Disability Discrimination Act (1995)

Now replaced by the Equality Act (2010)


The new Equality Act follows the same guidelines for signage as the DDA so the information below is still relevant


What was the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and what did it mean to businesses?

The Act was a Government measure intended to reduce discrimination against disabled people. Significant parts of the law came into force on 2 December 1996.

Does the DDA cover blind and partially sighted people?

Yes. Sensory impairments are regarded as physical impairments and are therefore covered.

What does a Service Provider need to know?

By October 1999 all Service Providers needed to comply with DDA legislation which applies to organizations providing, for payment or for free, goods, services or facilities direct to the public. E.g. Shops, supermarkets, travel agents, libraries, museums, banks, central and local government, or anyone selling, letting or managing premises.

DDA and Signs

The Government implemented the remaining sections of the DDA. Some requirements for auxiliary aids came in to force in October 1999.

By 31st October 2004 the DDA required buildings to be accessible to disabled people including a requirement for physical adaptations. Auxiliary aids such as Braille and embossed signs was also be required by this stage.



It is therefore strongly recommended that current signing projects take this in to account:

  • The Disability Discrimination Act 1995: new requirements to make goods, facilities and services more accessible to disabled people
  • From 1st October 2004 Provision of Goods and Services Act Part III  has an affect on signage
  • "Part III of the Act applies to any person or any organisation or entity which is concerned with the provision in the United Kingdom of services (including goods and facilities) to the public or a section of the public."
  • There are 2 Sections within the DDA that relate directly to signs.
  • Auxiliary Aids
    • Provide an auxiliary aid or service if it would enable (or make it easier for) disabled people to make use of its services. From 1 October 2004 auxiliary aids and services could be any kind of aid or service (whether temporary or permanent).
    • For example; providing tactile buttons in lifts
    • For people with visual impairments, the range of auxiliary aids or services which it might be reasonable to provide to ensure that services are accessible might include the following; large print or tactile maps/plans
  • Overcoming Barriers
    • From October 1st 2004, service providers also had to consider making reasonable adjustments to the physical features of their premises to overcome physical barriers to access.
    • Overcoming barriers created by physical features Where a "physical feature" makes it impossible or unreasonably difficult for disabled people to make use of any service which is offered to the public, a service provider must take reasonable steps to remove the feature or alter it so it no longer has that effect.
    • Physical features include signs
  • Altering the physical feature so that it no longer has the effect of making it impossible or unreasonably difficult for disabled people to use the services may also be a reasonable step for a service provider to take.

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