Government to Introduce Disability Act and Building Rules

Europe, November 24 2016

The Government of Gibraltar will shortly introduce new disabilities legislation in the form of the Disability Act, modelled on the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities.

Disability symbolsIn addition, Government will also be introducing specific legislation in the context of the Building Rules that will require that all new buildings are accessible and take into account the needs of individuals with physical disabilities at the planning stage.

To date, it has been this Government’s policy that all Government building projects are accessible and to encourage all other new projects to also be accessible. As from next year, the new building regulations will make it compulsory for all new building projects to be accessible.

With the new legislation in mind the Government, through the Department of Equality, will provide awareness information and training to ensure that everyone is properly informed of their new legislative responsibilities and duties, and what is expected of them in practice.

The Department of Equality will organise a series of information lectures, seminars and workshops called Equality Means Business, which will be organised to specifically support the private sector.

Next week there will be a training session on physical access to buildings which will provide an outline of the requirements of the new legislation as well as advice on changes that can be made to existing buildings. The seminar will provide an overview to those attending to understand the main barriers to access and how to identify solutions to making businesses accessible. Businesses will be advised on how to ensure their customer base includes people with disabilities: if an individual with a disability cannot use facilities or a service, they will stay away and it is likely that their family will do the same.

The training will be delivered by Ian Streets, Managing Director of About Access, a UK company that specialises in accessibility audits. In the UK he has advised on the Disability Discrimination Act, the Equality Act and access to buildings and sites for people with disabilities. Mr Streets is no stranger to Gibraltar and this is the third time that the Department of Equality has engaged him to deliver training in as many years.

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