Events, Activities and Elections

Barriers to attending

Whilst few want to deliberately exclude people from events, all too often accessibility is not a priority for organisations. However, under the Equality Act organisations have a duty to provide reasonable adjustments for disabled people at any event which is open to the public. This includes making sure events are physically accessible.

You can find an explanation of what reasonable adjustment means here.

What is considered a reasonable adjustment will depend on things like the size of the organisation and the type of activity you are doing. What is reasonable for a small local party in a rural area to do won’t be the same as a larger association or branch in a city. In this section, we provide guidance on how to make your party meetings, events, and conferences accessible. For information about how to make campaigning and elections more accessible, please see page [x].

You don’t just have a duty to provide reasonable adjustments for people who are known to you and who you know will come to your events. The Equality Act states that you should also be anticipating the sorts of adjustments potential attendees will need. For example, when organising a local party meeting or AGM, you should be choosing a venue which has step free access throughout the building, accessible toilets, allows assistance dogs, and has a microphone and PA system available. If you are unsure whether your venue is accessible, Euan’s guide is a good place to look.

Some other basic accessibility things you could consider include:

  • Choosing a centrally located venue which is easily accessed by public transport
  • Think about the timing of your meeting. Don’t always hold your events in the evenings
  • Think about whether children are welcome to attend the event. If so, you should explicitly say this and ensure children really are welcome by doing things like providing a children’s corner or putting up ‘breastfeeding welcome’ signs
  • Name badges for all participants and speakers
  • A welcome person/team
  • Automatic doors throughout the venue
  • An accessible entry system to the building and car park which is suitable for use by and within reach of people with sensory or mobility impairments
  • Reserving parking for disabled people directly outside the venue
  • A well-lit path to the venue and well-lit entrance hall
  • If the venue does not have a hearing loop, you have hired a portable hearing loop
  • Clear colour contrast between the walls and the floor
  • Furniture is arranged in a way that allows easy movement around the room
  • Emergency alarm systems cater for those with hearing impairment (e.g. flashing light)
  • Gender neutral toilets. Your venue might have these already. If not, you can make toilets gender neutral by putting signs up which read “gender neutral toilets with cubicles” or “gender neutral toilets with urinals”
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