All disabled people are fully aware of the importance of disabled access to public buildings and services such as restaurants, banks etc but are the current access audit firms out there today providing a service and recommendations that actually assist the disabled person rather than simply ticking boxes for businesses that need to comply and in turn giving poor advice and inadequate services to businesses?
Three of our disabled reviewers have been looking at the access audit companies out there today discovered that surprisingly many are falling short of assisting us as disabled people and are in turn putting businesses at risk of claims of disability discrimination being made against them due to choosing the wrong access auditor.
We are not about to name and shame those providing unhelpful services, instead we will tell you what an access audit company should, as well as should not be doing. Many also appear to have little or no experience of disability.
Unfortunately many access audit companies are taking the easy route and using electronic devices that predict what access changes need to be made and what is and what is not reasonable as far as making changes are concerned. A big no, no in our view.
Disabled Access audit companies to avoid:
- Any company that uses handheld, electronic devices to make recommendations.
- Any company that cannot explain the importance of “reasonable adjustment”
- Companies that claim to be able to undertake a full audit for a considerably low fee.
- Companies that cannot provide details of extensive qualifications and insurance cover.
- Auditing companies that have no disabled people on board or involved in the audit process.
Our searches found very few companies that ticked all the boxes and in our view leaves many businesses at risk of future discrimination claims by having a poor access audit undertaken and therefore inadequate findings and recommendations made to assist them as a business and also to ensure that disabled people of all disabilities are able to fully access and egress the buildings and services within compliance to the Equality Act 2010.
While we are not going to name and shame we can however give credit to one particular company that is owned and run by a wheelchair user and been established since 2003.
Access All Areas stands out from the crowd and fully explained the access audit process, the requirements under the act as well as the importance of “reasonable adjustment” both for the business and the disabled person. They also provide disability discrimination claim assistance both for businesses and individuals.
Each and every access audit provided by Access All Areas is bespoke and each issue fully examined to find a sensible and workable solution rather than relying on electronic wizardry or guess work that appears to be the problem in this field of business. Their prices appear to be middle-of-the-road and they openly offered examples of their work along with details of past clients that include an impressive list such as The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, Department of Industry, DWP and many major government bodies as well as some of the largest and most respected companies in the UK.
It is never easy to find an ideal business to undertake important inspections, especially ones that are needed to comply with complicated disability requirements, we would however suggest that businesses needing the services of a disability access auditor ensure that the disabled person not only fully understands all disabilities including wheelchair users, vision impaired, hearing impaired and those with learning difficulties but is also qualified and has a good track record when it comes to satisfied clients.
Access All Areas can be found by visiting www.access-auditing.com or telephoning (01255) 242777. Please remember to say that you heard about them through Mobility Shopper Reviews.