Year 1 Review of Disability Equality Scheme and Action Plan (Agenda item 10)
Report of the Executive Member for People First (Theresa Hewett).
The Policy Officer (Equalities) presented the report and explained the background to the Year One review of the Breckland Disability Equality Scheme Action Plan covering the period December 2006 – December 2009. The Cabinet’s views were sought prior to the publication of this document on the Council’s website.
The Overview and Scrutiny Commission had considered the report at its meeting on 29 May 2008 and their comments were highlighted at item 16 of the Agenda (reference from the Overview and Scrutiny Commission).
Regarding the O&SC reference concerning wheelchair bungalow provision, the Executive Member for the Business Transformation Portfolio asked what percentage of demand there was for this facility. The Strategic Housing Manager explained that it was more costly to deliver such bungalows on sites but these types of residence were in acute shortage. Members were informed, however, that the “Life Long Home Standard” would be adopted through the Local Development Framework (LDF) which looked to adapt properties throughout a disabled person’s lifetime. The Executive Member for the Business Transformation Portfolio asked if these types of dwellings were being built in the right places. In response, the Strategic Housing Manager advised that she would be working very closely with Planning Officers when appropriate sites came forward. Another question related to current practice with regard to wheelchair bungalows being built on all sites over 25 homes. Members were informed that this figure had been an optimistic target but it reflected nothing more than the planning policy at the time.
Referring to the Action Plan attached to the report, Members requested that the wording in the third row on page 160 of the Agenda be removed and be replaced with the following:
Breckland Council will promote the ‘Life long home standard’ – designs that are intended to be suitable for the life time of the tenants through health and sickness
Increased accessible affordable housing for disabled people
January 2007 onwards
Proposals for the affordable housing policies to be contained in the Local Development Framework are in development
The options available to Members were:
1) to note the report and approve the publication of the Progress Report of the Disability Equality Scheme Action Plan on to the Breckland Council Website to fulfil its statutory obligations of the specific duties within the Disability Discrimination Act 2005;
2) to note the report and if not approved the publication of the Progress Report of the Disability Equality Scheme’s Action Plan 2006 – 2009 on to the Breckland Council Website, the Council would be at risk of breaching the statutory obligation of the specific duties within the Disability Discrimination Act 2005 and being subject to enforcement action as outlined in the ‘Legal Implications’ (Section 5).
The reason for the recommendation was that it was a statutory requirement of the Disability Discrimination Act 2005. Failure to meet the requirements within the Specific Duty could result in the service of a ‘Compliance Notice’ under Chapter 13 section 49e/f of the DDA by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). Failing a response from the authority to comply with the notice, the EHRC could apply for a court order requiring the authority to comply or risk being in contempt of court.
RESOLVED that the Year 1 review of the Breckland Disability Equality Action Plan December 2006 – November 2009 be approved for publication on the Breckland Website subject to the Overview and Scrutiny Commission’s views being taken into account regarding the need to review the definition of the Action on affordable housing for disabled people (see Cabinet Minute No. 83/08) and the aforementioned part of the Action Plan being amended as indicated above: