Staffordshire County Council
Disability Equality Scheme
1 4 December 2006
Staffordshire County Council Disability Equality Scheme
What is a Disability Equality Scheme?
National and Local Context
Models of Disability
Vision, Priorities and Objectives
Involving People with Disabilities
Monitoring, Evaluation and Review
Equality Impact Assessments
2 4 December 2006
Thank you to all of the organisations and individuals who were involved in
creating the Staffordshire Disability Equality Scheme, by completing a survey,
attending a focus group or taking part in a mystery shopper exercise.
Those we would like to thank include:
A Plus Self-Help Group
Abbots Bromley Community Transport
Age Concern South Staffordshire
Albert House (Mental Health Drop-in Centre)
Alcohol & Drugs Service in Staffordshire
Alzheimers Society (Lichfield & District)
Arthritis Care (Cannock & District Branch)
Arthritis Care (Stafford)
Ashbourne Community Transport
Burntwood Citizens Advice Bureau
Burntwood Live at Home Scheme
Burton Centre for the Blind
Burton Day Service
Burton Hospitals NHS Trust (Speech & Language Therapy)
Burton PHAB Club
Cannock Special Needs Toy Library
Cerebral Palsy (mid Staffordshire)
Cystic Fibrosis Trust (North Staffordshire Branch)
Development Co-ordination Disorder Team (Dyspraxia)
Donna Louise Trust
Down Syndrome Support Group (South Staffordshire)
Dyslexia Action Stone Centre
Dystonia Group (Staffordshire & Shropshire)
East Staffordshire Racial Equality Council
English Federation of Disability Sport
Homestart (Lichfield & District)
Homestart Staffordshire Moorlands
Huntington's Disease Association
Kidsgrove Day Service
Leek Dyslexia and Literacy Support
Lichfield Day Service
Lichfield District Art Association
Lichfield Greenhill Bower
ME Staffordshire Support
3 4 December 2006
Mid Staffs Mencap
Multiple Sclerosis Society (Cannock & District)
Multiple Sclerosis Society (East Staffordshire)
Multiple Sclerosis Society (Stafford & District)
Multiple Sclerosis Society (Tamworth/Lichfield)
North Staffordshire Carers Association
North Staffordshire Mind
North Staffordshire Racial Equality Council
Parents Forum Staffordshire
Parkinsons Disease Society Support Group (Burton & District)
Rethink - Holbrook House
South Staffordshire Network for Mental Health
South Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust
SSH NHS Trust Drayton Team
Stafford Stroke Club
Staffordshire Housing Association
Sutton Trust Community Group
Syndromes Without A Name
Tamworth Monday Blind Club
We would also like to thank everyone who was involved in facilitating focus
groups around the County, including:
Community Action & Support - East Staffordshire
Lichfield Health & Social Care Liason Team
Paul Busby Associates
Staffordshire Moorlands CVS
4 4 December 2006
Disability Equality Scheme
This Disability Equality Scheme is a joint venture between East Staffordshire
Borough Council, Keele University, Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council,
South Staffordshire District Council, Stafford Borough Council, Staffordshire
County Council, Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service and Staffordshire Police.
The implementation of this countywide Scheme, involving people with
disabilities from across the county and the collaboration of a wide range of
public bodies, should signal the beginning of the end to the discrimination
which often occurs when institutions fail to take into account the impact upon
disabled people when developing services or policies.
It is essential that within Staffordshire this duty leads to real outcomes and
practical improvements in the day-to-day life and experience of disabled
people in the county. At the heart of the duty is the need to involve disabled
people, which will increase the effectiveness of public bodies across
Staffordshire in identifying and prioritising equality initiatives.
We firmly believe that this will not only make a real difference to disabled
people but will also be essential for everyone across Staffordshire who is
touched by disability, whether as a service user, employee, pupil, or carer. By
taking a countywide approach we hope to produce a more joined-up approach
in order to ensure that all disabled people can participate fully as equal
At Staffordshire County Council we recognise the importance of celebrating
diversity in the employment we offer and the services that we design and
deliver. We welcome this partnership approach and look forward to working
with you over the next three years to achieve our shared vision of making
disability equality a reality, and Staffordshire a “great place to live, work, visit
and invest” for everyone.
