As Liberal Democrats, we strive to ensure every individual can reach their full potential. Sadly, many disabled people are held back from accessing their local town centres due to a lack of accessibility. In this campaign pack, we set out some ways you can use the power of a Town or Parish Council to improve the accessibility of your area.
Equalities Act 2010 – All public bodies have a public sector equalities duty. The duty aims to make sure public authorities think about things like discrimination and the needs of people who are disadvantaged or suffer inequality when they make decisions about how they provide their services and implement policies. All Town and Parish Councils must make reasonable adjustments for disabled people.
Improving the accessibility of your town or village centre is a great way to help remove the barriers that many disabled people face, and to ensure you are complying with the equalities act.
Highways Act 1980 – The maintenance of rights of way does fall within the remit of a Town and Parish Council.
Localism Act 2011 – Town and parish councils that are eligible can have a general power of competence to act. However, as pavements and roads can often fall under the remit of the county council or unitary area in which a Town and Parish Council lies you might also want to get their consent for any accessibility work.
Establishing a Disability Access Forum
A disability access forum is an informal working group that gives a voice to disabled people who live within the area. Once established, a disability access forum can work to raise awareness of disability issues and the access needs of your area. It can be the vehicle for creating proposals for work to be undertaken by your own parish, or the principal highways authority.
You can find a template Council Motion to establish a forum here.
A model press release to accompany the motion can be downloaded here.