Providing Services – Reasonable Adjustments Policy
Disability Law Service will work in a way that does not place disabled people at a disadvantage. This means that we are fully committed to meeting our legal obligations under the Equality Act 2010. These include considering whether we can make adjustments to the way we deliver services if there are barriers to disabled people.
We make sure that our staff are aware of the need to provide reasonable adjustments and will deal with requests as quickly as we can.
What does the Equality Act require us to do?
The Equality Act 2010 requires us to provide reasonable adjustments for disabled people. Under the Act a disabled person has a “physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day to day activities”. The term ‘substantial’ means ‘more than minor or trivial’. The phrase ‘long-term’ means an impairment that has lasted longer than 12 months or that is likely so to do.
Note that those with a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis, HIV, cancer, a visual impairment or a severe, long-term disfigurement are automatically regarded as disabled people for the purposes of the Equality Act.
We have to make “reasonable adjustments” if the way that we carry out our functions places a disabled person at a “substantial disadvantage” compared to someone who is not disabled. A “substantial disadvantage” is one that is “more than minor or trivial”.
What are reasonable adjustments?
Reasonable adjustments are not defined by the Act; but some examples include:
- Providing documents or correspondence in larger print, or with a specific colour contrast (which may help people with impairments such as dyslexia)
- Using the telephone rather than written communication (e.g. for someone with a visual impairment)
- Communicating with a person through their representative or advocate
- Providing access to an ‘easyread’ version of our advice for those with a learning disability
- Providing a person who uses British Sign Language (BSL) with an interpreter
How to request an adjustment
Please tell the person you are dealing with at DLS that the way we deliver our service is creating a barrier to access due to your disability. It is really helpful if you can suggest the way we could adjust things to meet your needs.
Before making an adjustment, we need to consider some important factors:
- What the disadvantage would be if the adjustment were not made
- Whether the adjustment will be effective in reducing the disadvantage
- How practical it is to make it
- Whether it would disrupt our other activities unreasonably
- The cost and availability of resources, including external help and finance
The law says that an adjustment only has to be made if it is “reasonable”. We need to take account of the cost or resource implications of making the adjustment, whether the request itself is reasonable and whether there is a less expensive way of meeting the request. There may be circumstances where we decide not to meet the request.
We will try to agree a reasonable adjustment as quickly as we can. In some cases, we may need to consider the request in more detail. If it is likely to take more than a few days to make the decision, you will be informed when you may expect a response.
In most cases we are able to make adjustments to meet our service users’ needs.