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Disability Discrimination Act - Update

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

The Minister for Social Care today made the following statement to Tynwald providing an update on the implementation of the Disability Discrimination Act 2006.

The Minister for Social Care Hon Chris Robertshaw MHK said:

'Thank you Madam President.

As Honourable Members will be aware in April this year this Honourable Court approved a Motion stating that:

‘Tynwald acknowledges the work undertaken to date on the phased implementation of the Disability Discrimination Act; and is of the opinion that this phased approach should continue and that the Department should publish by the end of 2013 a timetable detailing next steps for the implementation of the Act.’

My Department has continued the progression of work as outlined to this Honourable Court in April. A multi-agency forum with representatives from the Private and Third Sectors has been established and is holding regular meetings. In addition the Department has developed, and agreed, a service specification with Crossroads for the provision of the Access Service.

However as Honourable Members will be aware since giving this commitment the Chief Minister has announced the Government’s intention to bring forward new Equality Legislation based on the UK Equality Act 2010.

The new Equality Legislation will repeal the Disability Discrimination Act in its entirety. This is because discrimination for disabled people under the proposed Equality Legislation will go further than the DDA in a range of circumstances, covering the provision of goods, facilities and services, the exercise of public functions, premises, work, education, and associations.

The Department has been provided with anticipated timescales for the development of the new Equality Legislation and, given that we have received confirmation it will repeal the Disability Discrimination Act in its entirety, we have had to take this into account when looking at implementation.

My Department has therefore considered in detail the practical implications of taking forward the implementation of the Act itself and discussed potential options with the Multi Agency Forum.

In light of this I would like to set out the following revised timetable:

  • January to April 2014: Progression of the “Tiered Award” Scheme through the Access Service provided by Crossroads Care and supported by the Departments of Social Care and Infrastructure
  • April to December 2014: Engagement on disability issues - Programme of communication, forums etc with key stakeholders to raise awareness of the Tiered Award Scheme
  • May 2014: Anticipated consultation on new Equality Legislation
  • August to January 2015: Development by the Department and Multi-Agency Forum of –
    • 1. Determination of “Reasonable” in context of the draft Equality Legislation
    • 2. Regulations and guidance required for the implementation of the draft Equality Legislation
  • January to May 2016: Second phase of engagement on Disability issues in preparation for implementation of the new Equality Legislation
  •  Second Quarter of 2016: Anticipated Royal Assent for new Equality Legislation subject to public consultation response and approval by the Branches
  •  July 2016: Anticipated implementation of disability parts of the new Equality Legislation

As you will note the Department in conjunction with the Multi-Agency Forum, will both input into the development of the Equality Legislation and also progress the required work around the determination of “reasonable”, and any required regulations and guidance. This will enable the implementation of the provisions of the Equality Legislation relating to disability to be implemented shortly following Royal Assent.

In addition the Department and the Multi Agency Forum will oversee the implementation of the Tiered Award Scheme and promote its use across the Private and Third Sectors.

The Department will also outside of the formal consultation process on the new Equality Legislation lead a programme of engagement with key stakeholders promoting the Tiered Award Scheme and raising awareness of disability issues.

It is anticipated that this would allow implementation of the disability provisions of the Equality Legislation from July 2016.

This should not be interpreted as a delay in implementation but simply practical management of the integration of the two pieces of Legislation.

Madam President the Department considers the approach taken will avoid any confusion amongst the public and businesses about consultation on regulations under an Act that will be subsequently repealed. In addition a greater period of engagement and time for the Tiered Awards Scheme to operate would be more beneficial and help raise awareness of disability issues ahead of the enactment of the new Equality Legislation. Thank you.'

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