As part of its intention to improve social inclusion, Swale Borough Council is striving to remove the barriers faced by disabled people and to promote actively their equality of opportunity. The physical barriers that have blocked disabled people's ambitions include steps (bad news for wheelchair users), small print (bad news for visually impaired people) and a lack of induction loops (bad news for the hearing impaired). There are many other barriers (attitudes and assumptions by others, for example) and the council intends to do all it can to eliminate them where it can.
The primary legislation that supports this work s the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA). Originally passed in 1995 it has subsequently been amended, principally by the revision in 2005, and other allied Acts of Parliament tie in with the aims of the Act (in Education, for example). The most prominent part of the DDA is part 3, which covers 'access to goods and services'. If you provide a service to the public - whether you are a butcher, baker or candlestick maker - you will need to try your hardest to eliminate the barriers that might prevent disabled people enjoying the same kind of service as everyone else. That often means doing something about a step or toilet, for example, but it could mean many other things.
The Disability Rights Commission was set up to oversee the working of the DDA. Although it much prefers conciliation, it has the power to take up cases of discrimination on behalf of aggrieved individuals - they have 'teeth'. It is planned to absorb the work of the DRC into a new overall equalities commission known as the Commission for Equalities and Human Rights. There is also an Office of Disability Issues, which helps co-ordinate issues between Government Departments.
There are a variety of Acts of Parliament relevant to disability issues but the main recent ones are:
There are other Acts of Parliament, such as the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970 etc, but they are beyond the scope of these pages.