No Image Available


Read more from TrainingZone

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

Top management team for the Disability Rights Commission


1. The Disability Rights Commission Act 1999 provided for the establishment of a Commission with the main purposes of eliminating discrimination against disabled people, promoting equal opportunities for them, identifying and disseminating good practice, and advising the Government of the day on the operation of the Disability Discrimination Act and other relevant legislation.

2. The DRC Chairman, Bert Massie CBE, former Director, RADAR, was appointed by the Government at the beginning of January. The appointment of the other 14 Commissioners was also announced in January. Bob Niven, formerly Director of Equal Opportunities at the Department for Education and Employment, took up the post of DRC Chief Executive in December.

3. The DRC will come into operation on 25 April. From day one, it will provide four core services - legal advice, caseworking, policy, and media work - with the rest of its services and functions coming on stream progressively thereafter.

4. In addition to the Directors, the DRC has recruited a further 60 staff to enable the Commission to operate from 25 April. As with the Directors, these other staff come from a variety of backgrounds. Overall, over 30% of the staff recruited so far are disabled people.

5. The DRC will have offices in London, Manchester, Edinburgh and Cardiff.

Chief Executive of the (DRC), Bob Niven, has recently announced the Commission’s senior management team.

Bob Niven said:
"I am very pleased that the DRC has been able to recruit seven high quality Directors. Working closely with the Chair and Commissioners they will take forward the DRC’s strategy and policies, including in Scotland and Wales. The team of Directors will bring a wide variety of skills and experience, on disability issues and more widely. Each of them will make a major contribution to ensuring the DRC is first-rate in everything it does."

DRC Chairman, Bert Massie, said:
"I, too, am delighted at the strength and breadth of experience represented by these appointments. The DRC has many challenging tasks ahead, and today’s announcement marks a major stage in ensuring that the organisation has the capacity to deliver."

The Directors will be:

Communications and Change - Liz Sayce.
Currently Director for the Health Action Zone covering Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham, Liz’s previous posts included Policy Director at MIND (the national association for mental health). From 1997-99, Liz was a member of the Disability Rights Task Force and has been a member of numerous other relevant advisory groups and grant-giving bodies. Liz’s main responsibilities at the DRC will include the Commission’s Helpline, information, advice and caseworking services; its PR, campaigning and media strategies; and partnerships with key stakeholders.

Legal Services - Nick O’Brien.
Having qualified and practised as a Solicitor, Nick is currently Deputy Ombudsman and Legal Adviser at the Office of the Legal Services for Ombudsman for England & Wales Nick also has experience as a school teacher and has secured an advance academic degree on legal issues. His responsibilities at the DRC will include advice on individuals’ requests for DRC support on legal cases; a new conciliation service on cases concerned with the access of disabled people to goods, services, facilities and premises; formal investigations; and policy on other specific legal issues.

Resources - Jerry Wedge.
Jerry’s most recent post was as Director of Corporate Services at the British Education and Communications and Technology Agency (BECTa). Jerry worked for several years in the private sector, followed by senior posts with the NSPCC and Wigan Borough Partnership. He is also trustee of ACE, a charity concerned with improving disabled children’s ICT skills. At the DRC, Jerry’s main responsibilities will be to secure the most effective use of staff and budgetary resources as well as ICT and premises, and to promote continuous improvement throughout the organisation.

Strategy & Policy - Paul Gemmill.
Paul worked most recently as Head of Strategic Planning and policy at the British Red Cross Society. His work there was concerned with the Society’s strategy within Britain as well as international developments. Previously Paul had been senior corporate strategist for National Power plc, and a director at Opportunities for People with disAbilities. Paul’s responsibilities at the DRC include strategic and business planning, policy analysis, consultation on policy issues, and research, monitoring and evaluation.

Scotland - Bob Benson.
Bob is currently Director at Disability Scotland, the leading representative organisation on disability equality in Scotland. Prior to that, Bob worked with Age Concern Scotland as well as Fife and Lothian Regional Councils. He was a member of the Disability Rights Task Force, and has been a member of numerous working parties and trusts concerned with disability and social issues in Scotland. Bob’s main responsibilities will be to advise on and to take forward the DRC’s strategy and priorities in Scotland, taking full account of devolution.

Special Adviser - Caroline Gooding.
Caroline is currently the Director of the DDA Representation and Advice Project providing legal help to individuals, as well as being a consultant on disability equality issues for a wide range of organisations including the Employers’ Forum on Disability. Caroline has also been Director of Disability Law Service, Chair of the Trade Union Disability Alliance and a member of the Disability Rights Task Force. Caroline will advise the Commission on key long term, cross-cutting disability issues, as well as the overall impact of the Disability Discrimination Act.

Wales - Will Bee.
Will lived in Wales for much of his youth, and is currently Manager of Single Regeneration Budget funds at the Bristol Regeneration Partnership. Will has held posts in an inner city community resource centre, a council for voluntary service, and the Greater London Association for Disabled People. He has also been vice-chair of the National Association of Councils for Voluntary Services and served on the management committee of SKILL (the national bureau for students with disabilities). At the DRC, his main task will be to advise on and take forward the Commission’s strategy and priorities for Wales.

The Directors will take up their posts progressively over the coming weeks, with the full team in place by the beginning of June. Of the seven Directors, three are disabled.


Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!