Working out what needs to change
If you look at the definition of disability, you will immediately realise that disabled people are a diverse group with different requirements. No single aspect of the way in which you deliver your services will create barriers for all disabled people, or, in most cases, for disabled people generally.
A practice, or a feature of your premises, which is a barrier for people with a particular impairment may present no difficulties for others with a different impairment.
Some barriers may affect some people with the same impairment differently.
People with a visual impairment who use assistance dogs will be prevented from using services with a ‘no dogs’ policy, whereas visually impaired people who do not use assistance dogs will not be affected by this policy. The service provider must think about the needs of both groups.
Remember, the duty is a duty to disabled people in general. You must make reasonable adjustments even if you do not know that a particular customer, client, service user or member is a disabled person or even if you believe that you currently have no disabled customers, clients, service users or members.
On the other hand, once you are aware of the requirements of a particular disabled person who uses or seeks to use your services, it might then be reasonable for you to take a particular step to meet these requirements. This is especially so where someone has pointed out the difficulty that they face in accessing services, or has suggested a reasonable solution to that difficulty.
You are not expected to anticipate the needs of every individual who may use their service. You are required to think about and take reasonable steps to overcome features that may create a disadvantage for people with particular kinds of impairments – for example, people with visual impairments hearing impairments, mobility impairments, learning disabilities and mental health conditions.
Last Updated: 13 May 2014