- Access Design (Part M) Guide
- Access Newsletter
- Access Questions
- Access to Council Venues
- Accessible Meetings Checklist
- Accessible Toilets
- Design and Access Statements
- Disability Benefits
- Disability Equality Scheme
- Disability Discrimination Act
- Hearing Loops
- Help at Home
- Horsham and District Access Forum
- Improving Health and Social Care
Below are listed a few of the more common questions relating to access for disabled people and meeting the requirements of the Equality Act which has superseded the Disability Discrimination Act.
- I own a small shop in the high street. There is a single step into my shop. There is no room on the pavement to create a ramp but a number of customers have complained about being unable to obtain access. What should I do?
You should try to remove the physical barrier if at all possible. Only in exceptional circumstances will the local highways department allow you to build on the pavement but it is always worth seeking their advice. You could consider whether you can achieve the necessary ramped gradient from within the shop itself which can be very effective with a little creative thought. If space is limited you could consider a temporary ramp or an alternative access route e.g. side or rear entrance. In either of these cases you would need to provide a clear notice, and a means of attracting attention (e.g. a bell push) at the main entrance. Don’t forget that you can still make improvements for ambulant disabled people, people with hearing and visual impairments even if you cant make your shop fully accessible to people who use a wheelchair or a scooter.
- I’m putting in a toilet facility in my shop. Under the Equality Act 2010 (formerly the DDA) do I have to make it wheelchair accessible?
Under the Equality Act (2010) you don’t have to provide access to WC facilities but this will depend upon the nature of your service. If you are a local newsagent people won't expect or need access to WC facilities to make use of your service. But in a local pub, restaurant or café where people are consuming food and drink, and staying for longer periods it may be more reasonable to expect access to such a facility. If you provide a WC facility for visitors it should be suitable for everyone (including disabled people)! However, the installation of a new WC requires a Building Regulations application and this is likely to require that a wheelchair accessible WC is provided where reasonable and practicable. The requirements of the Equality Act (2010) and Building Regulations are different and you should be aware of this. If you are in any doubt you should always seek further advice from your local authority building control department and/or access officer before starting any work.
- I have an issue with my local pub who don’t have an accessible entrance or suitable WC facilities. It’s a pub that my friends use regularly so I’m worried about making a fuss.
You could try writing to the pub or to the brewery directly anonymously outlining some of the problems. Under the DDA 1995 these access issues should have already been addressed and the pub should have an access strategy in place for making services accessible. If they haven’t addressed these issues they are potentially breaking the law and discriminating against disabled people. You could contact the local authority access officer or the local access group who would probably be willing to raise the issue on your behalf. The local authority only has advisory powers the legal power lies only with the person who has been discriminated against i.e. You. It might be worth contacting the Equality and Human Rights Commission (website) who have a legal advice line and may be prepared to act on your behalf. Finally, you and your friends could consider using an alternative accessible venue with a more considerate and inclusive approach towards their customers!
- I’m planning carrying out some access improvements to my business. Where can I get up-to-date advice on what I should be thinking of for disabled staff and visitors.
Sussex Building Control has a design guide document that you might find useful. The 2004 edition of Part M (of the building regulations) will give you an idea of what the building regulations require with regard to access for staff and visitors. You could also discuss any concerns with your local Access Officer or Local Authority Building Control Officer.
- I have short-listed a disabled person for a post in our office but I’m not sure how easily it will be to accommodate them in our workplace. The office is quite old and at present we have no accessible facilities. Is there any help we can get?
The Access to Work team can help both financially and with advice. You would be advised to discuss your concerns with the potential employee but this should not prevent you from offering the job to them if they are the most suitable candidate. The Access to Work team can help you assess the workplace and plan adaptations (if required) with you. In some cases they will fund up to 80% of the cost of any associated works. You should also consider commissioning a detailed Access Audit of your premises as this will provide vital information and advice when you develop a long-term access strategy. Improved access will not only benefit employees but also those to whom you provide a service.
If you have a question with regard to access for disabled people or concerns with meeting the requirements of the Equality Act (2010) you can email your question to Horsham District Council's Equalities Officer.