Our Disability Service
Disabled people including people: sensory loss, cognitive impairment, older people, people with pushchairs, young children find it difficult to move around independently and safely in the environment. It is important that these problems are recognised and much is done to remove barriers that prevent people from leading an active life.
Some examples of common disabilities you may find are:
- vision Impairment
- deaf or hard of hearing
- mental health conditions
- intellectual disability
- acquired brain injury
- autism spectrum disorder
- physical disability
The built environment must be able to adapt to meet both the changing needs of society and the demands of the legislators. An inclusive approach to the design of environment accepts that all users have a range of needs and abilities and that these should be addressed by designs that allow the majority of people to use the environment comfortably, as independently as possible and, most importantly, safely.
The London Borough of Redbridge is committed to creating an inclusive environment, which will enable all people to move around safely, independently and without undue restrictions.
View the Access for All booklet (PDF 1.2MB)
The Equality Act 2010 (EA) streamlines and strengthens anti-discrimination legislation in Great Britain. It replaces a range of anti-discrimination legislation and extends to all protected characteristics: age, disability, religion, race, sex, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity.
When public authorities carry out their functions, the Equality Act (public sector Equality Duty (PSED) says they must have due regard or think about the need to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between different people when carrying out their activities.
These are sometimes referred to as the three aims of the general equality duty. The Act helpfully explains that having due regard for advancing equality involves:
- Removing or minimising disadvantages suffered by people due to their protected characteristics
- Taking steps to meet the needs of people from protected groups where these are different from the needs of other people
- Encouraging people from protected groups to participate in public life or in other activities where their participation is disproportionately low
The Equality Act 2010 aims to protect disabled people and prevent disability discrimination. It provides legal rights for disabled people in the areas of:
- access to goods, services and facilities
- buying and renting land or property
- functions of public bodies, for example the issuing of licences
You are disabled under the Equality Act 2010 if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities.
More information about disability and the Equality Act can be found on the Government Equalities website.
Service providers have a 'duty to make reasonable adjustments, i.e take reasonable steps to remove, alter or provide a reasonable means of avoiding an obstacle, which makes it difficult for disabled people to use a service. These include:
- Changing provisions, criteria or practices where it puts disabled people at a disadvantage e.g. you operate a nursery and your admissions state that all children must be out of nappies before they are accepted. A disabled child applies that is still in nappies, this is due to his disability. It would be reasonable to change this practice so he can join the nursery. If the reason he was in nappies had nothing to do with his disability you would not have to make any changes.
- Providing auxiliary aids and services to support where failure to do so would put disabled people at a substantial disadvantage e.g. voice activated software.
- Adaptation to allow a disabled employee to use word related equipment e.g. screen reader, specialist software.
- Changing the physical features of a building where it puts disabled people at a substantial disadvantage (including outside, entry, lighting, fixtures and fittings, etc) e.g. the layout of a library is changed to make sure wheelchair users can access it and picture signs are used to make it more accessible to users with learning disabilities.
The duty to make reasonable adjustments is 'anticipatory'. This means that service providers must look at what kind of barriers disabled people may face and proactively look at removing these. Service providers should not wait until a disabled person wants to use a service they provide before they give consideration to their duty to make reasonable adjustments. This duty is also a continuing duty - it must be considered constantly.
Service providers are not expected to anticipate the needs of every individual who may use their service, but what they are required to think about and take reasonable steps to overcome are features that may impede people with particular kinds of disability - for example, people with visual impairments or mobility impairments.
Examples of reasonable adjustments in services could include: Installing ramp at the entrance, lift access, wheelchair-accessible WC, wider doorways, Induction loops, large print, braille, audible announcements in lifts etc.
A service provider only has to do what is reasonable. When deciding whether a change is reasonable they can consider:
- how effective the change will be in assisting disabled people or a specific service user
- how practicable the changes are
- the cost
- their resources
- size of the organisation
- impact on others
- health and safety issues
A service provider can treat disabled people more favourably and sometimes this may be part of the solution.
Further information could be obtained from the Equality and Human Rights Commission website
London Borough of Redbridge 'Access for All' contains details of technical design standards. If you would like to receive a copy in alternative format such as print, large prints, Braille etc. please contact the Access Officer.
Who to contact
One Place East (Disability Organisation in Redbridge)
Access Officer, Olufunmi Rita Adeoye
Telephone: 0208 708 2539
Phone: 0808 800 0082
Textphone: 0808 800 0084
You can email using the contact form on the EASS website.
Also available through the website are BSL interpretation, web chat services and a contact us form.