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The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) United Kingdom

The Legislation and Act
Evaluation of Legislation
Links to Other UK Disability Sites

The Legislation and Act

Disability Discrimination Act 1995
Disability Discrimination Act 2005
Available in other formats at:

A United Kingdom Parliamentary Act passed in 1995 made it unlawful to discriminate against people in respect of their disabilities in relation to employment, the provision of goods and services, education and transport. There are significant legislative amendments and refinements made to the original Act up to present day.

2001 Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Act clarifies and increases requirements of schools, colleges, universities and providers of adult education and youth services. The 2005 Disability Discrimination Act extends coverage and requires that service providers make reasonable adjustments for persons with disabilities.

The DDA creates positive ‘Disability Equality Duty’ for all public sector bodies requiring that they pay ’due regard‘ to the promotion of equality for disabled people in every area of their work (even where that involves treating disabled persons more favourably than other persons). There are standards which set clear requirements for transportation providers and enforced by the Department of Transportation.

There has been extensive development and use of ‘Codes of Practice’ to establish clear expectations for others areas covered under the Act. These codes have statutory force and are used by courts and tribunals when considering relevant cases.

General enforcement is based on a complaint process handled by the Equality and Human Rights Commission with has powers across all equality law (race, sex, disability, religion and belief, sexual orientation and age).

Evaluation of the Legislation

There are numerous research publications considering the effectiveness of the UK legislation.

A year after the extension of the Disability Discrimination Act, The Guardian’s Ben Furner looks at what has been achieved since, and what remains to be done to improve the lives of disabled people.

Disability Equality Duty - Compliance Audit Report

The ODI commissioned Ipsos MORI to carry out an audit of how public bodies are meeting their duties under the Disability Equality Duty.

The audit identifies, by sector, the proportion of bodies that have published a scheme and whether they have actively involved disabled people (a key requirement of the new duty). The study found that, as of January 2007, at least half of public bodies are currently meeting their obligations.

An in-depth examination of the implementation of the Disability Equality Duty in England

The ODI has published research examining the experiences of public authorities in implementing the Disability Equality Duty in England. The research involved a series of case studies from seven policy sectors, examining the organisational impacts of the legislation and how things have changed for disabled people. The study also looked at the ways in which disabled people have been involved in producing Disability Equality Schemes and how organisations have attempted to promote disability equality in their policy and practices.

Implementation of the Disability Equality Duty (Executive Summary) audio version

  1. Index (mp3, 3m 45s, 1.8 MB)
  2. Introduction (mp3, 2m 32s, 1.2 MB)
  3. Key findings (mp3, 26m 15s, 12 MB)
  4. Guide to best practice (mp3, 4m 25s, 2 MB)
  5. Context of the research (mp3, 2m 48s, 1.3 MB)
  6. Research methods (mp3, 1m 58s, 1 MB)
  7. References (mp3, 4m 37s, 2.1 MB)

Links to Other UK Disability Sites

Cambridge Workshop on Universal Access (UA) and Assistive Technology (AT)