It is a sad fact that many businesses and service providers in the UK are not addressing their disabled access issues, there are many reasons why. Without going into a long list, in my experience, the most common by far is a fear that a whole can of worms will be opened should they bring in a professional company to address any access issues or compliance issues that they may have.
As a qualified access auditor and wheelchair user of some 35+ years, I have been undertaking professional access audits for many companies from the largest government bodies and financial institutions through to every day small businesses and corner shops. One thing that they all have in common is the way that they are surprised about how the Equality Act 2010 is on the whole painless to implement because of that magic government stipulation that changes should be by "reasonable adjustment".
So, what is "reasonable adjustment"? What is and what isn't reasonable for a business to undertake varies from business to business. For example, a small corner shop with a relatively low financial turnover would not be expected to make the same changes as a large supermarket chain, both need to be supplying their services to all disabilities and it is the job of an access auditor to assist both and make recommendations that meet their business, financial, and customer needs without breaking the bank. A typical example might be a supermarket with two steps up to the entrance door - they would be expected to install a permanent ramp to assist wheelchair users, whereas the same situation for a small corner shop, due to space and financial restrictions, it would be reasonable for them to have a portable ramp put in place as and when needed.
These are the very basics of "reasonable adjustment" within meeting the needs of disabled clients and visitors, and while many other considerations have to be given, it hopefully shows that businesses should not be unduly concerned or frightened about attempting to make their building or service compliant to meet the needs of disabled people. Many business will say that they "do not have available finances to make any changes", this is something that is given a great deal of consideration, especially in the current and past financial climate. Many changes that are required can however be done over a longer period and in many cases worked into future alterations so that there is no or minimal cost involved; the main point being that the business has addressed their disabled issues and has a future plan and is working towards putting any issues right and in doing so removing the risk of a potential large fine should the non-compliance be legally addressed for whatever reason.
Access All Areas is a professional access audit company and one of the earliest established. It has one of the largest client bases including the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, DWP and DTI. Businesses that have any concern are invited to call for a completely free and no obligation consultation to hopefully put their minds at rest and undertake an essential audit that addresses there access issues but most importantly one that addresses those issues and makes recommendations based very much on "reasonable adjustment".
Vercida works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with Vercida to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please call 02037405973 or email [email protected] for more information.
We are also officially recommended by Disability Confident as a step on achieving Employer status, please click here for more information.
VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work
environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your
diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please email
[email protected] for more information.
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