New survey highlights major accessibility gap for UK’s 20 million disabled people and carers

October 23, 2018

Disability organisation AccessAble has today published their new 2018 survey ‘Accessibility and You’. It highlights the stark contrast between the expectations of those with access needs and what is provided by the majority of public and private sector organisations.

The survey, completed by 845 people across the UK with an average completion time of 20 minutes, asked disabled people and carers about their experiences accessing venues and services.

The results show an overwhelming need to plan. 99% of respondents said it was important to know about accessibility before visiting a new place and 98% search for accessibility information in advance. 

The survey equally highlighted the need for information to be detailed, accurate and up to date. Of those people who actually find accessibility information only 14% get the detail they expect and 80% actually find it to be inaccurate. 

The real-life impact of this situation is equally clear, with 75% of people saying they feel nervous or anxious visiting somewhere new and 76% saying they have not visited somewhere due to a lack of accessibility information. Most concerning is that 77% of respondents have been in a situation where they’ve had to leave a venue after finding accessibility wasn’t what they’d expected.

Dr. Gregory Burke, founder of AccessAble said, “This survey has highlighted the real-life impact of poor accessibility. AccessAble was founded on my personal experiences of trying to access the New survey highlights major accessibility gap for UK’s 20 million disabled people and carersplaces I wanted to go and finding I just had to leave it to chance or not go at all. We need to commit to changing a situation where disabled people and carers are being excluded from everyday life and recognise that ‘access begins online’. Everyone’s accessibility needs are different, providing trusted accessibility information should be seen as an integral part of providing a great customer experience.” 

The survey showed the most common place to look for accessibility information was a venue or organisation’s website, with 81% or respondents heading their first. Yet when AccessAble checked out the websites of leading brands and household names only a handful of enlightened organisations actually provide accessibility information that is fit for purpose.

Beyond the impact of accessibility information, the survey highlighted the wider need for improvement. 68% of respondents said they had faced discrimination when visiting a venue. This discrimination covered both physical access issues, attitudes of staff and also fellow customers. The need to change attitudes was a key theme with only 36% of respondents considering the disability awareness of a venue’s staff to be good. These finding were against a wider context of people believing accessibility and attitudes to have stayed the same or worsened over the last 5 years rather than improve. 

“This is the time for organisations to do better, not only because it’s the right thing to do but because it makes business sense. Disabled people influence the spend of £249bn per year and they will go to the places that are doing the right things, a fact overwhelmingly backed up by our survey results.”

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