The legal requirements and responsibilities regarding equality of access for disabled people apply to every aspect of service provision and delivery. Individual circumstances regarding cost, perceived benefit, etc will dictate the scope and extent of the policy which the golf clubdevelops.
This section is designed to provide key points to enable a golf club to design and develop a universal access policy.
It is vital to review, amend and monitor the progress of the policy on a regular basis. This is best achieved by having reasonable timescales for implementation and delegated responsibilities for progressing the policy.
Many significant improvements to access can be made without incurring substantial financial cost. Improving access for disabled people also improves access to goods, facilities or services for a wide range of the population.
Addressing improvements in access retrospectively is expensive. Similarly having to correct works that do not meet legal requirements may be avoided by knowing what constitutes good access practice.
There are a number of key requirements that are required to ensure there are no barriers to the club's facilities or services and a Universal Access Policy is one of the main pieces of documentation to ensure that this happens. A Universal Access Policy:
- Should be part of the equality or equal opportunities policy of the business. This should be integrated into the mission statement and objectives of the business.
- Gives an indication to customers, service users and employees (some of whom may be disabled) that the business is proactive and positive about disabled people and wants to serve all members of the community equally well. It makes good economic and business sense.
- Is designed to formalise and affirm the business' commitment to access and equality for all. A business which has an equality policy can demonstrate that priorities for change, responsibilities and timescales are monitored.
The Equality Act 2010 (EA) places a responsibility on service providers to remove barriers and make reasonable adjustments to ensure equal access for disabled people.
The law does not give detailed comprehensive guidance. The Equality and Human Rights Commission or in Northern Ireland the Equality Commission, statutory Codes of Practice, Rights of Access to Goods/Facilities/Services/Premises urges organisations to go further than the letter of the law and adopt good and best practice in relation to access for disabled persons.
The Code of Practice uses the social model of disability that is based on the belief that persons are disabled not by their impairments but by:
- Physical and environmental barriers.
- Prejudiced attitudes and beliefs.
- Policies and practices which exclude disabled persons.
It is therefore possible to overcome these barriers by:
1. Making premises accessible, where possible, by providing necessary adaptations and reasonable adjustments to improve access such as:
- Accessible toilets;
- Information in different formats;
- Sign language interpreters, hearing induction loops or providing the service in another way i.e. being flexible in the manner of providing the service wherever possible.
2. Education of all persons involved in the business to change attitudes and promote positive images of disabled persons.
3. Involving disabled customers, service users and employees.
4. Challenging policies and changing practices where required to ensure that there is no direct or indirect discrimination.
Questions to Consider
- Has a Universal Access Policy been developed?
- Currently are there any physical barriers that would stop any person from accessing the club's facilities or services?
- Where there are physical barriers have measures been implemented to overcome these?
- Have staff been briefed on the Universal Access Policy and the requirement to provide universal access to all facilities and services?
- Where complaints are made under the Equality Act are they dealt with on a timely basis?
The above guidance provides an introduction on the main requirements needed to adequately manage this health and safety topic. If you require further guidance, risk assessments or template documentation on this subject please consult your relevant full guidance health and safety website (BIGGA, England Golf, Scottish Golf, Wales Golf). If you do not hold the log in details for this website, for your club, please speak to your golf club management team to identify who the account administrator is and request the details.