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Provision of services - before October 2010

This page outlines very briefly the rules under Part 3 DDA against discrimination by shops, businesses and other providers. There is more detail in the Services FAQs. A separate page suggests guidelines for service providers on Making services accessible.

In general, anyone providing goods, services or facilities to the public is prohibited from discriminating against disabled people. On this website I use 'services' as a shorthand for 'goods, services or facilities'.

The rules apply whether the services are provided free or for payment. They include for example shops, local councils and government departments, telesales businesses and courts (see Appearing in court).

There are special rules on education, there are limited exceptions in the case of airlines and ships. Public functions (eg police arrest) and many private members' clubs are now within the DDA even where they do not involve services to the public.

Broadly, providers must not treat a person less favourably for a reason related to his or her disability, and also have a duty to make reasonable adjustments. There can be a 'justification' defence, but this is quite limited.

Examples of what may well breach the DDA:

You can complain to the service provider, which may help raise awaress of the importance of making services accessible for people who stammer, and produce improvements for others with a stammer. The Equality and Human Rights Commission has a helpline. Court cases normally go to the County Court (sheriff court in Scotland). Amongst other things, the court can award compensation for injury to feelings. See sources of help and advice.

There is much more detail at the Services FAQs, and the pages linked from it. For public authorities, the disability equality duty is likely to apply, as well as the normal rules.


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© Allan Tyrer 1999-2007
Last updated 30th June, 2007