HC Deb 12 March 2004 vol 418 cc1784-5W
Mr. Goodman

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what measures his Department is taking to prepare education institutions for the implementation of the parts of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 which come into effect later this year. [160690]

Mr. Charles Clarke

[holding answer 11 March 2004]: The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) makes provision in Part 2 about discrimination in the employment field; in Part 3 about discrimination by providers of goods, facilities and services to the public or a section of the public; in Part 4 about discrimination in the education field (Chapter 1 deals with schools and Chapter 2 with Further and Higher Education); and Part 5 about public transport.

The DDA will shortly be amended by the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (Amendment) Regulations 2003 ("the 2003 Regulations") coming into force on I October 2004. These Regulations largely implement the requirements of the disability strand of the Employment Directive (Directive 2000/78/EC). Substantial amendments are made to Part 2 of the DDA, and also in one area of Part 3, namely that of employment services. The 2003 Regulations do not, however, implement the Directive's requirements in relation to qualifications, vocational guidance and vocational training insofar as those requirements impact on areas covered by Part 4 of the DDA. Separate Regulations implementing the Directive in relation to Part 4 will be made by the Secretary of State for Education and Skills in due course. Therefore, with regard to the 2003 Regulations, educational institutions, as providers of education, will not be affected by the changes which come into force on 1 October 2004.

The DDA was amended by the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001 (SENDA), which largely addresses the requirements of the Employment Directive in relation to vocational training in education institutions. The next amendment under SENDA, in relation to education, is not due for implementation until 2005 when a duty in further and higher education regarding 'premises' comes into force. At this point only the implementation of the DDA Part 3 affecting premises of service providers (but excluding education institutions) will remain. DIES will consult on any proposed changes needed to bring the Employment Directive fully into effect, but will not bring those amendments in before the final SENDA provisions are implemented in 2005.

The Department of Trade and Industry is responsible for taking measures to prepare employers for the changes under part 2 of the DDA.