Council failures mean they risk paying to retrofit services to be disability-friendly

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More than half of outsourcing deals by UK councils fail to properly consider access issues for disabled people, meaning many are at risk of having to invest in retrofitting services or buildings for accessibility.

That’s according to the Business Disability Forum, which found that only a quarter of organisations reviews contracts with third-party suppliers to ensure new acquisitions are accessible.

According to the pressure group’s study, less than two in five organisations said they had discussions with suppliers about how disability should be approached outside of formal processes.

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“Local authorities continue to face shrinking budgets but they could be incurring a considerable additional expense through the way that they outsource services or parts of them,” the forum’s chief executive officer Diane Lightfoot told LocalGov.

“A significant proportion of the population in every local authority area in the country will have a disability or long-term health condition that could impact on their ability to access services.

“Ensuring that they can access services, then, can never be an afterthought: it has to be a central part of service design.”

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