3. Status of this Code of Practice
The Code relates, directly, to the matters outlined in sections 26, 27 and 28 of the Disability Act 2005 (the Act). These sections of the Act impose significant statutory duties upon public bodies which came into effect from 31 December 2005.
Public bodies that comply with this Code are considered to be in compliance with the legislation. Section 30(6) states
"compliance by a public body with an approved code of practice shall be deemed to be compliance with the relevant provision of this Act".
Separately, the NDA Act, 1999, provides for a monitoring role for the Authority, in relation to the implementation of Codes of Practice developed by the Authority and declared approved by the Minister. This includes Codes such as this one. Part II, Sections 8 (2) (d) of the NDA Act, 1999, specifies the Authority's monitoring functions as being:
"to monitor the implementation of standards and codes of practice in programmes and services provided to persons with disabilities and to report to the Minister thereon".
These sections of the Disability Act 2005 (the Act), which impose significant statutory duties upon public bodies to make their services and information accessible to people with disabilities where practicable and appropriate, came into effect from 31 December 2005. Determination of practicability and appropriateness may be guided by consideration of, for example: level of control and cost.
In the case of certain public transport services, the sectoral plan to be prepared by the Department of Transport, under sections 31 and 34, may specify the timeframe(s) for making particular public transport services accessible (see section 31(5) of the Act).
Sections 26, 27 and 28 of the Act place obligations on the head of a public body which is defined in section 2 as being
"the person who holds, or performs the functions of the office of the chief executive officer (by whatever name called) of the body". As such, they are required to ensure, that the body complies with the obligations as set out in those sections.
This Code aims to support public bodies in meeting their obligations in the Act.
In order to plan what actions are necessary, it is suggested that the head of each public body concerned:
- Determines the extent to which the provisions of the Act apply to their organisation in the context of the range of services and the information it provides;
- Considers, plans and keeps under review the policies, procedures and the actions necessary to meet its obligations;
- Examines the practicability and appropriateness of planned measures so as to ensure compliance with the requirements of the Act.