Phase III of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) came into force 5 years ago in the UK. This ensured that the business of providing access and amenities became an important commercial issue and a measurable opportunity. The purpose of the Act is to ensure that disabled people are not treated any differently than people who are not disabled.

As an event organiser, you know it is the right thing to do, you know you have to do it and you know it makes commercial sense..

Event organisers should anticipate and expect that a percentage of their attendees may have some form of disability when attending their event. Therefore event organisers have a legal obligation to make reasonable adjustment to services and premises to enable disabled people to access and attend the event.

Under the DDA legislation, event organisers could face legal challenges from disabled people unable to attend an event due to inadequate disabled facilities. Hotels, conference centres and other venues have recognised this opportunity and are investing heavily in their facilities and services in an attempt to gain a competitive edge of their competitors. Two such venues include:

* imago at Burleigh Court – winner of the Best Disabled Services Award at the 2009 CATEYS
* Copthorne Tara Hotel, London – which has a number of dedicated adapted bedrooms with excellent facilities

Being a disability-confident event organiser will not only reduce the legal challenges you face, but will also raise your brand awareness and increase revenue.

Further information on the DDA is available from the Equality & Human Rights Commission, plus the following newsletters on our website

* 10 Commercial reasons to address the Disability Discrimination Act
* 7 Top tips for finding an accessible venue

Source: Adapted from the original article written by Michael McGrath for Meetings & Incentive Travel magazine, October 2009.

Michael McGrath is the only disabled person in the world to have successfully led expeditions to two of the most inaccessible places on Earth – the North and South Poles.

For more information on Michael McGrath and what he can do for you, please visit Michael’s website

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