Girlguiding believes in being fair, open and inclusive. Members and supporters are welcomed irrespective of faith, race, culture, nationality or sexual orientation.
The Equality Act 2010 (EqA) was passed to prevent discrimination against people with protected characteristics including, but not limited to, people with disabilities.
Under the EqA a person is considered to have a disability if they have a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/section/6)
The EqA requires services, in this case Girlguiding within your County, to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to the services they provide. This includes:
- changes to practices, policy and procedures which make it impossible or unreasonably difficult for a disabled person to use a service
- provision of auxiliary aids (for example, induction loop or portable ramp) or services to make it easier for a disabled person to use a service
- overcoming physical features that make it impossible or unreasonably difficult for a disabled person to access services.
Associations are not expected to:
- incur unreasonable expense
- ignore health and safety rules
- alter the core purpose of their service.
Reasonable adjustments are positive steps that are taken to enable disabled girls, young women and adults to participate in guiding.
As Commissioner you should be able to provide support for units in your area to include all girls with disabilities, as well as providing support and equal opportunities to adult members with disabilities. Guidance is available on the website to enable you to support members with additional needs.
You should appoint an Adviser within your County to help you provide this support. Ideally this should be a person with specialist knowledge or experience. Depending on the experience of the appointed Adviser, you may wish to have a separate Adviser to help with the support of members with mental health problems.
Girlguiding has a fund available to help provide adjustments to meetings or events for disabled members. This cannot be used to make adjustments to buildings.
All buildings are now required to be fully accessible, with an accessible toilet, ramps or stairlifts, doorways wide enough to allow wheelchair access, and so on. Guidance on this can be found in Best Intentions (order code 6896).