What is an Access Panel?

Access Panels can be found across Scotland, and they are groups of volunteer disabled people who work to improve accessibility in their local areas.  Access Panels work with many different groups in their area such as the local authority, community council, and other groups to help improve accessibility for disabled people.  Disability Equality Scotland is the umbrella body for Access Panels in Scotland.

What is accessibility?

Accessibility deals with how easy it is for disabled people to get into a building, move around, and get out again.  Accessibility can also describe how easy it is to use a service.  The Equality Act 2010 says that service providers have to provide a service in the same way to everyone, regardless of whether they have a disability or not.

Are you disabled if you don’t use a wheelchair?

Disability does not equal wheelchair.  The Equality Act defines a disability as a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on your life.  This can include things such as diabetes, HIV, and arthritis.

Do Access Panels just work to improve physical access?

No. Access Panels are pan-disability organisations.  That means that they work to improve accessibility for all disabled people including visually impaired people, people with a learning disability, and deaf people.

Who is Disability Equality Scotland?

Disability Equality Scotland is the umbrella body for Access Panels in Scotland.  Disability Equality Scotland provides support and guidance to the Access Panel network and helps to grow the capacity and membership of the Access Panels.  Disability Equality Scotland sometimes represents Access Panels on a national level.