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Could someone tell me if there are any rules and regs regarding who can use an accessible public toilet? Are non disabled people allowed to use it? What if the toilet is within a leisure centre/cafe etc?

 

Thank you in advance.

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There are separate toilets in Bridport that are Men, Ladies and Disabled. The disabled have a notice outside saying these toilets are not for the sole use of disabled.

 

Whether that is standard or just a local thing I don't know.

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All that is required is that mobility impaired customers have accessible sanitary provisions. Usually the disabled person has a key fob to open the door or you get the key from reception.

 

They are normally kept locked to stop vandalism due to the mobility aids incorporated into that toilet cubicle. Quite a few places now double up as baby changing rooms as well as the toilet cubicles are larger than the standard

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I was just wondering if it would be unlawful for a non disabled person to use a toilet specifically for a disabled person. I'm not thinking of the toilets that are only opened by a radar key just the ones that are always open in cafes etc

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All the legislation states is that it has to have Disabled accessible toilets as a public body , that is all. It will not be unlawful as the old DDA , now Equality Act does not apply on private property unless an employee

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Hi Walkinthepark,

 

I am not sure I agree with some of the comments.

 

Provision of a wheelchair accessible WC is a reasonable adjustment under the Equality Act, and duties are owed to members of the public. So, if a leisure centre there is a duty to provide, subject to the test of reasonableness.

 

Its difficult to help as you have not stated what your actual problem is. E.g. Are you saying that an accessible WC is not available to disabled people when needed? and presumably because it is being used by non-disabled people?

 

I think there is a duty to ensure that 'reasonable adjustments' are available. EG. kept clear of cleaning equipment for WC's, monitoring parking provisions etc. There are two difficulties that complicate the issue I think you are raising:

 

- some facilities only have one WC, used by everyone regardless of disability. Many coffee shops and smaller premises have this and its perfectly acceptable.

 

- determining who needs an accessible WC is not as easy as some would think. For example, some people with prosthetics will use to re-seat their limb/prosthetic. Some people with colostomy bags will use them due to proximity of WHB and pan, both of course disabled people.

 

If you are encountering issues gaining access to accessible WC's in a public building and suspect the facilities are being used by non-disabled people when there are other provisions available you should raise this with the management. They are at liberty to impose restrictions if needed, and of course, arguably required to as a reasonable adjustment under the equality act. If the provisions are being used by other disabled people and there simply aren't enough accessible provisions to cater for demand, then they should consider providing more, subject to the test of reasonableness.

 

Hope this helps. Please correct me if I have miss-understood the issue.

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Leisure facilities will have Disabled access as they wil, or were under the control of the local authority like a public library. The will have carried out an impact assessment being a public authority

 

Where say in a McDonalds being a private company there is no compulsory legislation

 

Disbled toilets under the Equality Act are for employees as a reasonable adjustment with a private company, not members of the public

Edited by obiter dictum

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I do not meant to push the issue but you are talking of public bodies such as local authorities. They have to provide disabled facilities under an equality impact assessment as their is a duty under the Equality Act 2010

 

As i have already stated High street shops are not covered under the act for members of the public with the Equality Act. If that was the case all private shops would have compulsory wheel chair access to even enter the establishment, ramps etc.

 

There is a differench for retailer to "Oblige" in making reasonable adjustments and actually a statutory duty. The code is voluntary on retailers unlike a public authority.

 

Under the current legislation in the UK the duty for private companies to provide toilets in Cafes and restaurants depends on the number of seats, how long they are open, does it sell alcohol, or even if pulic toilets are nearby.

 

There is a difference between a restaurant that opens late and sells products to be consumed and your local WH Smith.

 

Section 20 of the 1976 Local Government MIscellaneous Provisions Act, is that toilets SHOULD be provided if food and drink is being sold for consumption on the premises The simple fact is a private retail outlet does not have to provide welfare facilities unless the local authority demand it.

 

How do i know all this, i am disabled myself

Edited by obiter dictum

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Sorry. Did you read the link I provided which is to a solicitors practice who have taken cases for failure to make reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act again a private restaurant, book shop and supermarket? Lack of a lift, not managing parking etc.

