§ Maria Eagle
There are legal requirements concerning accessibility for disabled customers under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and, for new buildings, in Building Regulations. However, we know that many businesses simply wish to make their premises accessible because they know that this is good for customers and good for their business.
There is significant technical and practical information available to help businesses who are planning to improve accessibility for disabled people. In particular, the Disability Rights Commission has published a Code of Practice on Rights of Access to Goods, Facilities, Services and Premises, which provides practical guidance on how to improve access.
Local authority Building Control Departments are able to provide advice on compliance with Building Regulations and further advice on improving accessibility may be obtained from organisations such as the National Register of Access Consultants and the Centre For Accessible Environments.
The Government works with these organisations to ensure that businesses have effective information on how to improve access for their disabled customers.
§ Maria Eagle
We have run three publicity campaigns since 1999 to raise awareness of the Disability Discrimination Act, using posters, radio and press advertising. The latest campaign, "Open to Change" ran from January to March 2002. It was aimed specifically at service providers and illustrated the types of changes they can make to improve the delivery of their goods and services to disabled people.
The Government will also continue working through the Equality Direct helpline, the Disability Rights Commission, the Small Business Service and other organisations to ensure that effective information and advice is available to businesses.