HC Deb 02 March 1999 vol 326 c699W
Mr. Berry

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what assessment he has made of the impact on his Department's policies of the goods and services provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 to be implemented in October 1999. [71268]

Mr. Galbraith

[holding answer 22 February 1999] We are acting to ensure that the Department's policies meet the needs of disabled people and comply with legal requirements. The Department already takes positive steps to make it easier for disabled people to make use of its services. We shall continue to do so, not only by complying fully with new duties in the Disability Discrimination Act but by aiming to do more where appropriate.

Existing guidance on policy appraisal is currently being reviewed in the light of the guidance "Policy Appraisal for Equal Treatment" which the Cabinet Office issued to all Government Departments in November 1998. This was signed jointly by the Minister for Women, the Secretary of State for Education and Employment and the Home Secretary. The new guidance will ensure that all new and existing policies and programmes are assessed for any differential impact, not only on disabled people but on women and people from ethnic minorities. That includes the need to ensure that policies and their outcomes comply with the law. Where necessary, we shall act to remove any differential impact.

From 1 July 1999, this will be a matter for the Scottish Parliament. The report of the Consultative Steering Group on the Scottish Parliament strongly recommended that the Parliament should have an Equal Opportunities Committee. Monitoring and reporting of progress on the Disability Discrimination Act will be for the Scottish Executive.