UK firms have mental block when it comes to disability law changes

The
majority of UK
firms are unprepared for new disability legislation, a new survey reveals.

A
two-year survey of more than 800 organisations by Workplace Law Group shows
that the vast majority of managers think they are doing a much better job than
they actually are when it comes to complying with new disability access
legislation.

And
while many survey respondents are familiar with the 1 October 2004 deadline
for the introduction of Part III of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), a
large number would seem to have paid little attention to non-physical
disabilities such as visual and hearing impairments, dyslexia and learning
difficulties.

Based
on the findings of the survey, around 75 per cent of all UK
organisations will be unprepared when the deadline passes on 1 October 2004.
Worryingly, around 70 per cent of those surveyed judged their levels of
compliance to be satisfactory or good whereas when questioned on their
understanding and what steps they had taken the survey showed that in fact 68 per
cent had a weak or poor level of compliance.

Crucially,
the problem is not one of awareness. A recent government survey showed that
more than 80 per cent of organisations with a disabled employee knew of the
regulations and that nearly three-quarters of those offering a service to the
public had made or were planning to make adjustments to assist disabled people.

Commenting
on the results of the survey, David Sharp, managing director of Workplace Law
Group said: "While the majority of businesses have clearly taken positive
steps to make their workplace or buildings accessible, the results of the
survey throw doubt on whether the message about service has really got through.
There’s no point changing your building if you don’t change the attitude of the
people who work in it, and that’s where I think the challenge of the next two
to three years will lie – especially with a new Disability Bill on the horizon."

By Quentin Reade

 

 

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