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DCAN 11(Draft): Access for all - Designing for an Accessible Environment
Legislation and Codes of Practice (Page 2 of 5)

The Disability Discrimination Act 1995

3.9 The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 Opens link in a new browser window (DDA) includes measures to end discrimination against people with disabilities by providing new rights in the areas of employment, obtaining goods and services, and buying or renting land or property.
3.10 It is now against the law for:
  • an employer or service provider to treat a disabled person less favourably than someone else because of their disability;
  • for a service provider to refuse to serve someone who is disabled;
  • to offer a disabled person a service at a lower standard or on different terms; or
  • to discriminate when selling or letting land or property.
3.11 The range of duties on employers and service providers to prevent discrimination against disabled people are contained in Part II and Part III of the DDA respectively. These duties are being introduced in stages to allow time to plan ahead with the final rights coming into force in October 2004.
3.12 Since December 1996 employers and people who provide goods and services to the public have had to take reasonable measures to ensure that they are not discriminating against people with disabilities.
3.13 Since October 1999 Service providers have also a duty to make adjustments to their service. Where a disabled person finds that the use of a service is impossible or unreasonably difficult, a service provider will have to take reasonable steps to change policies, practices and procedures and provide auxiliary aids and services.
3.14 From October 2004 service providers will also be required to make reasonable adjustments to overcome or remove physical barriers to access, so that a disabled person can use the service.
3.15 A service provider includes:
Anyone involved in a business or an organisation that provides goods, facilities or services to the public, or to a section of the public, whether in the private, public or voluntary sectors. It does not matter if services are provided free or in return for payment.
The DDA Code of Practice (see below) offers further guidance on what services are and are not affected by the legislation.
3.16 Employers and service providers will be acting unlawfully if they fail to comply with the duties imposed by the DDA and cannot show that the failure is justified. It will therefore be cost effective for employers and service providers to plan ahead by undertaking an access audit to evaluate whether or not physical improvements to their premises are necessary (See Section 4.0).
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