Mark Whitehead 15 September 2017

Majority of procurement deals ignore accessibility requirements

More than half of outsourcing deals by councils fail to take the needs of people with disabiilities into account, according to a business pressure group.

This leaves many councils at risk of paying more to retrofit services or offices for accessibility, the Business Disability Forum warned.

It found that only one in four organisations in a study reviewed contracts with third-party suppliers to ensure that they delivered on requirements for inclusion and accessibility.

Less than two in five reported having discussions with suppliers about how they approach disability outside of formal processes.

The forum's chief executive officer Diane Lightfoot said: '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.

'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.’

For more on disabilities and cuts read our feature, ‘Disabilities in a time of austerity.’

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