From Our Toolkit
The Equality Act and the Disability Discrimination Act are anticipatory duties – this means you will need to plan ahead and not wait to be challenged about your services. A good way of assessing if you are providing access for all is to undertake an access audit.
An access audit is an assessment of the accessibility of an environment, its facilities and any services delivered from it (including your online presence). An audit will take into consideration existing or potential users and any barriers.
It is recommended that you familiarise yourself with the Equality Act or the Disability Discrimination Act and then undertake an access audit, or approach an independent access auditor to conduct an access audit on your behalf. This will act as a baseline assessment from which you can create an action plan to address the recommendations from the audit.
Don’t panic about getting everything correct. One step at a time is good, accepting it is better to get one thing right before moving onto the next.
In-house Access Audits
- To undertake an in-house access review, South East Museum Development’s Access Review Template is easy to use.
- For an introduction to physical access, Historic England have produced two guides: Easy Access to Historic Buildings and Easy Access to Historic Landscapes and the Arts Council England’s have published Building Access: A good practice guide for arts and cultural organisations.
Independent Access Auditor
Building projects and for funders an independent professional audit can be a requirement. The National Register of Access Consultants is a useful resource to find an auditor. But depending on your needs you may also consider approaching a local access group or working with your own disability advisory group.