 

Those undertaking 'public functions' are also subject to section 149 of the Act, known as the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) but this is not the same as the broader duty on service provider, which does apply to the public and is statutory.

 

There are a few reasons why so much of the high street remains inaccessible.

 

1) the Equality Act Requires disabled people to take civil claims to enforce their rights, which few do.

2) many businesses simply pay off complaints and settle out of court when the issue is raised

3) lack of understanding of the law (by disabled people and service providers)

 

I don't intend to trade posts with you further, but I am happy my original post is correct if the original poster needs to discuss.

 

How do I know all this?

 

16 years of advising on the subject, an MSc in the subject, experience as expert advisor in civil claims on the subject etc etc etc .

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With all due respect it is fine to post inks to Guidance or codes of practice but what is needed is the actual legislation on the matter as a compulsory action. I myself have posted up the Local Government Miscellaneous Provisions Act to give persuasion to my reasoning. As you well know a business can withdraw services if it can show an "Objective Justification" why such services do not have to be provided. That is my last word on the matter

 

There is a differece between guidance and what actually the law states in practice.

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I think I see where we are at cross purposes. Talking about different legislation.

 

The original post was not about provision of WC's, to which I agree Local Government Miscellaneous Provisions are relevant for licensed premises, but about use of and management of existing accessible WC's, to which the Equality Act would apply, including for private organisations. See Part 3 of the Act - http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/contents

 

As I said, the Equality Act in respect of service provision is only enforced by individuals through civil courts.

 

It would be interesting to see a case where a service provider who could (financially, spatially etc - all factors of reasonableness) provide accessible facilities chose not to. Since incontinence is covered by the Equality Act as a disability a case could be made that provision is a reasonable adjustment under the Equality Act. Haven't seen a case on this as yet but it could be very interesting in the right circumstances.

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Agreed about going slightly off topic and crossed wires. I am guilty of that and that was where the confusion originated from.

 

Being disabled myself i meet this discrimination everyday and getting any kind of acknowledgemnt, let alone justice is a constant barrier

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I agree. Accessibility seems to off the radar in this country and the past few years of government 'encouraging' business to meet legal obligations instead of forcing them to has been laughable. The recent House of Lords committee review of the Equality Act illustrates how poor it is very well.

 

Since the changes to legal aid a few years back there aren't even that many solicitors prepared to take claims for disability discrimination in relation to service provision.

 

Thank goodness for the likes of this chap https://www.kingqueen.org.uk/ - my favourite is when he sued the Ministry of Justice for not making a court accessible for a hearing about disability discrimination! and the solicitors I linked earlier. They seem to be the only people prepared to make case law and find out what the limits of the Equality Act actually are.

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An example i will give is an ATOS work capability assessment centre. No wheel chair access, doors that only open outwards . Being a public body this is indirect discrimination and putting physical barriers in the way of a disabled person.

 

If Goverment policy can get away with it by design, what hope is there for the disabled person in the general public domain??? But the response is always an oversight and a half hearted appology

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To get back to the original question, no - there are no rules about who can use an accessible loo and who can't.

 

I commonly use them and outwardly look perfectly mobile. However, major spinal surgery has left me stiff and cumbersome at times. So, the extra space is appreciated. I'm not registered disabled, can walk / run / jump up and down if the mood takes me but occasionally I need the handles and space (and privacy).

 

I've even been challenged by someone who thought I shouldn't be using them, but a quick flash of my surgical scars soon shut them up. Disabilities aren't always visible or registered, and an accessible loo is just that.


My views are my own and are not representative of any organisation. if you've found my post helpful please click on the star below.

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To get back to the original question, no - there are no rules about who can use an accessible loo and who can't.

 

I commonly use them and outwardly look perfectly mobile. However, major spinal surgery has left me stiff and cumbersome at times. So, the extra space is appreciated. I'm not registered disabled, can walk / run / jump up and down if the mood takes me but occasionally I need the handles and space (and privacy).

 

I've even been challenged by someone who thought I shouldn't be using them, but a quick flash of my surgical scars soon shut them up. Disabilities aren't always visible or registered, and an accessible loo is just that.

 

+1

On a good day I can run 5 miles, but some other days I cannot squat unaided and can't wash my hands unless I lean against something or hold on to a fixed bar.

However I look strong and fit.

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