A ‘scores on the doors’ system, similar to the food hygiene rating scheme food outlets already have to display, should be introduced in shops and restaurants to show levels of disabled access.
That’s according to campaigners behind a petition pushing for shops to display a rating of 0 to 5, which has already gained around 2,000 signatures.
According to one report, the Welsh Government said the principal of the idea had “some merit”.
The petition was started by the Bridgend Coalition of Disabled People whose members criticised businesses for failing to show information on accessible toilets, hearing loops or Braille menus. Some said that many toilets are too small for a standard NHS wheelchair.
The petition will be discussed by an assembly committee and although the group does not want small businesses to invest large sums for adaptations, campaigners want premises to make small and affordable adaptations.
Campaigners said: “We are calling for the Welsh Government to bring in an Access Certificate showing numbers from zero to five along the lines of the Food Hygiene Certificate. All buildings used by the public such as shops, food outlets, sports clubs, pubs and offices as well as public transport services should be assessed on how wheelchair accessible they are, as well as how easy it is for someone with a sensory impairment or learning disability to use.
“We want all premises to be given a number which they could then display to show how disabled friendly their premises are. We hope that those who achieve high ratings will possibly persuade other nearby premises to improve access and get a high rating themselves.
“When Food Hygiene Certificates were first introduced in Wales they were not mandatory, but later became so. Since the introduction of the Food Hygiene Certificate we believe food standards have vastly improved and premises with a high number use the certificate with pride. We believe premises will make a bigger effort to improve access and services for the disabled community if a similar Certificate was introduced for access.
“We believe the introduction of such a certificate will hugely improve services for disabled shoppers and those who want to go out for a drink, a meal or to use public transport, facilities most take for granted.
“To achieve a five rating a premises will not just need to be wheelchair accessible but be fully inclusive for those with visual and hearing impairments, and possibly have staff understanding to those with learning impairments.”