The mayor of London’s new scheme for promoting disability equality is vague, confusing and “shows signs of having been pulled together in a hurry”, according to the capital’s leading disabled people’s organisation (DPO).
The draft version of the mayor’s disability equality scheme (DES) describes how the Greater London Authority (GLA) – which is led by the mayor – will use its powers to improve equality for disabled people.
The DES should set out clear objectives for improved disability equality in areas such as planning, transport, policing, culture, housing and economic development, and describe how improvements will be measured.
But Inclusion London, which represents London’s Deaf and disabled people, said much of the draft DES was “vague” and “confusing”.
In an information paper, Inclusion London points to figures showing the proportion of the GLA workforce who said they were disabled fell from 51 of 662 employees (eight per cent) in September 2008, to just 40 of 581 (seven per cent) last September. The draft scheme fails to include an objective for increasing this figure.
In the chapter on measuring success, there are no targets set for culture, planning, tourism, or any mention of a target of 10 per cent new hotel bedrooms to be wheelchair accessible, which is mentioned elsewhere in the DES.
The Inclusion London paper says the GLA will have a legal duty under the new Equality Act to set equality objectives and take action to achieve them.
And it says it is “vital” that the DES is improved so the GLA’s disability equality objectives are “more comprehensive, state clearly what the objectives are, what specific actions are to be taken to implement the objectives, how improvement will be measured and what will success look like”.
A GLA spokesman declined to comment on the specific criticisms, although the draft DES says the GLA will do “further work to identify the measures most relevant to disability equality and publish the relevant data” during 2010-11.
The spokesman added: “The disability equality scheme is open to public consultation, which runs to the middle of October, and people can contribute their views.”
To take part in the consultation, which closes on 15 October, visit: www.london.gov.uk/consultation/disability-equality-scheme
Meanwhile, Inclusion London is holding a half-day seminar on 23 September to examine the impact of the disability measures contained in the new Equality Act. The act starts to come into force in October. For more information, visit: www.inclusionlondon.co.uk
28 July 2010