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Source: Channel Islands – Jersey

​Jersey’s public buildings are being independently assessed to determine how suitable they are for people with disabilities to access.

Liberate Jersey, an equality and diversity charity, is conducting audits of the Government’s property portfolio.

So far, the Jersey Library, States building, Central Market and the Opera House have been assessed against a checklist of more than 100 building criteria including car parking, lifts, lighting and handrails.

Liberate’s Accès Scheme delivers audits which enable organisations to meet their obligations under the Disabilities Law. The audit’s results are allocated a blue, orange or green status depending on the level of improvement that might be needed. Training is given to employees on how to improve inclusion for people with disabilities. 

Paul McGinnety, Director of Customer and Local Services said: “The work Liberate Jersey are doing supports government’s Disability Strategy which focusses on ensuring disabled Islanders are able to have greater access to public buildings and the services they provide. The work is ongoing, and we welcome the findings of the audits.”

Vic Tanner Davy from Liberate Jersey said: “Today is the United Nations as International Day of Persons With Disabilities, so it’s an appropriate time to remember how important it is for people with disabilities to access our public buildings.

“We know that the audit will not be without challenges, particularly in listed buildings. For example, when assessing a building like the States Chamber there will be significant barriers in place. Making reasonable adjustments to remove these barriers aims to provide everyone with equal opportunities to engage fully in the public life of the Island.”

The new Disability Discrimination Regulations, introduced in September 2020, give people with disabilities, for the first time, the right to ask the Discrimination Tribunal to determine whether or not their ability to access public buildings has been affected. If the Tribunal decides in their favour, it can impose a range of remedies.

MIL OSI United Kingdom