(2) what consultation methods will be used to involve (a) people with disabilities and (b) representative organisations in the development of her Department’s disability equality scheme;
(3) whether she has made an assessment of which policy areas will be considered in her report on progress towards disability equality within her Department’s policy sector due for publication in December 2008;
(4) what information-gathering and other actions (a) her Department and (b) other relevant bodies are taking to inform the production of the report on progress towards disability equality within her Department’s policy sector.
My Department plans to publish its Disability Equality Scheme on or before 4 December 2006. The Scheme will be available online, and will be available on request in accessible formats, including in print.
In consulting with disabled people and their representative organisations, the department approached contacts provided by the Disability Rights Commission. These contacts were invited to discuss disability issues relating to DCLG policy areas, propose solutions and recommend priorities for the Disability Equality Scheme. Those unable to attend were interviewed by phone. Meetings were held on housing and inclusive design, and two meetings were also co-ordinated by RADAR, an umbrella body covering a number of disabled people’s organisations.
DCLG’s Disabled Staff Network were also invited to discuss their priorities for the Disability Equality Scheme. In addition information from a major consultation exercise with disabled staff in 2005 was used to help develop actions on employment in the Scheme.
To date my Department has not decided which policy areas will be included in the Secretary of State’s 2008 report on progress towards disability equality within the Department’s policy sector. However it is likely that the major policy areas will be included.
My Department and other relevant bodies will carry out a number of information-gathering and other actions to help inform the 2008 Secretary of State’s report. These will be set out in the action plan of the Department’s Disability Equality Scheme.