Monday, 27 December 2010
Tuesday, 21 December 2010
There are approximately 10 million disabled people in Great Britain covered by the Disability Discrimination Act: about 18 percent of the population. There are over 6.9 million disabled people are of working age which represents 19 percent of the working population. Only 50 percent of disabled people of working age are in employment compared to 81 percent of non-disabled people of working age. 76% of disabled people with a higher education qualification are in employment compared with 90% of non-disabled people. Of those with no qualification, 23% of disabled people are in employment compared with 60% of non-disabled people. Disabled people are almost twice as likely as non-disabled people to have no qualification at all. Disabled people are more than twice as likely as non-disabled people to be out of work and claiming benefits. Of the 2.4 million disabled people on state benefits and not in work nearly a million would like to work. The incidence of disability increases with age. Whilst 9 per cent of adults aged 16-24 are disabled, this increases to about 33 per cent in the 50 to retirement age category. In 2004 40% of the English population are over 45, the age at which the incidence of disability begins to increase.
And here is the rub.
One in every three people either has a disability or has a close relative or friend who is disabled. Office of National Statistics, Census 2001 The estimated annual purchasing power of people with disabilities is £80 billion. Family Resource Survey 2002/2003
That means that the chances are that either you or a friend is disabled, so it's very close to all of us. AND if you have a business then there is around £80billion worth of purchasing that you might be missing out on.
And if they aren't good enough reasons then you have a legal responsibility. So what is holding businesses back from making access better? It seems that many businesses think the work would be too expensive. Others think that it doesn't matter. What do you think?
I believe that you can improve access for most businesses and properties
Just back from a trip to Liverpool to carry out a disability access audit for a company before they sign the lease on their office.
While travelling I sat next to a lady who was blind and we had a most interesting discussion. Well, actually she answered some questions I had in the back of my mind.
Most people just associate disability with wheelchair users: they forget those who can't hear or see to well, have learning difficulties, arthritis, are very short or tall, have no feelings through nerve loss or the many other impairments.Some disabilities are not obvious and some that you think will be, aren't There are also different levels of disability. For example most people who are registered blind can actually see to some degree. They may just be able to see shapes and colours: might only be able to read at a few inches away from their face. I remember a friend who had a guide dog but could read at very close quarters. When she read the paper on the train she'd get comments - so she stopped reading in public. But on one occasion I recall her almost falling over on the beach when she just couldn't see a large piece of driftwood.
My co-traveller told me how difficult it was recognising steps and stairs. and that she'd fallen down a couple of times.There are special slabs that are used to tell blind people when they are approaching steps and stairs. These are called tactile slabs and the one for steps has a corduroy pattern. These are often used in the wrong place which could lead toreal problems. Only last week I saw the corduroy slabs running along a railway platform. This could be mistaken for a step with dire consequences.
Tuesday, 23 November 2010
"There is so much to do here to make the building accessible that we can't afford it!" "We are on rhe first floor so we can't get disabled people in here"
So you should be thinking about an access audit if you haven't done so already. It's not too late.
Up til now most cases that have been brought against businesses in relation to disability discrimination have been settled out of court and so you don't know about them but it is happening. I think that this is going to change. On the whole disabled people have been patient and understanding. Well! In many cases they don't know their rights and often they don't feel they can make a difference.
An access audit is completed with a report laying out the steps you need to take to make your business accessible to all. Many are written by surveyors and architects and give exact specifications and are couched in technical terms. This is great if being read by some-one with the knowledge. But often the facilities manager or person responsible doesn't undestand and just passes the list onto a builder. When the work is complete they have to rely on the builder that the work is technically correct.
Mike Leahy writes script reports in layman's language that are easily understood and include the reason for the adjustment too. He takes a pragmatic apprioach and often knows of a quick fix or low cost adjustment. He'll also grade recommendations so you can deal with the priorities first and perhaps leave the "best practice" items til last.
If you haven't assessed what is necessary or taken any action do so now. It will ensure you comply with the legisltaion but equally important will broaden your customer base.
Friday, 12 November 2010
Do you run a business? If so do you know about the Disability Discrimination Act 1995? Have you taken steps to ensure that disabled people can buy your products and services as easily as non-disabled people can? Every disabled person and their families may be unable to buy from you because you haven't made provision for them.
There are over 10 million disabled people in the UK and each of them is a potential customer for you. Add to that their families and the number of potential customers is huge.
The number of suppliers I have met recently who think that having a website will allow disabled people to buy from them and that's all they need to do. WRONG! You can't have a meal over the internet. Many people won't buy clothes over the internet because they want to try clothes on.
Think about the customer service you offer. Do you find actually talking to possible customers encourages them to buy from you? Do you train your staff to sell? Isn't it all about making a connection with people and helping them make a buying decision? Yes! Of course it is. Yes I know that Argos sell from a catalogue so you can't feel and touch the products but you can take them back over a very generous returns guarantee. But isn't it true that they have cultivated this as a way of saving money. You assume that the prices are competitive . . . but if you compare you'll possible find really competitive prices elswhere
1. There are over 6.9 million disabled people of working age which represents 19% of the working population.
2. There are over 10 million disabled people in Britain, of whom 5 million are over state pension age.
3. There are two million people with sight problems in the UK.
Families with disabled children
1. There are 770,00 disabled children under the age of 16 in the UK. That equates to 1 child in 20.
2. Only 8% of families get services from their local social services.
3. It costs up to three times as much to raise a disabled child as it does to raise a child without disabilities.
Disability and employment
1. There are currently 1.3 million disabled people in the UK who are available for and want to work.
2. Only half of disabled people of working age are in work (50%), compared with 80% of non disabled people.
3. 23% of disabled people have no qualifications compared to 9% of non disabled people.
4. Nearly one in five people of working age (7 million, or 18.6%) in Great Britain have a disability.
The ageing population
1. Over the last 25 years the percentage of the population aged 65 and over increased from 15 per cent in 1983 to 16 per cent in 2008, an increase of 1.5 million people in this age group. Over the same period, the percentage of the population aged 16 and under decreased from 21 per cent to 19 per cent. This trend is projected to continue. By 2033, 23 per cent of the population will be aged 65 and over compared to 18 per cent aged 16 or younger.
2. The fastest population increase has been in the number of those aged 85 and over, the ’oldest old‘. In 1983, there were just over 600,000 people in the UK aged 85 and over. Since then the numbers have more than doubled reaching 1.3 million in 2008. By 2033 the number of people aged 85 and over is projected to more than double again to reach 3.2 million, and to account for 5 per cent of the total population.