Our helpline team receive a variety of calls on disabled access issues. From businesses looking to make their properties more accessible, disabled people having to make a complaint about an inaccessible venue, to others just needing a first point of contact to discuss access requirements or regulations.
To help guide people in the right direction, we’ve put together a short info guide on Accessible Environments.
The guide describes best practice guidelines on physical access to environments, as well as useful contacts who can provide specialist advice on accessibility issues. Physical access is not just about wheelchair access but refers to improving access for people with a range of impairments. We’ve also listed some websites that provide access details on some venues in the UK.
Under the Equality Act 2010, employers, service providers and education providers have to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people in three circumstances, one of which is to change a physical feature. Sometimes a physical feature of a building or other premises may make it more difficult for you to access or use it.
Examples of reasonable adjustments to this could include:
- providing ramps and stairway lifts
- making doorways wider
- installing automatic doors
- providing more lighting and clearer signs.
Other reasonable adjustments can include changing the way things are done or providing extra aids or services such as providing a particular aid, piece of equipment or an additional service to help you access or do something.
For more information on the Equality Act 2010, please see our Equality Act info guide or contact our helpline on 0300 323 9961. If you feel that you have been discriminated against, you can contact the Equality Advisory Support Service (EASS) on 0800 800 0082 or at www.equalityadvisoryservice.com/. You can find useful information about discrimination on the European Human Rights Commission website at www.equalityhumanrights.com.
Advice on physical access and building regulations
A good first step is to contact your local access panel. Access panels are groups of volunteers who work together to improve physical access and wider social inclusion in their local communities. You can find your local access panel by visiting the Access Network website and searching the directory of access panels at http://accesspanelnetwork.org.uk/directory-panels/.
The Centre for Accessible Environments provide consultancy, training, research and publications on building design and management to meet all user needs, including disabled and older people and have a range of publications on their website at www.cae.org.uk. If you can’t find the information you are looking for you can email them on firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 020 7822 8232.
To find out about technical information and best practice guidelines on accessible design, you can download copies of the Access Guides – Removing barriers, enabling change. The guides have been produced in partnership with the Glasgow Centre for Inclusive Living (GCIL) and are produced as part of a a set. You can download the access guides from the links below:
It can be really helpful if you’re venturing out and about, to know beforehand how accessible the places are that you will be visiting. The following websites provide access information on venues in the UK. This can help to plan trips out and holidays.
Euan’s Guide is a website that features disabled access reviews from disabled people and their friends and families. You can use the website to search for listings and reviews of venues across the UK and beyond. Listings include information about accessible toilets, wheelchair access, hearing loops and multiple other access features that exist at any one particular venue.
DisabledGo is an online information service providing detailed access information to 1000’s of venues across the UK and Ireland. Covering everything from restaurants, hotels and tourist attractions to doctors, dentists, colleges, universities and hospitals.
Direct Enquiries Limited contains listings of venues, properties and buildings with disabled access. The site allows you to filter results by their accessible features (e.g. induction loop, staff assistance, guide dogs)
Good Access Guide is an online guide to accessible sporting, leisure and entertainment venues
OpenBritain is a one stop shop for accessible tourism in the UK providing you with a simple way to find accessible destinations and places to stay. All of the properties on the website are self-assessed, however if you are looking for some extra assurance look out for the VisitEngland logo on venues that have been professionally assessed.
Disability Information Scotland – Accessible Holidays blog
If you do need any further information on disabled access, please contact our helpline on 0300 323 9961. If you are looking to get a disabled home adaptations, please see our Disabled Home Adaptation info guide.