Duo To Recheck Businesses For Accessibility Improvements
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
January 25, 2006
BANBURY, ENGLAND--A pair of advocates will be patrolling businesses in Banbury over the next two months to see how well they are complying with the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.
According to a press statement from the Oxfordshire County Council, Ruby Smillie, who uses the county-run Greenwood Day Services, and Julia Houghton, a day service employee, will be touring such businesses as shops, pubs, eating places, and doctors and dentists offices through March to see whether they have made positive changes in accessibility since the most recent provisions of the law came into force 16 months ago.
The team will go door-to-door to conduct an accessibility survey that they first conducted a year ago. At that time they found that some businesses were quite disability-friendly, but that many still were not aware of what was the new law required.
This past autumn, the council sent businesses an information packet explaining how they could make their services more accessible, and warning that failure to provide "reasonable adjustments" could leave businesses open to civil lawsuits from patrons with disabilities. The council also sent letters of congratulations to those businesses that had done well.
"Hopefully those businesses that needed to make changes will have done something to improve things for disabled people," said Pauline Turner, who manages the program.
"In many cases it just requires a bit of reorganization -- stacking shelves when the shop is closed for instance, so there aren't boxes all over the floor during opening hours, or not putting stock in the only changing room for people with disabilities, or making sure that the lift for disabled people isn't left broken."
"New survey of businesses to check access for people with disabilities" (Oxfordshire County Council)