Tough decisions are nothing new, but I am afraid there's a new one coming across your desk: Changing Places.
Changing Places are a particular type of accessible toilet. They're distinct from other types in that they provide support to people with the most severe disabilities. Changing Places offer toilet and changing areas, a hoist, changing bench and hygiene facilities.
It's estimated over 250,000 people need access to Changing Places in the United Kingdom
Changing Places are becoming standard, are backed by law and are here to stay. But they're not cheap to install.
As an operator the question you have to answer is: "Do I need one?"
Much of the answer to that rests on what, in a legal sense, is "reasonable" given: your buildings, your likely customers, your current facilities or others available nearby. Your corporate social responsibility policy and reputation are also relevant.
It's also worth noting rules may change soon to make Changing Places mandatory in certain circumstances.
For private businesses there are four areas of law, guidance and regulation which impact a decision to install a Changing Place:
- The Equality Act 2010
- Equalities and Human Rights Commission guidance
- British Standard 8300:2009
- Approved Document M: Access to and use of buildings
Together they cover a lot of ground. For simplicity, the key duty is the duty to make "reasonable" adjustments.
But because nothing is ever easy, what the law considers "reasonable" will change in response to public opinion, new regulation, the lower costs and higher awareness of Changing Places and how normal they become (there are currently around 1,120).
If you have a new building or a refurb coming up, now is the time to give serious thought to installing a Changing Places facility. Not just because it might be the right thing to do, but because it could protect you from having to make expensive changes later. It could also go a long way to avoiding costly complaints – or even legal claims – in the future.
Changing Places are a complex and developing area of law which can't all be described here. Visit our Changing Places information page to find out more.
Alternatively, if you want to get in touch now email me or call 01752 675514 and I would be pleased to discuss your circumstances in confidence.