The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) and the Equality Act 2010
Prior to the DDA, legislation aimed at improving the lives of disabled people was neither mandatory, nor effective. That changed in 1995 when the DDA was first introduced with the objectives of:-
- defining disability
- preventing discrimination in employment
- reducing discrimination in other areas
- ensuring that services are accessible to all persons
- setting a timetable for the improvement of education buildings, public buildings and public transport
- establishing a National Disability Council
The DDA has had a major impact in minimising discrimination in employment, and the duties on employers have become well understood.
The main physical impact of the DDA occurred on 1 October 2004, when the latest duties imposed by Part 3 became effective, applying to all service providers.
Part 3 placed a duty on all service providers to address how they can make their services more accessible to disabled people by removing physical barriers. This is the duty to make reasonable adjustments.
The provisions of the DDA 1995 have been incorporated into the Equality Act 2010, with the rights and duties remaining as the 1995 Act.
Access Audits : an access audit is ususally the first step in determining what reasonable adjustments a service provider might need to make to an existing property. This provides an assessment of the property's accessibility, using best practice guidelines such as Approved Document M and BS:8300, to determine what improvements should be considered.
Access Plans : once an audit has been undertaken, it is important to recognise that this must be analysed and any improvement works planned or implemented as required. The Access Plan provides an ongoing snapshot of works considered, planned, undertaken or under consideration, and would be the first evidence used as part of a service provider's audit trail in demonstrating compliance with their Part 3 duties.
ACCL as Access Consultants
ACCL are fully trained and able to undertake access audits in accordance with the guidelines recommended by the Centre for Accessible Environments (CAE), who are recognised as one of the main advisory bodies for the DDA.
ACCL access audits are:-
- split into 21 detailed sections
- clearly colour coded for ease of reference
- provided with prioritised recommendations
- a cost effective source of information for reasonable adjustments and access plans
ACCL are equally able to:-
- design access solutions
- develop accessible environments
- create and maintain the Access Plan
- deal with all statutory approvals