The Disability Rights Commission has warned that public sector organisations risk legal action if they ignore the new disability equality duty.
The duty, introduced yesterday (4 December), will affect the way public authorities run and plan their services for the 10 million people who have rights under the Disability Discrimination Act. About 45,000 public bodies will be affected by the law.
Publicly funded organisations must publish an equality scheme that shows how they intend to fulfil the duty. The scheme must show how a public body intends to eliminate unlawful discrimination and promote equality of opportunity.
Bert Massie, Disability Rights Commission chairman, said the commission would be scrutinising these schemes from today.
“The duty will help public bodies become more efficient because it involves providing services that disabled people need,” he said. “Those who fail to meet their new legal duties risk facing us in court.”
Anne McGuire, minister for disabled people, said: “With the new duty, the public sector is taking the lead to ensure that disabled people’s needs are considered at the outset of planning services.”
The government will also reveal this week the members of the Equality 2025 taskforce, which will bring the voices of disabled people into policy making. The name refers to the government’s aim to achieve equality for disabled people by 2025.