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Survey questions explained

Two in five (40%) disabled people in Britain were able to identify difficulties they had experienced accessing goods and services in the last 12 months.

One in four (23%) disabled people in Britain believe that they have experienced discrimination related to their impairment in accessing goods and services in the last 12 months.

With the Action for Access campaign, we hope to start to put it right by working with local people and businesses to build a UK that everyone can be part of.

1. Is the signage clear and helpful?

Making sure that the signs within your shop such as ‘changing room signs, till points etc' and price tags are clearly visible, in large print and easy to understand, means that everyone will be able to make use of them.

2. Is there an automatic door?

For wheelchair users, being faced with a big, heavy swing door is the first barrier to accessing a business. Even with assistance it can be incredibly difficult to hold open a door whilst wheeling through it - doing this alone can be practically impossible. Having an automatic door means that, not only people in wheelchairs, but anyone with a buggy or walking aid for example, can enter and exit your business easily and without fuss.

3. Is there a level access entrance?

Steps at entrances seem to crop up all over the place and are a significant barrier to anyone who has reduced mobility or is using a wheelchair. Simply by installing a ramp, or having a portable ramp available to make the entrance level, can get around this problem.

4. If there are steps throughout the building, do they have clear colour contrast?

It is harder to see things which are in a similar colour to their background. For those who are visually impaired (as well as everyone else), contrasting colours make things stand-out, i.e. makes them more visible. By painting the edge of each step and the banisters or handrails in your premises, a different colour to the rest of the staircase, you will make them stand out; therefore making your business more accessible to anyone with a visual impairment. 

5. Is there a loop system?

Induction loop systems are to assist people who wear a hearing-aid by transmitting sound from a particular source directly into the hearing aid. They can be used to allow people to hear what staff are saying for example, much more clearly.

6. Is there room to manoeuvre a wheelchair or move with and assistance dog?

Wheelchairs and assistance dogs require more space to manoeuvre that individuals standing upright. Putting tables, rails or shelves, too close together can severely inhibit people's ability to move throughout the premises, and can restrict their freedom to shop and access all areas of the service.  It is important to remember as well that many powered chairs can be larger and more bulky than ‘hand-push' manual chairs.

7. Is information available in alternative formats (i.e. easy read, Braille, large print or audio?)

Disabled people may need information in a variety of different formats, to be able to fully process and understand that information. By making sure that you have information available in different formats, you will ensure that as many people as possible can access your business.

8. Can all levels be accessed easily? (i.e. is there a good sized lift in working order?)

If you business operates across multiple floors, it is important that disabled people are able to access all of those floors in the same way as other customers can. It is important to remember that it is not only people in wheelchairs who have problems with mobility and using stairs.

9. If there is a lift, does it have audio and tactile indicators on the controls?

Audio and tactile indicators allow lifts to be accessible for people with impairments such as visual and hearing.

10. Are the staff well trained and sensitive to the needs of disabled people?

It is important that staff know what they shouldn't and shouldn't do when serving a customer with any sort of impairment. A large number of disabled people who responded to a LCD survey reported that they have been talked down to by staff who did not understand how they should interact with someone with a disabled person.

It is also important that staff are aware of the range of impairments that people may have and that needs vary for each individual.

11. Is there an accessible toilet?

For many disabled people, the lack of a disabled toilet is a serious inhibitive factor in choosing to go out. This basic adjustment is vital in order to call your business accessible.

12. Are the counters, tills and tables at an accessible height for wheelchair users?

If counters, tills and tables are not at an accessible height, people in wheelchairs face a literal barrier to using your business.

13. Are there blue badge parking spaces outside or close to the venue entrance?

For many disabled people getting out without the use of a car is an impossibility. Making sure there is blue-badge parking nearby means that disabled people can access your business, without the added concern of where to park and if there will be room for them to transfer in and out of the car. Equally, being able to travel as short a distance as possible, is vital for many disabled people.

The survey questions are NOT a full access audit they are simply access priorities that would make a venue more accessible for many disabled people but each person's access requirements can be different and these points will not make a shop or business accessible for everyone. Venues who would like a full access check should contact a registered access auditor through the National Register of Access Auditors - www.nrac.org.uk/

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