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Disability Discrimination Act

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of (a) public bodies and (b) private companies which are
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compliant with the provisions (i) of the Disability Discrimination Act 2005 and (ii) the provisions of the Act relating to disabled parking facilities. [44124]

Mrs. McGuire: It is too soon to make any estimates of the number of public bodies and private companies which are meeting their duties under the Disability Discrimination Act 2005 (DDA 2005), since the first duties under the Act were only recently introduced on 5 December 2005, and others do not come into force until at least 4 December 2006.

As part of the Department for Work and Pensions research programme, the Department expects to undertake research in due course to ascertain how those with duties under the DDA 2005 respond to those duties.

Estimates of the impact of the DDA 2005 and Regulations made under it on public bodies and private organisations have been published as regulatory impact assessments 1 and placed in the Library of this House.

The DDA 2005 makes no provision in respect of disabled parking facilities.

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many fines have been imposed on (a) public and (b) private bodies found to be non-compliant with the provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act 2005. [44126]

Mrs. McGuire: In general, any individual act of disability discrimination committed by a public or private body contrary to the provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA), as amended by the Disability Discrimination Act 2005 (DDA 2005), is a civil wrong which will give rise to a remedy which usually includes damages, rather than the imposition of a fine. The DDA 2005 did introduce one new criminal offence from 5 December 2005 relating to the publication of discriminatory advertisements for which a fine can be imposed. We have no knowledge of any such cases arising where the relevant offence has been committed and a fine imposed.

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what measures are undertaken to determine compliance with the Disability Discrimination Act 2005; and by whom. [44127]

Mrs. McGuire: The Department for Work and Pensions regularly undertakes research into the responses of those with duties under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) and expects to carry out further research in relation to duties under the Disability Discrimination Act 2005 (DDA 2005), which amended the DDA, in due course.

However, whether those with duties under the DDA meet the requirements of the Act not to discriminate against an individual disabled person for a reason
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related to their disability is a matter to be determined on a case-by-case basis by courts or tribunals, as appropriate.

The Disability Rights Commission has a role in supporting those with duties to meet those duties and also in assisting with enforcement of the Act. It may: support legal cases in certain circumstances; issue non-discrimination notices; enter into agreements in lieu of enforcement action; and conduct Formal Investigations. Later this year it will publish, subject to the approval of Parliament, a revised Code of Practice largely for those provisions of the DDA 2005 which will come into force on 4 December 2006 relating to the duties of service providers in both the public and private sectors.

From 4 December 2006 most executive public bodies will be required to publish a Disability Equality Scheme which sets out how they intend to fulfil the various requirements of the Disability Equality Duty introduced by the DDA 2005. The Duty requires that the Scheme includes monitoring and assessment arrangements to measure the impact of a public body's policies, and that the Scheme is reviewed and revised at least every three years.

Disability Living Allowance

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the cost of lowering the entitlement age for the higher rate of the mobility component of disability living allowance to two years old. [50995]

Mrs. McGuire: In April 2001 we changed the entitlement age limit from five to three years of age because medical advice is that age three is the earliest point at which it can be reasonably determined whether a child's inability, or virtual inability, to walk is the result of physical disability rather than late development. We have no plans to make further changes to the lower age limit for entitlement to the higher rate of the disability living allowance mobility component, therefore no estimate has been made of the costs.

Disabled Parents

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what his estimate is of the number of disabled parents in each region of the UK; [44591]

(2) what organisations that assist disabled parents are funded by his Department; and how much financial support was provided to each in the (a) 2004–05 and (b) 2005–06 financial year; [44593]

(3) what advice is offered by his Department to disabled parents concerning the benefits and support that is available to them. [44592]

Mrs. McGuire [holding answer 24 January 2006]: The Department for Work and Pensions is committed to providing accurate information on our benefits, programmes and services.

The Directgov website for disabled people ( is the central point for all information from Government, providing a single source of information on the full range of services for disabled people, including benefits and other financial support. All Departments contribute to the information
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and services for disabled people, which is now written and co-ordinated within the new Office for Disability Issues (ODI). The Directgov website also features sections on Parenting and Education, through which information on benefits and services can also be accessed.

The Disability and Carers Service (DCS) does not specifically target information at disabled parents; however, they have an outreach programme of local, regional and national events involving dedicated officers visiting representatives from external customer organisations and groups.

The purpose of the programme is to ensure that a consistent corporate message is communicated to all customer representative groups and organisations, and to provide accurate information on our benefits and services.

There is no current provision for this Department to provide core funding to external organisations. However, work is under way on a project to research information and advice required by disabled people and review existing cross-Government provision. The ODI will work across Government to develop proposals to improve the provision of information and advice about services to disabled people.

The information is in the following table.
Number of disabled parents, including those with limiting longstanding illnesses, in the UK by region

North East0.075
North West and Merseyside0.1914
Yorkshire and Number0.139
East Midlands0.097
West Midlands0.129
South East0.1310
South West0.097
Northern Ireland0.054

Estimates relate to the number of disabled people, including people with limiting, longstanding illnesses, who have at least one dependent child.
Family Resources Survey, 2003–04. United Kingdom

Early Retirement

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many departmental employees have taken early retirement due to ill-health in each of the past five years for which figures are available. [46770]

Mrs. McGuire: The Department for Work and Pensions takes seriously its responsibilities for managing attendance. We have an attendance management policy in place which was commended by the NAO as meeting best practice. The policy includes guidance for line managers on when ill-health retirement should be considered. Ill-health retirement (IHR) is considered when a member of staff has a recognised health condition which is likely to be permanent and which prevents them from carrying out their normal duties. The criteria for
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IHR are set by the Principle Civil Service Pension Scheme and were considerably tightened when the pension scheme arrangements were last reviewed. Although applications for IHR are made by managers or staff, decisions are made by the PCSPS medical adviser.

The Department was created in 2001 and figures on the numbers of employees taking ill-health retirement since then are shown in the following table.
Period (year ending)Number of IHR'sFTE(57)
March 2002276247.58
March 2003236207.45
March 2004193172.36
March 2005210185.92

(57) Full time equivalent—takes into account part-time working patterns

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