CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION TO DISABILITY EQUALITY SCHEME ANNUAL REPORT 2010
Disabled people make up 20% of the population in Scotland, so they are a big part of the communities that we serve. They are valued members of families, communities and workplaces and make a positive contribution to the diversity of cultural and community life in Scotland and to the economic and social wellbeing of Scotland.
While disabled people form an important part of our communities, Scotland recognises that there a number of challenges they face in enjoying their rights on an equal basis with others. The Scottish Government acknowledges the accumulation of long term discrimination and inequality and the scale of the challenges to ensure our policies are not just aspirational but also deliver positive change. We recognise the gaps in statistical information to help us monitor progress and focus our activity where it is most needed.
The Scottish Government is committed to equality and tacking the barriers which restrict individuals and communities from reaching their potential. Disabled people face particular barriers, prejudice and discrimination which must be tackled and this report outlines what the Scottish Government is doing to address these issues and to improve the life chances for disabled people.
Public Sector Equality Duties
There are three Public Sector Equality Duties for race, disability and gender. They place duties on public authorities to eliminate unlawful discrimination and harassment and promote equality of opportunity. These positive duties aim to ensure that public policies, practices and services take into account the different needs of ethnic minority communities, disabled people and women and men in their development and delivery and make real improvements to peoples' lives.
The UK Government's Equality Act 2010 replaces the three existing public sector equality duties with a single Equality Duty. This new duty covers race, disability, gender, age, religion and belief, sexual orientation, gender reassignment and pregnancy and maternity. Like the three existing duties, the new single Equality Duty is in two parts; a general duty, which is set out in the Act, and specific duties which can be placed on certain public authorities to ensure the better performance of the general duty. The Scottish Ministers' have consulted on the specific duties which will be placed on public authorities, and plan to lay regulations early in 2011.
Disability Equality Duty
The Duty to promote equality of opportunity for disabled people was introduced under the Disability Discrimination Act 2005 ( DDA) and requires all public bodies to have 'due regard' to:
1. The need to promote equality of opportunity between disabled people and other people.
2. The need to eliminate discrimination that is unlawful under the DDA.
3. The need to eliminate disability related harassment.
4. The need to promote positive attitudes towards disabled people.
5. The need to encourage participation by disabled people in public life.
6. The need to take steps to meet disabled peoples' needs, even if this requires more favourable treatment.
In addition, Scottish Ministers placed specific duties on listed public authorities through the Disability Discrimination (Public Authorities) (Statutory Duties) (Scotland) Regulations 2005, and 2007. These specific duties require listed bodies, including the Scottish Government, to publish a Disability Equality Scheme and to report annually.
Under the existing disability equality duty, Scottish Ministers also have a duty to publish reports on the progress being made by public authorities on disability equality and set out proposals for co-ordination of action by public authorities to progress towards disability equality. Scottish Ministers published their response to this duty on 28 November 2008. These reports can be viewed online on the Scottish Government's website. Activity is underway to make progress on these priority areas.
Further information and advice about the disability equality duty, including the statutory code of practice, is available from the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the enforcement body for the public sector equality duties.
Scottish Government Disability Equality Scheme
The Scottish Government's Disability Equality Scheme for 2008-11 was published on 24 May 2008. Further details about our approach to disability equality and the development of our Disability Equality Scheme are set out in the first three chapters of the scheme, which is available on the Scottish Government's website.
As part of our disability equality duties, we are required to publish an annual report setting out the progress we have made towards disability equality, and to report on the outcome of information gathering. This document is the Scottish Government's 2010 annual report.
Structure of the annual report
This report provides a detailed description of Government activity to make progress on disability equality. It contains five chapters which are:
Chapter 1 (this chapter) provides the introduction to the report, and to the disability equality duty.
Chapter 2 sets out the Scottish context for work to promote disability equality. It describes our general approach.
Chapter 3 provides an update of key corporate activity to improve our approach to mainstreaming disability equality, including Equality Impact Assessment, and equality considerations as part of budget decisions.
Chapter 4 describes in further detail how we are making progress in gathering information and using data.
Chapter 5 provides a detailed description of Scottish Government work to promote disability equality, within the framework of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Appendix 1 provides background information on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, including reporting, monitoring and parallel reporting.
Appendix 2 reports on Scottish Government's progress as an employer.
Appendix 3 reports on progress in gathering information and using data.
Coverage of the Scottish Government's Disability Equality Scheme and Annual Report
The Disability Equality Scheme covers all Scottish Government Directorates and Agencies. Agencies are established by Ministers as part of the Scottish Government's portfolio to carry out a discrete area of work.
Current Scottish Government Agencies are:
Accountant in Bankruptcy
HM Inspectorate of Education
National Archives of Scotland
Registers of Scotland
Scottish Court Service
the Scottish Housing Regulator
Scottish Prison Service
Scottish Public Pension Agency
Social Work Inspection Agency
Student Awards Agency for Scotland
The National Archives of Scotland and the Registers of Scotland are Scottish Government Agencies which also have the duty placed on them directly and must produce their own scheme. The Scottish Prison Service and Scottish Courts Service are Scottish Government Agencies that have chosen to publish their own associate schemes rather than be included within the Government's document. The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service will produce its own annual report.
Non-Ministerial Directorates and Agencies are not headed by a Minister and answer directly to legislature. These are not covered by the Scottish Government's disability equality scheme.
General Register Office for Scotland
Office for the Scottish Charity Regulator ( OSCR)