Posted: 18 June, 2002
Government plans to set up a single new anti-discrimination commission, replacing three existing agencies, could make disability laws more difficult to implement, the RNIB has warned.
The scheme, announced to Parliament last month by Home Office minister Barbara Roche, proposes to replace the Equal Opportunities Commission, Commission for Racial Equality and Disability Rights Commission with a single body that would also cover discrimination on the grounds of age, sexual orientation and religion.
However, the RNIB fears the new body would lack focus, which could jeopardise the effective introduction of new laws covering disability, with key parts of the Disability Discrimination Act and the Special Educational Needs and Discrimination Act being phased in over the next few years.
"It's important that there's a body focusing uniquely on disability, providing advice and consultation to employers and schools, for example, as each part of an act comes in," Steve Winyard of the RNIB told E-Access Bulletin this week.
The government aims to report findings this autumn, but according to Roche, any major changes are unlikely in the short-term.
"I would not expect any new structures to be operative in the lifetime of this Parliament," she said.