5 4 December 2006
The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995 amended by the DDA 2005,
places a statutory General Duty on all public authorities to promote disability
The new General Duty means that we must, in carrying out our functions,
have due regard to the need to:
eliminate discrimination that is unlawful under the Disability
promote equality of opportunity between disabled people and others
eliminate harassment of disabled people that is related to their disability
promote positive attitudes towards disabled people
encourage participation by disabled people in public life
take steps to meet disabled people’s needs, even if this requires more
“Due regard” means that authorities should give due weight to the need to
promote disability equality in proportion to its relevance to disability.
The Duty covers all functions and activities, not just employment and service
delivery but also budget setting, procurement, regulatory functions and setting
the framework within which the organisation will deliver services. This places
a positive, proactive responsibility on authorities to work towards a more equal
society by thinking about the needs of disabled people when developing
services and functions, rather than adjustments at the end.
6 4 December 2006
3. What is a Disability Equality Scheme?
In order for the Council to meet the requirements of the General Duty, the
DDA 2005 imposes a number of statutory specific duties. The Specific Duties
to publish a Disability Equality Scheme with a three year action plan;
to show how disabled people have been involved in developing the
to develop methods for assessing the impact of its policies and
practices, or the likely impact of its proposed policies and practices on
to set out arrangements for gathering information on the effect of its
policies and practices on disabled people;
to monitor, check and report annually on the steps it has taken to meet
the requirements of the DDA 2005.
7 4 December 2006
4. National and Local Context
The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 defines a disabled person as “someone
who has a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term
adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.”
The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 now extends the legal definition to
cover HIV, cancer and multiple sclerosis from the point of diagnosis. In reality,
disabled people are a diverse group including young and old, different races
and religions/beliefs, of different genders and cultural backgrounds, gay and
lesbian and those who have different impairments.
Disability is defined by the 2001 Census as a Long-Term Limiting Illness
The exact number of people who are disabled within Britain is unclear. The
Disability Rights Commission statistics indicate that there are over 10 million
disabled people in Britain. 4.6 million of these are over State Pension Age and
700,000 are children (figures determined from the Family Resources Survey
2003-2004). Disability increases with age: only 10% of adults aged 16-24 are
disabled, but one third of people between the age of 50 and retirement age
Approximately 800,000 people live in Staffordshire. Over 73% of
Staffordshire's population live in the 19 principal settlements in the County,
with the remaining 27% living in rural areas, villages and settlements.
Results from the 2001 Census found that 18% of the population in
Staffordshire had a limiting long-term illness which affected their normal
activity. This equates to nearly 147,000 in the County. Only 4% of all people
with a limiting long-term illness live in a communal establishment such as a
Of the total population aged 50 and over, 36% have a limiting long-term
illness. The percentage of the population with a limiting long-term illness
increases with age, of the retired population in Staffordshire 42% have a
limiting long-term illness and this rises to 60% of the population for those
aged 75 and over.
Within the working age population, 13% have a limiting long-term illness and
only 3% of those aged 18 and under have a limiting long-term illness.
(Statistics taken from 'Staffordshire Demographic and Workforce Analysis for
Equalities Planning' produced by Development Services' Research Unit)
The table below shows the number of people with limiting long-term illness
8 4 December 2006
Table 1: People with limiting long-term illness (Census 2001)
England 8,809,194 17.9
Staffordshire 148,004 18.3
Cannock 18,308 19.9
East Staffs 17,723 17.1
Lichfield 16,001 17.2
Newcastle-under-Lyme 25,430 20.8
South Staffs 17,985 17.0
Stafford 21,199 17.6
Staffs Moorlands 18,818 19.9
Tamworth 12,540 16.8
Staffordshire County Council employs over 28,000 staff. Of these, 2.06% of
our employees declare that they have a disability (2005/06).
9 4 December 2006
5. Models of Disability
Michael Oliver in ‘Understanding Disability 1996’ defined a disabled person
1. The presence of an impairment (Medical Model – underpins current
definition under the Act and focuses on causes of disability due to
2. The experience of externally imposed restrictions (Social Model – focus
is firmly on the barriers put in place by society and considers the social
environment of the disabled person, which may prevent them from
fulfilling their true potential.)
3. Self-identification as a disabled person (Representational Model – this
model focuses on how a disabled person represents the world from
their perspective, it recognises both the medical and social models but
goes further in recognising that the spiritual and emotional needs of the
person also need to be taken into account.)
We recognise that there are different models of disability, each of which have
their own individual merits and weaknesses. For the purposes of this scheme
we will be adopting the social model of disability but will aim in the longer term
to take on board the representational model.
