign to ensure that branches negotiate agreements for barrier removal;

b)lobby government to provide funding for barrier removal;

c)produce guidance and develop a training module on disability equality for branches and regions.