In all things let common sense prevail
The Parochial Church Council (PCC) has adopted the principles outlined in the Archbishop’s Council Advisory Note 5 on The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and is responding accordingly. The PCC recognises the duty to make any ‘reasonable adjustments’ to the physical environment that may be necessary to ensure that access is not ‘unreasonably difficult’ for any person with a disability, with the aim of trying to ensure dignified and independent access and usage of the building with a disability.
The PCC is an equal opportunities employer and will work to make all reasonable adjustments to the workplace to enable any member of staff with a disability to enjoy a satisfying and fulfilling working life.
It is recognised that it may not be possible to remove all barriers for a whole range of reasons. These obstacles to full access are reviewed in the PCC’s access audit which constitutes the main thrust of the document. It is intended that this access audit should be re-examined periodically in the light of changes in the congregation of the church, and that congregation’s changing needs as well as the needs of other visitors to the church. The consideration of what is reasonable is pivotal to what the church can provide by way of adjustments to the physical environment. Priorities for future work will be established on this basis, using the access audit.
The nature of disability
The Act includes all forms of disability, that is to say mobility (both wheelchair users and users of other walking aids), visual and hearing impairment, learning difficulties and mental illness. The kinds of ‘unreasonable difficulty’ which could therefore be experienced around the Parish Church are concerned with parking, exterior surfaces (paths and parking area), gates, steps, entrances (and exiting), loose or uneven flooring, seating, information counters and boards, lighting, audibility.
What is reasonable
The Act takes account of all circumstances in deciding what is reasonable. This includes the important question of how desirable adjustments might be when it comes to the effect they may have on the essential character of what is offered by the place of worship. The Act takes account of the total available financial resources, and the amount already spent in improving accessibility (particularly as a proportion of the overall resources).
POLICY ON DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION
- The PCC takes the issue of access for the disabled seriously and is very keen to minimise difficulties and to make the church as welcoming as possible. Issues surrounding the problems of access will continue to be highlighted and solutions sought in order to facilitate good practice.
- The PCC will always attempt to prioritise work towards offering reasonable access to all forms of disability, taking into account the nature of the ‘service’ that should be provided for regular worshippers who are, and will continue to be consulted about their special needs and preferences.
- The PCC will continue to consider the nature of facilities that should be provided for any events held in the parish church.
- The PCC will consider the needs of independent visitors, including those wishing to visit the graves of relatives.
- The PCC will ensure that all future work that alters the facilities presently available in the building or its environment will be subjected to an access audit to ensure that it complies with the law on disability access current at the time.
- The PCC will ensure that the quality of any work done to accommodate people with disabilities will be of the same overall standard that would normally be required for the church building. Monitoring of this aspect will be achieved through the Faculty Process.
The PCC will endeavour to give training and guidance to all relevant staff to ensure that the risk of possible discriminatory attitudes affecting decisions are minimised and that there is an understanding of the relevant provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.
The PCC operates a Grievance Procedure to enable grievances, including those relating to unfair discrimination on grounds of disability, to be formally heard.
The policy will be monitored and reviewed annually, together with an ACCESS AUDIT as itemised below:-
- CHURCHYARD. e.g. The churchyard is administered by the PCC
- ROAD TO THE CHURCH BUILDING. e.g. The PCC will ensure that the road is well maintained
- INTERIOR FLOOR SURFACES
- SEATING. e.g. All seating is accessible
- COMMUNION RAIL
- PRINTED MATERIAL
PAROCHIAL CHURCH COUNCIL OF ST JOHN THE BAPTIST SAXMUNDHAM
Charity Registration Number 1171576.
Approved by the PCC on: – 19th February 2018
Date of review: – February 2019