North Wales: Staff will be encouraged to learn British Sign Language

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Sun Dec 17 17:12:42 UTC 2006

Council plans a fairer deal for the disabled

PEOPLE with a disability will get a fairer deal under a far-reaching
action plan set out by Ellesmere Port and Neston Borough Council.

The Disability Equality Scheme lays out the councils commitment to
improving the quality of life for disabled people in the borough over the
next three years.

Produced following consultation with disabled people, the action plan aims
to improve council policies and service delivery, encourage more positive
attitudes to disabled people and get more disabled people joining in
public life.

Better medical treatments and the fact people are living longer means that
by 2020 it is estimated that one in three people in the UK will be living
with a physical, sensory or learning impairment.

The Disability Discrimination Act 2005 required all local authorities to
publish a Disability Equality Scheme, but the borough council aims to go
beyond the letter of the law with its action plan.

Principal policy officer David Tighe said: We want not only to meet our
statutory obligations but also to ensure our policies, plans and ways of
working address the needs of disabled people and, where our role and
resources allow, the priorities identified by them.

We recognise that in Ellesmere Port and Neston, as with the rest of the
UK, disabled people dont always have the same opportunities or choices as
the rest of the community, and we want to change that.

We plan to continue widespread consultation with disabled people to ensure
the actions we propose take into account the needs and aspirations of
disabled people in the borough.

In its action plan the council also pledges to tackle harassment and train
its staff to understand the needs of people with disabilities, including
encouraging staff to learn British Sign Language.

The councils revamped website is already accessible to visually impaired
people and its publications will be made available in a variety of
formats, including Braille, large print and audio upon request.

The Disability Equality Scheme can be viewed on the councils website at and copies are available by calling the council offices
on 0151 356 6691.


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