Choosing Your Advisers Very Carefully

New law in force

The Equality Act came into force on 1 October 10. Some of the information on this page may be out of date.

Businesses and organisations can feel uncertain where to turn for specific advice on meeting their obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) and other equality legislation.

A growing number of unscrupulous organisations are looking to exploit that uncertainty to the detriment of the public. This page explains some of the practices you should be wary of in potential suppliers.

In general, you should weigh the claims of any supplier very carefully before parting with your money, particularly those claiming to give you peace of mind through a one-stop advice shop. Discrimination legislation is complex, and there are no easy fixes on offer.  Remember: no-one can deem you to be ‘compliant’ and anyone who makes that kind of promise misunderstands the legislation.

That does not mean that employers and service providers are left in the dark. There is a wealth of authoritative advice available, such as the codes of practice and guidance available on this site, and of course there are excellent, established advisers in the field. There are also various government online business advice services, which are free of charge and are likely to be of much greater use than any service offered by these so-called experts.

In particular, watch out for the following:

'Gold-plating'

This means advising businesses that they must, under the DDA, provide specific adjustments (or risk being taken to court) without any regard to their circumstances. This often puts businesses – particularly smaller ones – under pressure to make expensive adjustments when, with a little imagination and forethought, a less expensive option would be just as good.

Guarantees and promises of protection

Some companies claim to have all the answers, and say that working with them will mean you are sure of being compliant with the DDA, or other equality legislation. You should be extremely cautious if approached by anyone who makes sweeping assertions that:

  • Offer accreditation or other forms of recognition – either through themselves or a third party.
  • Claim that working with them will make you DDA compliant or compliant with equality legislation in general.
  • Promise protection from legal action.
  • Overcomplicate or oversimplify your legal requirements relating to equality, inclusion and diversity.

Claimed relationships with the Commission or government

Many outfits may suggest on their websites that they have close relationships with the Equality and Human Rights Commission or with government departments.  More often than not this is not true, but of course creates the illusion of respectability. Details of any of our partnerships or accreditation will be listed on our website, so if in doubt, visit this site.

If you have concerns about a company you think may be behaving unscrupulously, please contact our Helpline.

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