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Blunkett appoints first Chair of Disability Rights Commission


From a DfEE press release:

Education and Employment Secretary David Blunkett announced the appointment of Bert Massie as the first Chair of the Disability Rights Commission (DRC). Mr Massie is currently Director of the Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation and the Deputy Chair of the National Disability Council.
Commenting on the appointment, Mr Blunkett said:
"This is excellent news for people who are passionate about disability issues. Bert Massie is a widely respected figure in the business world and with organisations working both for and with disabled people, and his personal standing and political skills have achieved much on behalf of disabled people.
"The post demands a driven, highly committed individual with strong skills in strategic leadership and a good understanding of disability issues. This is what we see in Bert - an excellent communicator, who will work effectively with a wide range of external players whilst bringing sound judgement to bear in a sensitive environment."
Minister for Disabled People Margaret Hodge said:
"I look forward to working closely with Bert Massie over the coming months as the setting up of the DRC proceeds. Bert and I share a determination that the Commission should be up-and-running by April next year."

1. Mr Massie’s appointment followed an open advertisement and a rigorous sift and panel process required under the guidance issued by the Commissioner for Public Appointments.
2. Mr Massie will take up his appointment as Chair, working four days a week, at the start of January 2000 on secondment from RADAR. He will receive an annual salary of £65,600 a year (80% of the advertised full-time salary of £82,000) plus a contribution towards his pension.
3. Although Mr Massie’s appointment for four days a week (from the start of January 2000 to 31 March 2004) differs from the terms set out in the advertisement for the post, the Secretary of State considers that it is reasonable to make these adjustments to take account of his particular disabilities. In reaching that judgement, the Secretary of State has considered, among other things, the likely workload of the DRC’s Chair in the period leading up to the launch of the Commission and in its early years of operation.
4. The DRC is an independent body that will work towards the elimination of discrimination against - and equalise opportunities for - people with disabilities. It will also promote good practice to employers and service providers, provide advice and information and advise the Government about how the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 is working.


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