Select Committee on the Equality Act 2010 and Disability
The Equality Act 2010: the impact on disabled people

Report of Session 2015-16 - published 24 March 2016 - HL Paper 117



Chapter 1: Introduction

Constitution and Terms of Reference of the Committee

The devolved administrations

Our working methods


Five major issues

The next steps

Chapter 2: The Background to the Equality Act 2010

Statistics and demographic changes: the scale of the problem

Table 1: Number of disabled people in Great Britain (millions)

Figure 1: Number of disabled people in Great Britain (millions)

Figure 2: Male disability-free life expectancy at birth, 2005–07 and 2008–10

Figure 3: Female disability-free life expectancy at birth, 2005–07 and 2008–10

Figure 4: Disability-free life expectancy at birth for men in England by region, 2009–11 and 2012–14

Figure 5: Disability-free life expectancy at birth for women in England by region, 2009–11 and 2012–14

Figure 6: Proportion in age groups reporting a long-term limiting illness or disability in 2001 and 2011

Figure 7: Numbers in age groups reporting a long-term limiting illness or disability in 2001 and 2011

Table 2: Life expectancy and disability-free life expectancy at age 65

Figure 8: Life expectancy and disability-free life expectancy at age 65, 2000–2011

Development of the substantive law

Oversight of the law

The Equality Act 2010

Disability: the poor relation?

The medical and social models of disability

Different disabilities

Definition of disability

Provisions not in force

Part 1: Socio-Economic Inequalities

Section 14: Combined discrimination: dual characteristics

Section 36(1)(d): Reasonable adjustments for common parts of premises

Part 12, Chapter 1: Transport of disabled persons by taxi

The Equalities Red Tape Challenge

Box 1: The Red Tape Challenge

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Incorporation of the Convention into UK law

The Protocol to the UNCRPD

European Union Law: the draft Directive on Accessibility

Chapter 3: Oversight and Advice

Oversight within Government

Box 2: Main government departments responsible for disability issues

Who is ‘policing’ the Act in Government?

Developing effective cross government policy and strategy

The Equality and Human Rights Commission

The Disability Rights Commission

Role, duties and powers of the Equality and Human Rights Commission

Box 3: Powers of the Equality and Human Rights Commission



The Disability Committee

The Equality Advisory and Support Service

Box 4: The Disability Rights Commission helpline in action

Codes of Practice

Chapter 4: Communication and Language

Accessible communications and information

British Sign Language


The need for communication in BSL

Our conclusion

Promoting awareness and understanding of the Equality Act, rights and remedies

Awareness or understanding?

Regaining the independent living narrative

Public awareness and education

Chapter 5: Reasonable Adjustment

Box 5: The Reasonable Adjustment Duty

Awareness and understanding of the duty to make reasonable adjustments

Awareness of the anticipatory duty

Understanding the ‘reasonable adjustment’ concept

Clarity versus flexibility and the cost factor




Code of Practice and guidance

Common parts

Sports grounds

Chapter 6: Carers

The position of carers under the Equality Act

Discrimination and Carers

Protection under the Equality Act 2010

Discrimination by association

Box 6: Coleman v Attridge Law

The duty to make reasonable adjustments

Carers and indirect discrimination

The rights of carers outside the Equality Act

Flexible working in employment

Box 7: What is the right to request flexible working?

Existing rights to support: the Care Act

Chapter 7: Transport


Box 8: Travel by train for a wheelchair user

Trains: infrastructure and accessibility

Bus travel

Audio-visual annunciators


Training for bus and train staff


The provisions of the Act

The failure to commence section 165

Training of taxi drivers

Local transport problems

Shared spaces

Chapter 8: The Public Sector Equality Duty

Box 9: The General Duty

Process or outcomes

Box 10: Due regard in the case law

The specific duties

Box 11: The English Specific Duties

The unspecific duties?

Wales and Scotland

Cumulative impact assessment

Box 12: What is cumulative impact assessment?

Is cumulative impact assessment possible?

Box 13: Feasibility of cumulative impact assessment

Government review

Chapter 9: Enforcement through the judicial process


Tribunal fees

Figure 9: Disability discrimination claims received by employment tribunals

The deterrent effect of costs

Qualified one-way costs shifting (QOCS)

The statutory questionnaire

Box 14: The statutory questionnaire procedure

Tribunals’ powers to make wider recommendations

Remedies in the courts

Injunctive relief

Intervention by the EHRC

Class actions

Box 15: Draft EU Accessibility Directive, Article 25

Dual discrimination

The fact or degree of disability

Reforms of the civil courts

Chapter 10: Other remedies for discrimination


Conciliation and mediation

A Disability Ombudsman?

The Powers of Local Authorities

Licensed premises

Box 16: Licensing Act 2003, section 4

Enforcement of the taxi provisions by licensing authorities

The built environment

Box 17: Building Regulations, Approved Document M, 2013


Chapter 11: Disabled children and children with special
educational needs

Educational attainment

Accessing rights under the Equality Act: Definition of disability

Box 18: Example changes that a school can make to support
positive behaviour in the classroom

Proactive inspection and enforcement: the role of Ofsted

Chapter 12: Participation in politics

Summary of Conclusions and Recommendations

Appendix 1: List of Members and Declarations of Interest

Appendix 2: List of Witnesses

Appendix 3: Call for Evidence

Appendix 4: Note of visit to Real

Appendix 5: Recommendations requiring legislative changes

Appendix 6: Acronyms

Evidence is published online at and available for inspection at the Parliamentary Archives (020 7129 3074).

Q in footnotes refers to a question in oral evidence.

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