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A quick guide to disabled access at summer events

Posted by Michelle Morgan

10-07-2019

If you’re planning an inclusive summer event, you need to establish what your legal obligations are when it comes to providing access for disabled individuals. Here, we take you through your basic legal responsibilities and take a brief look at what you can do to ensure your event is accessible for everyone.

The duty to make reasonable adjustments

Legally, event accessibility is covered by the Equality Act 2010 which both defines ‘disability’ and legislates for organisers’ responsibilities regarding disabled access. It makes provisions for what is known as the ‘duty to make reasonable adjustments.’

The duty to make reasonable adjustments dictates that event organisers must make reasonable changes and adjustments to ensure that the barriers preventing disabled individuals from accessing events are removed.

What constitutes ‘reasonable’?

The wording of the duty to make reasonable adjustments means there is some ambiguity surrounding the issue of what is considered reasonable. Generally, “reasonable adjustments” are determined by the following factors:

Planning for accessibility

When planning your summer event, it’s necessary to distinguish between physical accessibility and event accessibility. The former deals with the way in which individuals move in and around an event and the facilities on offer. The latter concerns itself with the way an event makes its content publicity available and accessible to disabled individuals.

In order to ensure that they’ve considered every aspect of accessibility, organisers can start with the following four factors:

  1. Content

  1. Venue

  1. Publicity

  1. Travel

Just as important as the time spent at the event itself is the effort required to arrive and leave the event. After all, it doesn’t matter how accessible the venue is inside if disabled visitors can’t reach it in the first place. Travel considerations should include:

Conclusion

When it comes to legal obligations for disabled access at summer events, organisers are working with some relatively vague concepts although some adjustments such as ramp access and strobe light warnings will be common sense. Though the duty of reasonable adjustments is your primary legal reference, what is considered reasonable isn’t always clearly defined. For this reason, we would recommend working closely with legal professionals to ensure you meet your legal responsibilities and that everyone attending your event, regardless of their level of physical or mental ability, has a good time.


Michelle Morgan

Senior Associate
Employment Law

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