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THE Equality and Human Rights Commission has appointed Mike Smith as the new chair of its Disability Committee.

Mike was one of the first appointees to the Disability Committee where he has led on legal matters, including the Equality Bill, and social care reform.

He previously chaired the Oral Evidence Panel for the Commission’s formal inquiry into sex discrimination and the gender pay gap in the financial services sector.

Mike said: “The Commission has done a lot of work over the last few years in relation to disability, but there is much more to do.

“We want to work and communicate with our stakeholders much more effectively to make sure we do our job as well as we can, and that we address disabled people’s concerns as best we can.

“We are making good headway on the Disability Committee’s current work plan, which is available on our website, and will soon start planning for our 2010/11 programme of work.

“A key aspect of this work will be our formal Inquiry into disability-related harassment.

“Far too many people are subjected to abuse and sometimes they are not taken seriously or supported by the public authorities who are meant to help them.

“We hope as many people as possible will contribute to the Inquiry, starting with commenting on the terms of reference which will be published shortly.”

In addition to his work for the Commission, Mike is currently a freelance consultant focusing on equality and board governance issues working with private, charity and third sector organisations.

He has been involved in equality and diversity organisations for the last 10 years, starting off with his involvement in the disability movement in Tower Hamlets, London.

Mike is Chair of the National Centre for Independent Living (2005 to date). The Centre is a national umbrella organisation that works with government and other stakeholders to help realise independent living for all disabled people. 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, qualifying as a chartered accountant and specialising in company tax advice.

After working in risk management his most recent role was Director of Policy, Compliance.