The compliance framework which governs disability and accessibility is very fragmented and made up of UK Acts of Parliament, European Law, planning regulations and UK case law. Navigating through the quagmire of rules and best practice guidelines is daunting. The Equality Act 2010 strengthened the governance framework for disability by aligning disability discrimination with other protected characteristics such as race, religion and age. The law does not necessarily expect our clients to have a ‘compliant’ estate but it does expect our clients to have identified any access problems and have a reasonable action plan to deal with them over a period of time. This is what our audit products provide. We have developed a suite of onsite and remote audit products to match the needs of clients with diverse and varied estates. We help our clients identify risk and produce frugal and prioritised action plans to manage this risk. We now have the UK’s largest team of dedicated access auditors offering national coverage and industry leading service levels.
At the core of our mission is a desire to help our clients engage with the disabled community as valued customers. As such we launched the Nationwide Access Register as a portal for our clients to display positive access data to enable people with access restrictions – a group made of not only of disabled people, but also older customers and those with children in buggies – plan their shopping or leisure activities to ensure they could have a fully inclusive experience. This register now hosts over 250,000 data sets and attracts over 12 million hits each month and has become the default source of access data in the UK. The strength of this brand has been further enhanced by winning the contract to host www.inclusivelondon.com, the Mayor’s official 2012 access portal and its sister site www.inclusivebritain.com. These portals combine to give our clients unrivalled reach to a consumer group thought to be worth on excess of £100bn a year.
Providing training services on disability awareness is central to our mission of helping our clients ‘Minimise Risk and Maximise Revenue’ from dealing with disabled customers. Increasingly this is delivered through our e-learning tutorial programmes which offer high impact low cost methods of disseminating training to targeted individuals across a company. Investing in training is a big decision for our customers, so we are fully aware of the need to maximise learning yield with minimum cost and disruption to daily operations. We believe that any organisation is defined by the quality of its staff. Our training solutions aim to up-skill staff with little or no prior knowledge of disability and help them develop models of best practice in their own workplace. This is not ‘tick box’ training! We want to help our clients change the way their staff engage with disabled people to help them Minimise Risk and Maximise Revenue Opportunities.
As companies seek to minimise fixed costs and drive lean solutions to all aspects of their business, disability and diversity management has become a natural target for outsourcing and Direct Enquiries has become a leading provider in this emerging market. The logic is simple – we have a body of experts from all areas of disability equality and access management and it is cheaper and more effective to draw on these experts than to retain in-house expertise. The ‘front end’ of our outsource solution is our Resolve Helpdesk which is staffed by subject matter experts from all walks of this niche industry and backed by some of the most recognised lead practitioners in the business. Estates Managers, HR Managers and business leaders have real-time access to expert advice at the time of need without the cost of recruiting and retaining staff themselves. The quantum improvement in service standards and the massive reduction in costs that Resolve offers presents a compelling business case for outsourcing.