Duty to promote equality for disabled people

Duty To Promote Equality Of Opportunity for Disabled People

The specific duties to promote disability equality came into force on 4 December 2006 and require listed public authorities, like the Scottish Government, to publish a disability equality scheme setting out how they intend to meet their duty to promote equality for disabled people. A link to the Scottish Government's disability equality schemes for 2008-11 and 2006 are below, as well as a link to the Annual Reports for 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Scottish Government Disability Equality Scheme Annual report 2009

Scottish Government Disability Equality Scheme Annual Report 2008

Scottish Government Disability Equality Scheme 2008-11

Scottish Government Disability Equality Scheme Annual Report 2007

Scottish Executive Disability Equality Scheme 2006

General and Specific Duties

The general duty

1. One of the principal provisions of the new Disability Discrimination Act 2005 will introduce a duty on the public sector to promote equality for disabled people. It has been designed to mirror the duty to promote race equality, but takes account of the differences between race relations law, and disability discrimination law. Thus, the Act sets out a general duty which will require every public authority in carrying out its functions to have due regard to:

a) the need to eliminate discrimination that is unlawful under the Act

b) the need to eliminate harassment of disabled persons that is related to their disability

c) the need to promote equality of opportunity between disabled persons and other persons

d) the need to take steps to take account of disabled persons' disabilities, even where that involves treating disabled people more favourably than other persons

e) the need to promote positive attitudes towards disabled persons

f) the need to encourage participation by disabled persons in public life

Specific duties

2. The Disability Discrimination Act 2005 follows the Race Relations (Amendment) Act in providing that specific duties applying to certain public bodies can be prescribed in regulations. These specific duties are laid down by Scottish Ministers in the Disability Discrimination (Public Authorities) (Satutory Duties) (Scotland) Regulations 2005. They set out specific steps which listed bodies must take to fulfil the general duty, including a duty to:

  • publish a Disability Equality Scheme demonstrating how it intends to fulfil its general and specific duties;

  • involve disabled people in the development of the scheme;

  • carryout impact assessments;

  • make arrangements for gathering relevant information;

  • develop and 'action plan';

  • take the steps set out in its action plan, within three years;

  • publish a report.

Code of Practice

4. A statutory Code of Practice, produced by the Disability Rights Commission (DRC), provides practical advice on what the duty means and how public authorities can meet their obligations and is available on the Equality and Human Rights Commission Website.