Firms in dark on disability law

A third of financial companies are not aware they need to change the way
they provide services to the public to comply with legislation outlawing
disability discrimination, a survey found.

The research is based on responses from FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 companies.

It found many companies are unaware they could be required to provide
documentation in braille, issue annual reports on audio tape or provide loop
and speech-to-text facilities at an AGM.

Fifty-two per cent of companies said they think they could be required to
make changes.

A further 33 per cent said they do not know, or think the legislation is not
applicable.

Twelve per cent said they do not believe they need to make any changes.

Of those companies which believe they need to make changes, 77 per cent have
already done so or are proposing to.

They said measures planned or already achieved include provision of
shareholder documentation in Braille and large print, and voice recognition
software.

Other measures set to be introduced include text phone facilities and
wheelchair access.

The survey was carried out by law firm Addleshaw Booth & Co.

Head of commercial services Malcolm Pike said, "What is clear is the
degree of uncertainty that exists even among some of the largest organisations
in the country about the implications of the legislation."

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