Service provision - disability law
Part III of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) makes it unlawful for those providing goods, facilities and services to the public and those selling, letting or managing premises to discriminate against disabled people in certain circumstances.
The DDA makes it unlawful for a service provider to:
- refuse to provide a service to a disabled person which is offered to the public.
- provide a service to a disabled person at a lower standard or on worse terms than that at which is offered to the public.
- fail to make a reasonable adjustment.
All service providers are covered by the DDA, large and small, private and public sector, whether the service is free or paid for. This includes, but is not limited to, services and facilities such as:
- shops and restaurants
- banks and building societies
- doctors and dentist surgeries
- bus and railway stations
- churches and other places of worship; and
- hotels and guest houses.
Under the DDA, service providers also have a duty to make reasonable adjustments to enable people with disabilities to access their services. Reasonable adjustments may mean changing practices, policies or procedures if they make it impossible or unreasonably difficult for disabled people to access a service.
Where a physical feature makes it impossible or ureasonably difficult to access services, service providers have a duty to take reasonable steps to:
- remove, alter or avoid the feature.
- provide an alternative method of accessing the service.
The duties placed on service providers towards disabled people are anticipatory. This means that service providers need to consider the requirements of disabled people in general and not the individual requirements of each disabled customer that may come to use their service. Disabled people´s needs should be considered in advance, rather than waiting until a disabled person wants to use the service you offer.
A leisure centre installs a textphone in its reception to ensure that deaf and hearing impaired customers are able to contact the centre regarding opening times, exercise classes or other facilities. The leisure centre advertises the textphone on brochures and its website.
A restaurant has a policy of not allowing dogs onto its premises. A customer arrives with an assistance dog and a reasonable adjustment is made to this policy, allowing the dog in the restaurant.
Detailed information and best practice guidance is available in our Publications - disability section. You can also request hard copies of available publications from our Enquiry line - 90 890 890.