Accessibility audits

What is accessibility and why do we need accessibility audits?

Accessibility is a term which people use to mean that everyone can use something, no matter what their individual needs.  As you can imagine, this means that a lot of work has to go into making sure that any place you can visit –  whether that is a council website, a tourist attraction, your local coffee shop or a village hall, can be accessed by everyone.  Genuine accessibility should mean that a person with a physical disability or a learning disability can use the same services as someone without that disability – and that the provider of the service has ensured that they will spend the same amount of time, effort and money to get to where they want or need to go. 

If this is a website, there are some obvious things which can be used such as audio descriptions; large enough text to read easily; using simple and clear language, and so on.  A building can be made more accessible by considering the needs of wheelchair or mobility scooter users and how they can get in the front door, or use the toilet facilities once inside.Unfortunately, many places and many services across Somerset have, in the past, not included accessibility in their planning.  This means that even though they are ‘Disabled Friendly’, disabled people may have some issues with provision, and our remit is to highlight this.  Some things which could be easily remedied; appropriate signage, or ramps that are fit for purpose, may not be considered until it is pointed out by a disabled person trying to access somewhere in the course of their day.

An accessibility audit will highlight what needs to be done in order to become more accessible.  It can give recommendations for the people in charge of that place, whether a physical building or an online community, to improve their approach to disabled people… the aim is to work together to improve accessibility for everyone in our county.

What are we offering? How do I apply or recommend somewhere to be audited?

We are offering an accessibility audit service.  This will involve a site visit and a cooperative approach with the provider of the service, building or website.  If you want to talk to someone about this, or volunteer to be an auditor with us, please get in touch by emailing somerset@disabilityengagement.services.