10 4 December 2006
6. Vision, Priorities and Objectives
Staffordshire County Council has a clear vision and strategic focus for the
Council's longer-term ambitions and the greater impact we can make to the
quality of life and Staffordshire's people and communities. The following are
key to achieving our vision:
Seamless frontline services focused on customers and communities;
Outcome focused and performance driven culture so that we know that we
have made a difference;
Excellent service quality;
A strong value base;
Passionate, committed and enthusiastic people;
Recognised as an employer of choice;
Equality of opportunity for all.
We aspire to be an "excellent" council, both for the quality of services we
provide and through national recognition as a "leading" council.
(Source: Staffordshire 2012, The Strategic Plan 2006 - 2009)
Our Scheme sets out the framework, contributing to Staffordshire County
Council's vision; a framework within which we can promote equality for, and
prevent discrimination against, disabled people as users of our services, as
our employees and member of the community. The following objectives are
intended to support and complement this framework:
Objective 1 – We will eliminate discrimination against disabled people
Making the environment as safe as possible for disabled people.
Ensuring that no existing or potential employee or service user will
receive less favourable treatment than another on the grounds of
Challenging patronising or discriminating attitudes
Objective 2 - We will promote equality of opportunity for disabled people
Removing barriers to accessibility, particularly in relation to
employment and access to services, information and buildings
Ensuring that disability equality is embedded throughout our strategic
objectives and Corporate Plans.
Promoting equality in the delivery of services in both access and
Ensuring that Service users and employees are treated with dignity and
respect at all times regardless of their disability.
Seeking to ensure that when we commission services, work in
partnership or procure goods or services that the organisations that we
11 4 December 2006
work with understand, adhere to and practice equal opportunity
Ensuring that our workforces reflect the diverse communities that we
Objective 3 – We will eliminate harassment of disabled people by:
Providing a positive and supportive work environment for employees
with a disability, which is free from harassment and where individuals
are encouraged to realise their full potential.
Challenging anti-social behaviour against, or harassment, of disabled
Objective 4 – We will promote positive attitudes towards disabled people
Delivering a comprehensive programme of disability equality training
involving disability groups in its design and delivery
Objective 5 – We will encourage participation by disabled people in
public life by:
Enabling disabled peoples active participation
Involving disabled people in the changes and improvements made
Consulting with disabled people on issues that affect them
Upskilling and empowering disabled people so that they can participate
Objective 6 – We will take steps to meet disabled people’s needs, even if
this requires more favourable treatment by:
Implementing Equality Impact Assessments on all new, existing and
proposed functions and policies
Ensuring that we provide reasonable adjustments where necessary.
12 4 December 2006
7. Involving People With Disabilities
We recognised from the outset, that to create a Scheme that really made a
difference to the people of Staffordshire, we needed to involve the people who
really matter…our service users, customers, staff, members of the community
and voluntary and community sector disability organisations.
Engaging Disability Organisations
We believe our partnership approach involving East Staffordshire Borough
Council, Keele University, Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, South
Staffordshire District Council, Stafford Borough Council, Staffordshire County
Council, Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service and Staffordshire Police has led
us to achieve more meaningful engagement with disability organisations and
groups. Having pooled all our contacts together into one database we
contacted over 284 local organisations and groups across Staffordshire
inviting them to be involved in the creation of the Scheme.
The organisations and groups were given the opportunity to get involved in a
number of ways, these were:
Round table discussions on specific topic areas
As a result 61 groups indicated that they would like to complete a survey, 34
groups expressed an interest in taking part in focus groups. 43 groups said
they would like to attend a round table involvement event and 22 groups said
that they would like to take part in a mystery shopping exercise.
The results of the above were broken down into district areas and each
partner led the focus groups, mystery shopping exercises in their respective
areas. The questionnaire, which was designed jointly by all partners was
available both on-line and in hard copy on request. To date we have received
177 responses to the questionnaire and have taken the view that since the
scheme is about ongoing involvement that it will be available online until a
The round table discussions have been held across the County on various
specific topic areas such as:
Highways, Transport and Road Safety
Sport and Leisure
13 4 December 2006
Feedback from the events has been fed back to all partner organisations to
enable them to identify what issues are relevant to their own individual
A number of focus groups have also taken place across the County and there
are many more already planned for the next six months.
