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CityClean and the Disability Rights Commission

Added: 29 February 2004

The following correspondance leaked from an insider shows how top CityClean officials' continued fashioning of policy on the hoof, coupled with poor implementation, has landed them in trouble with the Disability Rights Commission. How have they solved the problem? Well now you can ring up saying you feel you are unable to use the bins, and they cannot ask you for details. So a manager just shows up and asks you where you want to put your rubbish, and that is that.

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30th January 2004
Our Ref: 396159

Gillian Marston
Deputy Director
Cityclean
Hollingdean Depot
Upper Hollingdean Road
Brighton
BN1 7GA

Dear Ms Marston

The Disability Rights Commission (DRC) has been contacted by a [Name Removed] of Brighton regarding the recent implementation of the communal bins pilot scheme in the Brighton area.

As you may be aware, the Disability Rights Commission (DRC) provides advice and information to disabled people on their rights under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995, as well as assisting in some cases where discrimination has taken place. We also offer guidance to service providers and employers on their duties under the DDA, and how they can meet these.

[Name Removed] has brought a number of issues to my attention which require some explanation.

He is concerned at the lack of consultation with disabled people prior to the scheme being implemented. I understand that a number of public meetings were held to discuss these proposals and were advertised ‘in the normal way’. In what way were disabled people informed of these meetings?

I understand that leaflets detailing the key elements of the scheme are provided on request to disabled people. How are disabled people made aware of this offer if the information informing them of this is only available in the usual formats?

Secondly, [Name Removed] has not received a phone call from the pilot scheme Helpline to arrange his provision despite being promised this. When will this call be made?

You may wish to know that since the 1st October 1999, service providers such as Cityclean have had duties to provide auxiliary aids and services to disabled people. An example of an auxiliary aid is the provision of information in alternative formats such as audiotape or braille.

Further, an arrangement has been put in place where disabled residents would be visited by a Council Manager to be assessed as to whether they can retain the doorstop collection of their refuse. I understand the Managers have not received any DDA training. We would appreciate it if you could address the following concerns with regard to this arrangement:

What qualifications do the Managers hold in order for them to make assessments that hold both medical and confidentiality implications?

What criteria do the Managers use when undertaking the assessments?

Section 19 of the DDA provides that it is unlawful for a service provider to discriminate against a disabled person by providing a service of a lower standard or worse manner; providing a service on worse terms or failing to comply with a duty to make reasonable adjustments if that failure has the effect of making it impossible or unreasonably difficult for the disabled person to make use of that service.

Given that service providers should be anticipating the requirements of disabled people and the adjustments that have to be made for them, I would be grateful if you would clarify Cityclean’s position on the above issues in relation to the scheme.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely

Simon Pickering Information Officer

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