PUBLIC SECT0R: DRC campaign gets tough on disability discrimination

The Disability Rights Commission is to launch a campaign to

publicise tough new anti-discrimination laws.



By 2004 all businesses and service providers must improve access for

those with disabilities or face legal action under the latest section of

the 1995 Disability Discrimination Act.



The campaign, which launches at the end of the month, involves media

relations and public affairs to explain to businesses the legislation

and offering practical tips on how to improve access.



The disabled will also be targeted so they are aware of their right to

access.



Part of the campaign is to promote a helpline (08457 622 633) for the

disabled and businesses on the issue.



PR and public affairs will be handled in-house by the DRC comms team,

which is headed by director of policy and communications Liz Sayce.



Agency Janice Muir Partnership has been drafted in to assist on media

relations work for the campaign launch. The agency's account directors

Janice Muir and Jon Cope report to Alyson Rose, DRC head of media

relations.



Cope said: 'This is not just about ramps for wheelchairs. Very few

registered disabled use wheelchairs. This is broader. Our research shows

that banks are a particular problem as they are often in quite old

buildings.'



Rose added it was important businesses and service providers were aware

changes can be carried out cheaply.



'Bigger lettering on a menu for those with visual disabilities, better

placed door handles, these don't cost much but can be so effective,' she

said.



The Disability Discrimination Act has already made it illegal for

employers to discriminate against current or potential employees on

disability grounds.



PR and PA work, paying particular attention to SME trade associations,

will take place over the next three years.



Last May Furner Communications was hired to develop the launch strategy

for the DRC's advice on the new laws (PRWeek, 11 May 2001).



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