Disability Equality Scheme Workshops
We also held two countywide events to which we invited organisations and
individuals such as Mencap, Sports Across Staffordshire, Shaw Trust,
Connexions, Employment Opportunities for People with Disabilities, and
Making Space. In addition we also invited various members of staff from our
own organisations to ensure that we could have some meaningful two-way
involvement. The aim of these events was to identify key priorities and actions
that we could include in our action plans.
Representatives were invited to attend one of three workshops on Access,
Employment or Service Delivery to enable them to focus on their particular
area of expertise. Following these events three sub-groups were formed to
continue identifying the priorities and actions we needed to take to improve
issues relating to Access, Service delivery and Employment.
Black and Minority Ethnic Groups
In order to ensure that we have engaged with the whole community we have
contacted both North and East Staffordshire Racial Equality Councils to
establish what links they have with the BME community.
They have provided us with details of a number of community groups that
exist in the BME community. We are currently in the process of contacting
these groups to arrange some focus groups within the next couple of months.
At Staffordshire County Council, employee networks have been encouraged
to develop, providing forums for mutual support, and positive and constructive
challenge to existing working practices. Our Workers with a Disability Support
Group held a conference earlier this year to identify the issues and priorities
that are important to our disabled employees and to provide them with an
opportunity to shape our Disability Equality Scheme. The priorities that were
identified at the conference have been fed into our action plan and we have
identified ways that we can continue to work together to develop this group
and ensure their views continue to be heard and inform our business
We undertake a staff attitude survey every two years, to establish staff views
on working in and for the Council to help senior management identify areas of
particular weakness and strength and so develop remedial actions, where
necessary. In terms of equality and diversity, the survey enables us to identify
14 4 December 2006
how many of our staff are aware of our Harassment and Bullying Policy and if
they are aware of the procedure we have in place to enable them to report
discriminatory incidents. It also provides us with data on the number of
employees who have experienced discriminatory behaviour, either from
colleagues or from service users. The information will be used to inform our
Disability Equality Scheme Action Plan, and will enable us to target training
and the marketing of our reporting systems more effectively.
We also run an in-house Best Practice Club, which aims to share best
practice on different subjects across the county council. The sessions aim to
be informal and involve people getting together to hear presentations, discuss
topics and share ideas of good ways of working.
In addition, we hold regular HR Conferences, which are targeted at Human
Resources practitioners from across the authority. This enables
communication of corporate initiatives and priorities, as well as feedback from
HR staff and managers. The HR Conference will be one method we use to
ensure that disability priorities are mainstreamed and that our Disability
Equality Scheme informs employment practices to ensure that they are fair,
equitable and consistent across the organisation.
15 4 December 2006
8. Monitoring, Evaluation and Review
Rights Corporate Policy Forum
Commission Equality and (Establish
Diversity Group April 2007)
Equality and Diversity Group informs Directorate Management Team of
equality and diversity priorities. Directorate Management Team then
incorporate them into Directorate priorities. Equality and Diversity Group sets
strategy and targets and conducts an internal self-assessment.
Policy Development Group has responsibility to oversee the development of
Corporate Management Team provides leadership and direction for the
Cabinet endorses the strategies and priorities.
Corporate Policy Scrutiny provides internal challenge and scrutiny.
Community Consultation Forum will provide the external challenge and
Disability Rights Commission will undertake enforcement of all Disability
16 4 December 2006
9. Equality Impact Assessments
We need to understand whether our services are meeting everyone’s needs
and that people who need our services have access to them. To help us to do
this we carry out an Equality Impact Assessment.
Why do we carry out Equality Impact Assessments?
Section 49A(1) of The Disability Discrimination (Amendment) Act 2005 places
a duty on Public Authorities to assess the impact of its policies and practices,
or the likely impact of its proposed policies and practices, on equality for
disabled persons; this will be carried out in this Scheme through Equality
Impact Assessments (EIA).
All Public Authorities are also subject to the Comprehensive Performance
Assessment (CPA) and the equality dimensions of this assessment are being
enhanced to ensure that any lack of progress in this assessment is
What are Equality Impact Assessments?
An Equality Impact Assessment is a way of deciding whether an existing or
proposed policy, procedure, practice or service does (or may) affect people
differently, and if so, whether it affects them in an adverse way.
Assessments will be carried out on new policies and services, as they are
developed and over time on existing policies and services. Disability issues
will be considered alongside the other five equality strands (race, gender,
religion or belief, sexual orientation and age).
