It is mandatory for all businesses to ensure they provide reasonable access to disabled people – as detailed in the DDA.
Sounds complicated or costly?
It doesn’t have to be!
Richmond AID has been providing expert advice on disability for 22 years. We offer access services for businesses and private companies designed to offer practical advice and low cost solutions.
Accessibility Advice Service
As part of our aim to promote accessibility, we offer guidance on those services which are accessible. We operate an advice and information service which can be accessed on the phone, fax, email, or by visiting the Richmond AID office at the DAAC which is an accessible building. We have Advisors available to businesses and local traders for consultations on how to improve the accessibility of your business, premises and service.
What can we provide?
- Full access audits on your premises
- In-depth reports on how to improve your premises
- Disability Awareness Training for your staff
- Clear and simple advice on the DDA
What do you get?
- Personal one-to-one service
- Expert advice and information
- A full report with simple, low-cost solutions tailored to your business
- Follow up advice and after care
There are around 10 million disabled people living in the UK – all of whom are potential customers who can choose where to spend their money. Disabled people spend around £50 billion a year on goods and services.
By improving access to goods, services, information and premises your business will be a more welcoming place for everyone: a positive approach to access will attract not only disable people but their friends, colleagues, carers and relatives. Many changes can be made to a premise or service that do not involve great effort or expense – contact us now for a consultation. Making some adjustments to your business environment or changing your business practices may be enough to make you compliant with the law and a more attractive business to new customers.
Since 1 October 1999 service providers have had to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ for disabled people, such as providing extra help or making changes to the way a service is delivered. Since 1 October 2004 the duties also require that service providers should make reasonable adjustments to ‘physical features’.
Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and Equality Act 2010 Explained
The Disability Discrimination Act was introduced to bring about systemic change, and to open up society to disabled people where before they were excluded. Now upgraded to the Equality Act 2010, it covers people who have or have had a disability, defined as…
“a physical or mental impairment, which has a substantial and long term adverse effect on his ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities”.
For more information, please go to www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts1995/1995050.htm where you can find an online and a printable version of the Act.
The duty to make reasonable adjustments is central to achieving the aim of opening up society to disabled people and creating an inclusive society and requires positive action to overcome the barriers that impede disabled people’s access.
The act gives a number of duties [to employers and providers of services], to:
- change a practice, policy or procedure which makes it impossible or unreasonably difficult for disabled people to make use of its services
- remove a[n obstructing] feature
- alter it so that it no longer has that effect
- provide a reasonable alternative method of making the service in question available to disabled persons
- provide an auxiliary aid or service if it would enable (or make it easier for) disabled people to make use of its services
The policy of the Act is to…
“provide access to a service as close as it is reasonable possible to get to the standard normally offered to the public at large”
…and the policy is…
“not a minimalist policy of simply ensuring that some access is available to the disabled: it is so far as reasonably practicable, to approximate the access enjoyed by disabled persons to that enjoyed by the rest of the public.”
The Department of Works and Pensions has a checklist for businesses on their website – go to www.dwp.gov.uk/employers/dda
The fact a service is accessible in some way is not be enough to discharge the duty. The service provider should be able to show that the adjustments they have provided makes the service as accessible as is possible for disabled people as it is by non disabled.