DCAN 11(Draft): Access for all - Designing for an Accessible Environment
Legislation and Codes of Practice (Page 3 of 5)
The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 Code of Practice - Rights of Access: Goods, Facilities, Services and Premises
3.17 A Code of Practice was issued by the Department of Health and Social Services in 1996 to provide guidance and interpretation of the specific duties placed on service providers by Part III of the Disability Discrimination Act . This was subsequently revised in 1999.
3.18 The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland is currently preparing a further revision of the Code which will provide up to date guidance on the additional duties on service providers to make adjustments when the physical features of their premises make it impossible or unreasonably difficult for people with disabilities to use their services.
3.19 Although these remaining duties do not come into force until October 2004, a draft of the revised Code is already available from the Equality Commission in order to encourage service providers to be proactive and to assist them in preparing for their extended obligations. The draft Code can be accessed at www.equalityni.org .
3.20 It is anticipated that a final version of the revised Code of Practice will be issued during 2003. It will accompany new Regulations made under the DDA regarding the duty of service providers in relation to the adjustment of premises.
The Northern Ireland Act 1998
3.21 Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 requires that:
“a public authority shall in carrying out its functions relating to Northern Ireland have due regard to the need to promote equality of opportunity –
- Between persons of different religious belief, political opinion, racial group, age, martial status or sexual orientation;
- Between men and women generally;
- Between persons with a disability and persons without; and
- Between persons with dependants and persons without.”
3.22 Service providers that are designated as public authorities therefore have a duty to have due regard to the need to promote equality of opportunity for people with disabilities (among others). These duties complement and reinforce those required by the DDA.
The Disability Discrimination (Services and Premises) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1999
3.23 These Regulations make provision for various things to be treated as physical features for the purposes of the DDA. These include any feature arising from the design or construction of a building and any approach to, exit from or access to a building.
The Equality (Disability, etc.) (Northern Ireland) Order 2000
3.24 This Order ensures that people with disabilities in Northern Ireland have, through the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, rights broadly similar to those available to people with disabilities in Great Britain through the Disability Rights Commission. This was a major step forward in achieving equality of opportunity for disabled people in Northern Ireland.