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Disability Rights Commission Newsletter

Disability Rights Commission
Email bulletin no. 34
January 2005

Welcome to the January issue of the Disability Rights Commission (DRC) Email bulletin.

In this month's issue:
1. DRC launches consultation on major new duty for the public sector
2. DRC launches formal investigation to test inequalities in healthcare for disabled people
3. Appeal Court rules airport and airline jointly responsible for disabled passengers
4. DRC casework gets quality accredited by the Community Legal Service (CLS)
5. DRC works with Bradford University to improve access for disabled students
6. 'Donít attempt resuscitation. Decisions and Disability in Scotland' a new DRC report launched
7. Latest DRC Disability Briefing available at the DRC website
8. Monthly listing of key disability journal article references now available on DRC website
9. ďDisability Discrimination Bill: Consultation on private clubs, premises, the definition of disability and the questions procedureĒ a new consultation by the Department for Work and Pensions
10. Healthcare Commission announces new approach on healthcare assessment
11. New report published by the IPPR assesses the legitimacy of conditional welfare
12. New RNIB publication helps employers meet the needs of employees with sight problems through IT
13. DRCís Special Adviser Caroline Gooding is given RADARís National Award for Achievement in working for the human rights of disabled people
14. Spread the news!

1. DRC launches consultation on major new duty for the public sector

The Disability Bill will place a duty on all public sector authorities to promote disability equality. The duty on the public sector will have a significant impact on the way all public services are run and on improving the lives of disabled people.
The DRC has just launched a consultation on the statutory codes of practice in relation to this duty.

The draft Codes of Practice (one for England and Wales and one for Scotland) explain how the legislation will improve equality for disabled people by placing this new duty on the public sector.

The DRC would like to hear about examples of good and bad practice within the public sector.  We are interested in hearing from anyone who can talk about policies, practices and procedures in the public sector that could be used for media work to highlight new public sector duties.

Contributions to:  martine.julseth@drc-gb.org.

We are holding a series of events on the proposed new duty for the public sector to promote disability equality. 

The event dates and venues for England and Wales will be confirmed shortly on the DRC website

There will be three events in Scotland in 2005:

Nairn       2 March Highland ConferenceCentre
Glasgow     11 March St Francis Centre
Edinburgh  23 March Holyrood Hotel

All events are free but places are limited. To book please contact:

The Events Team:                  scotland@drc-gb.org

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2. DRC launches formal investigation to test inequalities in healthcare for disabled people

The DRC has just launched a 18 month formal investigation (FI) to look at physical health inequalities experienced by people with learning disabilities and people with long term mental health problems in England and Wales. 

The investigation began in December 2004 and runs until May 2006. It is a process of inquiry to reveal barriers, identify good practice and promote evidence of workable solutions.  The evidence collecting techniques include consultation questionnaires, focus groups, in depth area studies, analyses of GP databases and statistics and a formal inquiry panel. 

The DRC is seeking the views and experiences of primary care practioners, people with learning disabilities and mental health problems and encourages readers to respond to the FIís for evidence. 

To read more, download documents or fill-in an on-line questionnaire visit:

Equal Treatment Investigation

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3. Appeal Court rules airport and airline jointly responsible for disabled passengers

In a landmark ruling, the Appeal Court has found that Ryanair and Stansted Airport are both responsible for providing a free wheelchair service to disabled travellers. The DRC supported disabled traveller Bob Ross in this case which began in 2002. The ruling will ensure disabled people receive the same standard of service as non disabled travellers.

Visit the DRCís newsroom to find out more.

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4. DRC casework gets quality accredited by the Community Legal Service (CLS)

The DRCís casework team have been accredited for the General Help with Casework level by the CLS. The Quality Mark is part of the Community Legal Service (CLS), a major government initiative launched in April 2000, and is the quality standard that underpins all CLS services.

This means that members of the public who need information, advice and other help can rely on receiving a quality assured service. The Legal Services Commission recognises that the DRC casework service meets the standard for the type of service being delivered.

To find out more about the CLS quality mark visit:

Legal Services Commission.

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5. DRC works with Bradford University to improve access for disabled students

The DRC has entered into an agreement with Bradford University under section five of the DRC Act. This is one of the DRCís powers of strategic enforcement. Bradford is the first university to agree to work with the DRC in this way.  The university has agreed to review all its practices, policies and procedures in relation to teaching materials and assessment of students. The DRC will work with the university over the next five years to improve its practices, procedures and policies and develop what is hoped will be exemplary access for disabled students.

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6. 'Donít attempt resuscitation. Decisions and Disability in Scotland' a new DRC report launched

On 13 January 2005, DRC Scotland launched its latest research report, ĎDo Not Attempt Resuscitation Decisions and Disability in Scotlandí. This publication on resuscitation and disabled people's rights summarises the law in Scotland, the British Medical Association guidelines, commissioned research and what the DRC is planning to do next on this issue.
The research was carried out by the Strathclyde Centre for Disability Research at the University of Glasgow and the Department of Nursing Studies at Edinburgh University.

