Equality Act 2010: Section 20

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Section 20 of the Equality Act 2010 is a useful piece of legislation which puts a duty on public bodies (including district/borough councils, county councils and unitary authorities) to take all reasonable steps to ensure a disabled person is not disadvantaged compared to a person who is not disabled.

A summary of the section can be read here and the full text of the section appears below.

Section 20 Summary

Relevant bodies (“A”) must ensure that with any provision, criterion or practice that they implement, whether of a physical nature or otherwise, they take all reasonable steps to avoid disadvantaging a disabled person in comparison with a person who is not disabled. This can include providing a disabled person with an auxiliary aid to overcome what would otherwise present as a disadvantage.

When it comes it physical features that may disadvantage a disabled person when compared to a non-disabled person, resolving the issue may include removal or alteration of the feature, or providing reasonable means for avoiding it.

Physical features include those arising from the design or construction of a building; the approaches, exits or access to a building; fixtures, fittings, furniture, furnishings, materials, equipment etc both within or on a premises; or any other physical element or quality.

Legal Text

(1) Where this Act imposes a duty to make reasonable adjustments on a person, this section, sections 21 and 22 and the applicable Schedule apply; and for those purposes, a person on whom the duty is imposed is referred to as A.

(2) The duty comprises the following three requirements.

(3) The first requirement is a requirement, where a provision, criterion or practice of A’s puts a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage in relation to a relevant matter in comparison with persons who are not disabled, to take such steps as it is reasonable to have to take to avoid the disadvantage.

(4) The second requirement is a requirement, where a physical feature puts a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage in relation to a relevant matter in comparison with persons who are not disabled, to take such steps as it is reasonable to have to take to avoid the disadvantage.

(5) The third requirement is a requirement, where a disabled person would, but for the provision of an auxiliary aid, be put at a substantial disadvantage in relation to a relevant matter in comparison with persons who are not disabled, to take such steps as it is reasonable to have to take to provide the auxiliary aid.

(6) Where the first or third requirement relates to the provision of information, the steps which it is reasonable for A to have to take include steps for ensuring that in the circumstances concerned the information is provided in an accessible format.

(7) A person (A) who is subject to a duty to make reasonable adjustments is not (subject to express provision to the contrary) entitled to require a disabled person, in relation to whom A is required to comply with the duty, to pay to any extent A’s costs of complying with the duty.

(8) A reference in section 21 or 22 or an applicable Schedule to the first, second or third requirement is to be construed in accordance with this section.

(9) In relation to the second requirement, a reference in this section or an applicable Schedule to avoiding a substantial disadvantage includes a reference to –

  • (a) removing the physical feature in question,
  • (b) altering it, or
  • (c) providing a reasonable means of avoiding it.

(10) A reference in this section, section 21 or 22 or an applicable Schedule (apart from paragraphs 2 to 4 of Schedule 4) to a physical feature is a reference to –

  • (a) a feature arising from the design or construction of a building,
  • (b) a feature of an approach to, exit from or access to a building,
  • (c) a fixture or fitting, or furniture, furnishings, materials, equipment or other chattels, in or on premises, or
  • (d) any other physical element or quality.

(11) A reference in this section, section 21 or 22 or an applicable Schedule to an auxiliary aid includes a reference to an auxiliary service.

(12) A reference in this section or an applicable Schedule to chattels is to be read, in relation to Scotland, as a reference to moveable property.

(13) The applicable Schedule is, in relation to the Part of this Act specified in the first column of the Table, the Schedule specified in the second column.

Full Text

The full text of the Equality Act 2010 can be found online at https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/contents