I have just seen the Parliamentary report on the impact of the Equality Act on disabled people and thought that it might interest you too.
So, here it is : Parliamentary report. The thing that caught my eye is the 5 key points section towards the end. Essentially then this report confirms that our built community is still not accessible to all- we are not planning ahead to avoid problems, but trying to sort things out when problems arise- people do not know enough about their rights and how to enforce them and anyway the courts process is not easy to use so many rights are not easily pursued. This is all common sense really isn’t it -and now is as good a time as any to work to resolve these issues. If not us, who; if not now, when?
Here is an extract from the report:
Five major issues
15.In the course of our lengthy evidence taking we have repeatedly been struck by five major issues. We place these at the forefront of our report, and elaborate on them in subsequent chapters.
16.First, in planning services and buildings, despite the fact that for twenty years the law has required anticipatory reasonable adjustment, the needs of disabled people still tend to be an afterthought. It is time to reverse this. We are all living longer, and medical advances are keeping us alive where in earlier years it would have failed to do so, but not necessarily in good health. We should from the outset plan for the inevitability of disability in everyone as they get older, as well as for those who suffer accidents and for all those other disabled people who are the subject of our inquiry.
17.Our second theme, closely related to the first, is the need to be proactive, rather than reactive or process driven. Many of those involved—Government departments, local authorities, the NHS, schools, courts, businesses, all of us—wait for problems to arise before, at best, attempting to remedy them. We should be planning so that disabled people can as far as possible avoid facing the problems in the first place.
18.Thirdly, there is the issue of communication. So many of the problems of disabled people are exacerbated by a failure to make them aware of their rights in a manner that is clear and is adapted to their needs. But communication is a two-way process. If all those responding to the needs of disabled people engaged with them, listened to them, and took account of their views, all would benefit.
19.Rights which are unenforceable are not worth having. The law and the courts must adapt so that rights can be made effective as easily, quickly and cheaply as possible.
20.Lastly, it is the Government that bears ultimate responsibility for disabled people, and it must be structured to discharge that responsibility. Currently it is not.
Pippa Mackie- Chief Executive