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DDA Definition of Disability is:

"A physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long term adverse effect on a person's ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities".

Parts of the Act became law at different times:

The above definition of disability became law from July 1996

December 1996:

October 1999:

Service Providers must:

2004 Onwards:

Service providers must:

Other parts of the 1995 DDA will be made law from 2004 onwards these shall mainly deal with transport and education.

Access to goods, facilities and services:

These parts of the Act relate to any organisation, which offers a public service.

The Act makes it unlawful for a service provider to discriminate against a disabled person in the following ways:

For example: A cinema owner cannot refuse entry to a group of deaf people using BSL on the assumption that they would upset other cinema goers. However, if they were drunk and rowdy, this would be a different matter!

For example: A theatre had a bad experience with allowing guide dogs into the auditorium and so introduced a policy of no dogs including guide dogs!

For example: The organisers of a large open-air festival only provide wheelchair accessible seating right at the back with no alternative choice of view.

For example: A collection of local poetry is published in alternative formats. The text version costs £10.00 while the alternative format copies cost £15.00 as they cost more to produce.

The meaning of discrimination for the purposes of the 1995 DDA:

A service provider discriminates against a disabled person if all the following conditions are satisfied:

Example: A disabled person is made to stand and wait whilst other people behind them are served first. This is done because the shop is short staffed and it is 'assumed' that the disabled person will take longer to serve.

The duty to make 'reasonable adjustments':

Example: A large organisation such as BT would be expected to provide text phones in all their offices to ensure equal access for deaf people.

However, a small, struggling organisation would not be expected to move to more accessible premises if this meant that they would go out of business.

Example: The local library is not accessible to wheelchair users because there are steps and no ramp up to the entrance. The courts may consider a reasonable adjustment to be the provision of a mobile library in the short term. However, being aware of the issue should mean that any future alterations or change of venue should take access issues on board.

(Note: Reasonable structural changes will be required from 2004)

Example: If a blind person wishes to attend a public meeting or performance and requested information to be produced in Braille, it would be reasonable to expect the request to be honoured within a reasonable time scale which will allow equal access.

Summary of the 1995 Disability Discrimination Act now the Equality Act 2010 :

Contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service

The contact details for the service are:

Phone: 0808 800 0082

Textphone: 0808 800 0084


Post: FREEPOST Equality Advisory Support Service FPN4431

Opening hours:

09:00 to 20:00 Monday to Friday

10:00 to 14:00 Saturday

closed on Sundays and Bank Holidays

Advice : Conciliation : Legal Enforcement


DDA Toolkit for voluntary and community groups.