The government launched a new Office for Disability Issues (ODI) yesterday to focus on promoting equality for disabled people.
The ODI was set up to ensure government departments work together to make disability a priority after the publication of its Improving the Life Chances of Disabled People, report in January.
John Hutton, secretary of state for work and pensions, said: “We need to improve the way government supports disabled people in living independently – and the new Office for Disability Issues represents a huge step forward. It demonstrates the government’s welfare reform agenda is about achieving substantive equality for disabled people – promoting opportunity to work for those who can, together with increased support for those who cannot.”
The ODI will support a ministerial steering group of representatives from six departments: Department for Work and Pensions, Department of Health, Department for Education and Skills, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, Department for Transport and the Department of Trade and Industry.
The launch coincides with the government’s ‘Adjusting for Better Business’ campaign aimed at raising greater awareness about the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) among small and medium employers and service providers.
But two-thirds of companies are still failing to provide adequate facilities for people with disabilities, a recent survey by recruitment consultancy Select Appointments revealed.
Almost all of the 700 respondent said they would like to see changes carried out in their workplace to make the environment more inclusive for disabled employees.
The DDA will extend its protection next Monday (5 December) to include people with multiple sclerosis, cancer and HIV.