Accessibility & the Equality Act

The Equality Act ensures all people are treated fairly and helps achieve equal opportunities in the workplace and wider society.

Duties under the Act are placed on churches as service providers and employers. The Act combines several pieces of legislation relating to discrimination such as disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. 

Accessibility

The Act is about making activities accessible to everyone and covers many forms of disability such as hearing and visual impairment, reduced mobility, manual dexterity and learning disability. 

Places of worship have a duty to:

  • Consider any physical features of the premises that could prevent the use of its services by disabled persons. This would include access to the church, parts of the interior, use of toilets, noticeboards, churchyards and paths. Reasonable adjustments should be made to alter or remove the problem, provide a way to avoid it or offer an alternative method of making the service available.
  • Take reasonable steps to provide auxiliary aids such as induction loops for hearing aid users, handrails or large-print service sheets.

 

Important note

Consider painting the edges of low ramps with bright hazard paint.

Guidance on the changes, obligations and what forms discrimination is available on the Home Office website.

If you visit the above Home office link, there are guidance notes specifically for the voluntary and community sector toward the bottom of the page. Depending on the size and nature of your place of worship other guidance may be more appropriate.