Disability Act

The Disability Act 2005 is part of National Disability Strategy (NDS). The aim of the NDS is to support social inclusion of people with disabilities.

Other legislation within the NDS are:

Main provisions in the Act

The Act establishes:

  1. an independent assessment of individual needs for persons with disabilities, a related service statement and independent redress and enforcement
  2. access to public buildings, services and information
  3. Sectoral Plans for six key government Departments. The Sectoral Plans will ensure that access for people with disabilities will become an integral part of service planning and provisionan obligation on public bodies to be pro-active in employing people with disabilities
  4. restrictions on the use of information from genetic testing for employment, mortgage and insurance purposes
  5. a Centre for Excellence in Universal Design

 

Assessment of need, service statements and redress

The Disability Act (Part 2) creates a system to assess a person's health service and education needs. This section gives a person with a disability the right to –

  • an independent assessment of health and education needs
  • a statement of the services called Service Statement, which the assessment is proposing to provide
  • make a complaint through an independent complaints system if the person is not given the these entitlements

The assessment of need is done by an assessment officer. Assessment officers are independent officers of the Health Service Executive (HSE). After the assessment, a liaison officer will write up a service statement. The liaison officer is also an independent HSE official. There is an independent complaints and appeals system for people who are not happy with the assessment, the service statement or with the services they get as a result of the assessment.

How to apply

You can apply for an assessment of need if you think that your child has a disability. Application forms are available from GPs, pharmacies, hospitals and Local Health Offices or by contacting the HSE information line: 1850 24 1850.

In the Bray area you should contact the

Health Service Executive
Block B, Civic Centre
Main Street
Bray
Tel: 274 4200

The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has adopted standards for the assessment of need.

If you are already being or have been assessed under the Education for People with Special Educational Needs Act 2004 you will not generally be entitled to a HSE assessment. However, if the educational assessment shows that you need health services, it must be sent to the HSE and they will draw up a service statement.

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is required to help the HSE in the assessments of need for adults with disabilities and the preparation of service statements. In the case of children, if the assessment identifies the need for education services, the assessment officer must refer the matter to the education service provider (usually a school) or the NCSE.

 

Access to buildings and services and Sectoral Plans

Part 3 of the Disability Act (2005) makes it compulsory for public bodies to make their buildings and services accessible by 2015. This will require the re-fitting of older public buildings so that they comply with Part M of the Building Regulations. The Act also requires the preparation of Sectoral Plans to support continued improvements in six key areas of public service provision. There are complaints procedures with a right of appeal to the Ombudsman.

Sectoral Plans give information on the services, facilities and activities which come within the remit of each of six government Departments. The plans say how the Departments serve the needs of people with disabilities and set out a plan for improvement in the future. Each plan must include arrangements for complaints, monitoring and review procedures. The six Departments that are required to draw up Sectoral Plans are:

In line with the Disability Act 2005, Wicklow Local Authorities have appointed an Access Officer and a Disability Inquiry Officer. They can be contacted at

Wicklow County Buildings
Station Road
Wicklow Town
Tel: 0404 20100

The Access and Equality Officer for Wicklow is Helen Purcell. You can email her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  or call 0404 20100. She supports people with a disability to use the buildings and services of the Wicklow Local Authorities. She can also support you to make a complaint. http://www.wicklow.ie/access-officer 

The Disability Inquiry Officer for Wicklow is Teresa Byrne. You can email her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .or call 0404 20100 Teresa investigates complaints in relation to the failure of the Wicklow Local Authorities to comply with the Sections of the Act that refer to the Local Authorities (these are sections 25, 26, 27, 28 and 29). http://www.wicklow.ie/inquiry-officer 

 

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