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A new act and best practice code bring the needs of the disabled into sharp focus. Greg Rhodes reports


38« May 2011 Sportphysical activity &

ince the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) – now Disability and Equality Act 2010 (DEA) – came into force in 1995, laying out the minimum requirements for disabled access across Britain, it has been suggested that some sectors only paid lip service to the Act. T roughout sport and leisure, facilities are

embracing the requirements as the drive towards inclusivity of provision continues to gather force. Off ering the minimum standards possible is a fact

all too common in some sectors over the last 16 years, with levels of provision failing to keep pace with increasingly high user expectations. In recent times, however, this trend has turned

full circle as a growing number of providers look to not only meet but also exceed the expectations of the DEA. In part, this desire to improve access for the disabled has been driven by the initiative of suppliers, which have seen the good business sense of plugging this gap in the marketplace and targeted it by broadening their range of disabled and limited access products – to the extent that there is now a healthy number of leisure suppliers off ering more than just the minimum requirements.

Up until 2010 the DDA legislation was such

that there would be a certain basic provision that customers should expect from a site, and it was this most basic requirement that was, in many cases, all that was off ered. With the change of legislation in 2010 came a

change of attitude towards customer expectations. T is put the responsibility on the end user and meant that certain requirements would now have to be met under Part M of the building regulations code and a best practice put in place, based on a much higher basic requirement for disabled access facilities. Over the past decade, some manufacturers have

pioneered the development of ‘inclusive’ products and have led the market in design and innovation. Under the old DDA guidance, products that met the highest standards set out by the Act were singled out by the Inclusive Fitness Initiative (IFI), which is managed by the English Federation of Disability Sports (EFDS), as products that they recommended as being best suited for disabled users. One of the leading lights in the progression of

such products has been changing room designers and locker manufacturer Craftsman Quality Lockers

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