What is a Disability Access Audit?
The purpose of an access audit also known as a DDA audit, Equality Act Audit or a Disability Accessibility Audit is to assess or benchmark how accessible an environment, building or service is for the needs of its current and potential future customers who have a disability or an impairment.
It is a Legal Requirement of the Equality Act to have an Access Audit carried; in fact, the code of conduct states the following:
All service providers must act upon the recommendations of an access audit carried out by a suitably qualified person
Why should I have an Access Audit carried out?
Under The Equality Act 2010 you have to act upon the results of an access audit carried out by a suitably qualified person, that person should have the Relevant Qualifications or be Degree Qualified as there are many factors which have to be considered.
An ESL Services Audit puts you in control and ESL will keep you informed and compliant with any legislative changes for the next five years.
This will identify what ‘reasonable adjustments’ you must carry out and ensure you will meet your obligations under Part III of the DDA 1995 and 2004 as amended, BS8300:2018 Parts 1-2, Part M of the building regulations and also the Equality Act 2010.
It will also help toward the Guidelines of the GPhC Principles.
The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) is the independent regulator for pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacy premises in Great Britain.
What is a disability access statement?
A disability access statement is used in the design or planning phase of an environment or building to measure the compliance of the building against inclusive design standards for optimum accessibility for people with impairments or disabilities.
What are ‘reasonable adjustments’?
‘Reasonable Adjustments’ are identified by having your access audit carried out, and they can be something like Assistive listening technology (Induction Hearing Loops), Access Ramps or Signage.
Service providers are required to make changes, where needed, to improve service for disabled customers or potential customers.
There is a legal requirement to make reasonable changes to the way things are done (such as changing a policy), to the built environment (such as making changes to the structure of a building to improve access) and to provide auxiliary aids and services (such as providing information in an accessible format, an induction loop for customers with hearing aids, special computer software or additional staff support when using a service).
What could happen if I do not carry out an access audit or make ‘reasonable adjustments’?
You would leave yourself open to be taken to court by being issued with a DL56.
If you did receive this it would mean that you are going to court, and you will be fined for injury to feelings and made to carry out the access audit and the adjustments.
What if I do not want to make ‘reasonable adjustments’?
For you not to carry out ‘reasonable adjustments’ this would be deemed unlawful.
What Happens if you recieve a DL56 Questionnaire or Notice?
A DL56 Questionnaire or Notice procedure also known as the “questionnaire procedure” under section 56 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, is a procedure of complaint from a person who feels that they have be discriminated against.
The first things you will be asked when you receive a DL56 is:
- Have you had an Access Audit carried out, if yes by whom, when was it carried out and can we have a copy?
- If you have not, then why not?
An Access Audit carried out by ESL will give you peace mind knowing that we will ensure that your Business is in safe hands and that we will be on hand to assist you with anything that you may require not only with the Access Audit but with any DDA and other relevant Legislation.
The cost of this Access Audit really is a unique price for your peace of mind and to assist your Business in a way that you meet your obligations under the DDA and The Equality Act 2010.
How much would I be fined?
The minimum amount in case law for injury to feelings is £33,000.
You will also have court cost for both sets of lawyers, and the cost of time away from running your business, and the bad publicity that will be generated.
Making ‘Reasonable Adjustments’
With ESL Services – this is actually quite a simple process; we will assist you with an audit which will identify the adjustments you can make to ensure you comply with The Equality Act 2010 & DDA.
And as a company with over 16 year’s experience in this area we can provide you with everything that you need to comply and ensure everything is correctly configured to assist your customers with disabilities.
To arrange an audit, follow our simple 1 – 5 step guide:
STEP ONE - Arrange an Audit
Our friendly staff will then take your details and your Access Auditor will contact you to make an appointment at a convenient date for both parties.
One of our experienced Access Auditors will visit the premises and will carry out an assessment of the arranged site as well as your management and service practices.
The Access Auditor will inspect the following:
- The external environment including the arrival experience and approach.
- Entrance and reception area.
- Horizontal circulation and vertical circulation (lifts and stairs).
- And many other factors covered by the legislation.
STEP TWO - Our Recommendations
Once the Audit has been completed you will receive a user-friendly, detailed copy of the report in a digital format.
- The report will identify the necessary recommendations for change, the “reasonable adjustments” that you will have to make to assist your Customers.
- By making these adjustments you will not only be assisting your customers but, you will be working towards complying with the Equality Act 2010.
A helpful guide based on the immediate changes recommended with each change and possible supplier.
- A service provider must take reasonable steps to provide auxiliary aids or services if this would enable (or make it easier for) disabled people to make use of any services.
To help you plan and resource adjustments, recommendations will be:
- Costs and Suppliers suggested
STEP THREE – On Site Installation
If there are any requirements for equipment, ESL Services have over 16 years experience, will provide you with the best advice and high quality bespoke equipment to adhere to the legislation.
Assistive listening Systems:
- Assistive listening systems enable sound signals to be transmitted to people who are Deaf and hard of hearing, without interference from background noise or reverberation.
- Assistive listening systems include counter induction loops, Room Loops, infrared or radio transmission systems.
- Access ramps are used to allow people with mobility impairments and wheelchair users to access your premises free from barriers.
- Installing a fixed ramp is not always possible, so the use of a mobile or portable ramp will be next step to provide the ‘reasonable adjustments’ and the necessary access to your premises.
- Evacuation Chairs & Stair Climbers are ergonomically designed and are used to transport someone with impaired mobilty in an emergency situation to a safe location in a comfortable, secure and safe way.
STEP FOUR – Training
ESL Services believe that the provision of accessibility is not only physical but educational as well.
- We deliver a dynamic and comprehensive face-to-face training.
- Each training session or package can be tailored to address different areas of activity, any staff concerns and outcomes.
- This will provide you with the tools your business needs to become not only disability smart but compliant with legislation.
STEP FIVE – Keeping You Informed
As a valued Customer to ESL Services we will keep you up to date with any changes during the 5 Year period that your Access Audit is validated for.