When booking a service with a business there is nothing more frustrating for disabled people than having to prove their disability level. Repeatedly sending in personal documents which bear no relation to their needs, is a necessary but fraught process in accessing services such as free essential companion spaces.
Similarly, for the business it is time-consuming in interpreting these documents and the additional admin burden that this process places on their staff. What was needed was a single, consistent method of communicating between the customer and provider, simplifying the process for both.
Shows legal rights and support required
To overcome these problems the Access Card has been developed. In its basic form it is an ID card for disabled people that indicates their legal rights and gives businesses an indication of the support they need to provide. In essence it offers:
- Proof of disability – the card is only issued to disabled people who are able to provide a suitable degree of supporting information, such as doctors reports, entitlement disability related benefits etc.
- Communication of needs – the card has symbols which show the type of reasonable adjustment a person may need in accessing a service. From the business’s side this means that their staff can concentrate on meeting the need rather than assessing entitlement.
- Show ability to meet needs – the use of symbols on the card and their focus on identifying barriers means that businesses’ can describe in detail the services they provide to meet customers’ needs.
- Acts as a loyalty card – the spending power of disabled people is reckoned to be worth £212 billion a year. If a business demonstrates it is accessible to disabled people by meeting the needs of the card holder, they are more likely to return time and again.
Helping businesses meet their Equality Act obligations
It is still early days for the card, but Martin Austin, managing director of Nimbus Disability, creators of the card, has high hopes for its success. He said, “We want to help businesses meet their obligations under the Equality Act and believe that the Access Card will help to do this.
“It is a win-win solution, with the card holder benefiting from being able to easier prove their disability and needs while the business is able to attract more disabled people by showing how they can meet their needs.”