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Disability Equality Duty

Work and Pensions written question – answered on 5th February 2007.

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Photo of Dame Cheryl Gillan Dame Cheryl Gillan Shadow Secretary of State for Wales

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how he plans to make Government information available to deaf and blind people under the Disability Equality Duty.

Photo of Anne McGuire Anne McGuire The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

The Disability Equality Duty, which came into force on 4 December, requires by law that public-sector bodies, including all Government Departments, executive agencies and Ministers, promote equality for disabled people. All Government Departments and agencies were required to produce a Disability Equality Scheme setting out how they will achieve this by December 2006.

The DWP published its DES on 1 December while its four businesses—the Child Support Agency, Jobcentre Plus, the Disability and Carers Service and the Pension Service—have published their own schemes. We worked closely with disabled customers, representative groups and leading disabled charities in developing these schemes and will continue to consult them as we review and improve the schemes over time.

We ensure that all our customers can access our information by:

providing a variety of alternative formats, including Braille, large print, audiocassette, British Sign Language (BSL) tape and Easy Read guide where appropriate, ensuring that alternative formats are available at the same time as English and Welsh versions; ensuring that customers can still access our information when their chosen alternative format is not available. For example, as part of the consultation on the Welfare Reform Green Paper, we worked closely with charities to organise briefings for groups of disabled people on the key proposals. We adopted the same approach when seeking the views of disabled people on the Child Support White Paper.

We have also recently published a new Accessible Written Information Standard which sets the minimum level which all the Department's written communications must meet in order to be accessible.

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