The Cost of Inclusion

Politicians and business people often want to crunch the numbers when it comes to making professional decisions and when it comes to making ‘reasonable adjustments’ under the Equality Act the situation is no different: money matters.

However, you may be surprised to hear that most adjustments actually cost nothing. For example removing over-sized furniture from an office or hotel bedroom to create turning space for a wheelchair user or providing space and amenity for an assistance dog.

keep-outThere are also many low-cost adjustments such as providing a supportive and comfortable chair with arms so a customer can take the weight off their feet whilst signing paperwork.

Of course some adjustments will need to be budgeted for, and typically this may include providing a hearing induction loop system, improved handrails or a ramps

When it comes to doing your figures on the costs of providing for disabled people, take a moment and ask yourself ‘what is the cost of exclusion?’.

Let me explain: Last week we were given envelopes by a charity and told that Government would match whatever we donate, £1 for £1. We were urged to contribute as much as possible. Unfortunately these envelopes required you to record your details on the inside of the envelope, tear along perforated seams, fold and lick edges.

A visually impaired neighbour decided it was all too much trouble, she couldn’t complete the forms and the DIY ‘envelope creating exercise’, as she called it, felt like origami classes to her (again). Instead she finally decided to throw in her £1 coin to what she hoped was the right pot and move on.

The cost here is clear, by excluding this lady there is a 50% drop in donation, no-one has her data so she can’t be followed up for “gift aid” and she won’t be recorded on any charity database to updated.

In the same way that businesses need to target their resources into making adjustments that make a real difference to disabled people, so do our charities, after all every penny counts for them too.