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For those interested in Disability issues within the UK…

I would like to announce that on January 14th, The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) of the UK appointed Mike Smith as new chair of its Disability Committee, replacing acting chair Alun Davies who stepped down at the end of last year.

The EHRC is a statutory body that has the responsibility to protect, enforce and promote equality across the seven "protected" grounds - age, disability, gender, race, religion and belief, sexual orientation and gender reassignment for the 60 million people in the UK.

To date, Mike has served as the Chair of the National Centre for Independent Living. He is also a member of the board of Stonewall (2006 to date), the lesbian, gay and bisexual charity. Prior to this he worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers for 19 years, most recently as Director of Policy & Compliance. Specifically, the Disability Committee of the EHRC is a decision-making committee with wide powers and responsibilities delegated by parliament. These powers include:

  • monitoring and providing advice on disability law
  • publishing and disseminating ideas and information, providing education and training, and giving advice and guidance on disability rights
  • publishing and revising codes of practice on disability law
  • monitoring and preventing crimes affecting disabled people
  • arranging conciliation on non-employment Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) disputes
  • providing or arranging legal assistance for DDA claimants
  • conducting or intervening in disability-related judicial review proceedings