To read the full report and the summary please follow the link:

Do not attempt resuscitation 

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7. Latest DRC Disability Briefing available at the DRC website

The latest briefing contains comprehensive Labour Force Survey data, an updated overview of the disabled population in Britain, as well as a report on the progress of the research projects undertaken by the DRC over 2004.

To read the full document please follow the link:

Disability Briefing December 2004

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8. Monthly listing of key disability journal article references now available on DRC website

In a New Year initiative, the DRCís Library and Information Services team will be providing a new service from the DRCís website in the form of a monthly list of key disability and discrimination related journal articles. The service is a list of references only and we regret the DRC Library is unable to provide copies of the articles.

To view the latest articles, please follow the link:

Disability Journal Articles

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9. ďDisability Discrimination Bill: Consultation on private clubs, premises, the definition of disability and the questions procedureĒ a new consultation by the Department for Work and Pensions

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is running a consultation on some of the proposals in the Disability Discrimination Bill. The purpose of this consultation is to give interested parties the opportunity to say whether they think these new provisions work well.

This consultation seeks your views on the Government's proposals for using the regulation-making powers in the new Bill. The areas covered are: private clubs, premises, extending the definition of disability used in the Disability Discrimination Act and the extension of the questions procedure. This consultation closes on Friday 18 March 2005.
Please follow the link to more information about the consultation and a downloadable version of the consultation paper:

Disability Discrimination Bill 

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10. Healthcare Commission announces new approach on healthcare assessment

The Healthcare Commission is currently responsible for the Star Ratings system of assessing NHS hospitals and health providers. On 29 November the Commission announced that from 2005-06 Star Ratings would begin to be replaced by a new approach.  This is designed to give a much broader picture of the performance of a healthcare provider and also drive improvement by looking at a wider range of information- covering areas such as public health, responsiveness to patients and leadership in NHS trusts.

The new system will assess healthcare organisations in relation to targets and to a new set of standards, published by the Government in July 2004. ĎAssessment for improvementí is a consultation document, which describes how it proposes to do this.

The Healthcare Commission is keen to consult users of healthcare services on its new systems of assessment and is seeking views from a wide range of people on how far they agree that the new approach to making assessments will be effective in measuring what really matters to patients.  This is your opportunity to have your say on what is important to you.

The consultation will end on February 21st 2005.  To take part, visit the Healthcare Commission website
or  email: feedback@healthcarecommission.org.uk or call the consultation helpdesk: 0845 601 3012
 

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11. New report published by the IPPR assesses the legitimacy of conditional welfare

Under the name Sanctions and sweeteners a new report published by the Institute of Public Research and Policy assesses the legitimacy of making welfare benefits conditional on whether claimants behave as the government would like and examines the effectiveness of such conditions in bringing about specific policy goals For more information please follow the link to the IPPR website. Back to top

12. New RNIB publication helps employers meet the needs of employees with sight problems through IT

ďSee to IT at work" is a new, practical guide that explains how Information Technology (IT) can enable employers to meet the needs of employees and job applicants with sight problems.
This new publication is designed to provide advice, guidance and practical help for an employer who sees the benefits of employing people with a diverse range of knowledge, skills, experience and abilities. There is information about the range of assistive technologies that blind and partially sighted people use to do their jobs, and about how the Government's Access to Work scheme can help pay for additional equipment and support that an employee needs.

 To order copies of "See to IT at WorkĒ and find out more follow the link RNIB See to IT at Work
 

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13. DRCís Special Adviser Caroline Gooding is given RADARís National Award for Achievement in working for the human rights of disabled people

RADARís People of the Year Human Rights Awards 2004 were held on 6 December in London.  These awards pay tribute to organisations and individuals that raise awareness of disability and the need for legal change to achieve full equality and human rights for disabled people.
RADARís National Award for Achievement in the furtherance of human rights of disabled people in the UK was awarded to the DRCís Special Adviser, Caroline Gooding.  Caroline is both Special Advisor and a Director at the DRC, responsible for advising on key long-term, cross-cutting disability issues, as well as the overall impact of the Disability Discrimination Act. 

Caroline, a disability activist for many years, is a former member of the Disability Rights Taskforce and a former Director of the Disability Law Service and until recently (2004) was a part-time policy adviser to the Employers Forum on Disability.  Outside of her full-time responsibilities at the DRC, Caroline is disability adviser to the Mayorís Advisory Cabinet at the Greater London Authority and chair of the Trade Union Disability Alliance.

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14. Spread the news!

Please forward this bulletin to your friends and colleagues and encourage them to subscribe to this free service. They can do so by following this link:

http://www.drc.org.uk/newsroom/ebulletin.asp

You can unsubscribe at any time by following this link:
http://www.drc.org.uk/bulletin_unsub.asp?i=23044&r=531

For up-to-date information, please visit the DRC website at:

http://www.drc-gb.org

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