Free help with the DDA

A free service has been launched to help small and medium-sized businesses assess how accessible their premises are for disabled customers, as part of their obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act.

Created by Direct Enquiries, a directory of businesses with good access facilities for people with disabilities, the Access Assessment aims to help smaller firms meet their legal requirements and attract more of the UK’s ten million disabled people, who spend over £80 billion every year.

Companies who register with Direct Enquiries can use the results of their Access Assessment, alongside the directenquiries.com Action Plan, to identify areas where access needs improvement. The Action Plan also includes advice on simple changes that can be made to improve access to goods and services at no cost. For example, stacking shelves vertically rather than horizontally to ensure products are accessible to all.

’Small and medium-sized businesses regularly offer better customer service than their big brand competitors, including better service to disabled people or parents seeking pushchair access,’ believes Grant Kennedy, directenquiries.com’s chief executive. ‘Unfortunately, most companies struggle in providing better physical access or communicating what access they have, usually due to the belief that it is too costly to make changes, or too expensive to audit.’

’The Disability Rights Commission (DRC) is delighted that a service such as directenquiries.com exists as it helps to give disabled people more choice and at the same time assists businesses both large and small to meet part of their legal obligations,’ said DRC chairman Bert Massie.

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