The following is intended as guidance and as brief extracts from the legislation considered relevant, and are not intended to be a comprehensive summary of the legislation.
Special Educational Needs & Disability Act 2001
Now also supplemented by and amending Part 4 Disability Discrimination Act
Addresses provisions for the needs of disabled students.
The Special Education Needs and Disability Act 2001, amends and adds to the provisions of Part 4 of the DDA and in joint consideration, the Disability Rights Commission has issued a Code of Practice, as a guide to the implementation of the new duties in three stages:
On 1st September 2002 - the main new sections of the Act make it unlawful to discriminate against disabled people or students by treating them less favourably than others. In addition, they require responsible bodies to provide certain types of reasonable adjustments to provision where disabled students or other disabled people might otherwise be substantially disadvantaged.
By 1st September 2003 - the duty on responsible bodies to make adjustments involving the provision of auxiliary aids and services.
By 1st September 2005 - the duty on responsible bodies to make adjustments to physical features of premises where these put disabled people or students at a substantial disadvantage.
BS 8300 "The Design of Buildings and their approaches to meet the needs of Disabled People - Code of Practice"
A comprehensive design guide which updates a great deal of technical information and dimensions from Part M Building Regulations, and fills in a number of gaps left by Part M. Intended to apply to new build, this is also a valuable benchmark, with detailed dimensions and design considerations that can apply to recommended adaptations to existing buildings.
Other Related Legislation / Standards
ETC National Accessibility Standards
A set of classifications by which hoteliers can be assessed in providing services to physically disabled, and visually and hearing impaired guests.
The operator can choose a grade that it is considered achievable, and is assessed to achieve that grade.
It then gives a useful pre-visit guide to guests as to the level of accessibility to expect. However, it does not guarantee that all reasonable adjustments have been made to meet duties under DDA.
Sustainable Communities - Delivering Through Planning
The government has introduced a Good Practice Guide, to encourage local planning authorities and developers alike to consider access for disabled people, as an inclusive part of initial design. It also stresses the importance of consultation on disability issues when formulating development plans and preparing planning applications.
The good practice points include:
Refusal of planning consent on grounds of not complying with local development plan, if latter includes access policies.
Include a strategic inclusive access policy in local development plan.
Local planning authority to develop definitive inclusive design guidance for applicants.
Consider use of planning conditions for provision of inclusive access.
Applicants to be encouraged to submit Access Statements as an integral part of a planning application.
As a minimum, each planning authority should be able to call upon appropriate professional advice (such as Access Staintons!)
Encourage applicants to include an access consultant as part of the design team (Access Staintons are already doing this!)
This seems to us to be a step in the right direction, dovetailing with the provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act, and revised Part M Building Regulations 2004. Too often, the requirements of disabled people are considered late in the day, rather than as part of what can be inclusive and more sustainable scheme.