A summary of the results of the Equality Impact Assessments, Action Plans,
and consultation exercises will be reported as part of the annual review of the
Disability Equality Scheme.
For further information about our Equality Impact Assessments, please visit
our equalities homepage at www.staffordshire.gov.uk/equalities
17 4 December 2006
10. Information Gathering
We recognise that an important part of this scheme is in mapping and
gathering information on our services. The information gathered will enable us
to assess our performance, carry out effective impact assessments, identify
barriers and set targets for improving outcomes.
Employment - What are we doing already?
We guarantee disabled people an interview if they meet the essential
requirements for the post.
We have an RNID 'Type Talk' system in place at our HR Shared Service
We make reasonable adjustments to the working environment.
Application forms are available online, large print, on disc and tape by
We have induction loops at our training facilities.
We are piloting Aspiring Manager/Developing Manager programmes to
address under-representation at senior management levels.
Our Workers with a Disability Support Group is open to all of our
employees who have a disability and offers a forum for mutual support, as
well as providing an effective challenge and scrutiny of organisational
policies and practices.
We already set and monitor targets to achieve a more diverse workforce at all
levels of the council. These include:
Percentage of local authority employees that meet the DDA 1995 disability
Top 5% of staff that have a disability;
Types of jobs being undertaken by disabled people, including grades and
Training courses attended;
Reports on disability harassment;
Numbers in full-time or part-time work; and
Numbers leaving giving reasons.
Service Delivery - What are we doing already?
We provide information in different formats on request such as large print,
Braille and on tape or disc.
Our main reception and meeting facility, the Peel Building, enables
members of the public to meet with County Council staff in an accessible
environment. Among its accessible features, it has an infrared sound
support system, easy access for wheelchair-users and a colour scheme
18 4 December 2006
designed to assist people with visual impairments move around the
82.8% of our public buildings are suitable for and accessible to disabled
Throughout the County we have specialist teams providing support for:
- people with learning difficulties;
- people with physical disabilities;
- people with sensory disabilities;
- people with mental health needs; and
- people affected by HIV/AIDS.
We allocate Community Funding Grants to enable community and
voluntary groups to provide inclusive services and activities.
Service Delivery Monitoring
Here are some examples of our service delivery monitoring:
Number of Community Funding Grants we receive and process;
Amount of Community Funding Grants that is allocated to disabled groups
and projects which focus on disability;
Advertising process for farms lettings to encourage diversity
through wider publication distribution and intranet/internet
Customers who comment via the web based disabled access to
pubic buildings comment page.
19 4 December 2006
11. Action Plan
Everybody who got involved in creating the scheme had the opportunity to tell
us about the issues that were important to them. Some of these were specific
to local areas or organisations, but there were some priorities which were
shared by many different people and which were highlighted in focus groups
and discussion forums, and from the survey.
You told us that:
you welcomed the opportunity to influence the way we work, and would
like to carry on helping us improve;
people’s attitudes to disability were sometimes a barrier to you using
services or fully taking part in public life;
the lack of access to buildings often made it difficult for you to use
services and take part in leisure activities; and
you would like us to communicate with you in a clear and understandable
make sure that we continue to work with you and listen to your comments
on our performance;
involve people with a full range of disabilities in planning processes and
consultations at an early stage;
work with our partners to make sure that our staff have disability training,
to help them have a greater understanding of disability issues;
continue to make our buildings accessible and provide facilities to help
people with disabilities to use them equally;
continue to work towards making sure that everyone has equal
opportunity to access our facilities, services, information and employment
opportunities, no matter what their circumstances;
meet the needs of employees with a disability; and
make an effort to produce all of our documents in plain English.
The Disability Equality Duty requires us to produce a three-year action plan,
which reflects the priorities of disabled people. In order to create a meaningful
document, which is acted upon and takes disability equality forward in
Staffordshire, the Plan also needs to contain:
A realistic timetable;
Measurable indicators; and
Clear lines of accountability and ownership
It is essential that our action plans are owned by the organisation as a whole,
but also by individual business units and directorates, to ensure that the
actions are built into service delivery plans.
20 4 December 2006
In order to facilitate ownership of the actions, we have distributed the
information from the involvement events to our directorates, to enable them to
identify the detailed actions that they need to include in their service delivery
plans. The detailed disability equality action plans will be published on our
website. It is important that our action plans are "living documents", which will
develop over time with the continued involvement of disabled people.
21 4 December 2006