Government launches guide for SMEs to realise £80bn potential of the ‘purple pound’

Aug 8, 2013

This is a great guide to UK businesses detailing the £80 billion per annum value that the 20% disabled people population of the UK represents, and how to access it. Giving advice on just what is meant by ‘making a reasonable adjustment’ for a small or medium sized business.

Included are sections on:

  • The opportunity for businesses
  • Disability statistics & demographics
  • The law & what constitutes a reasonable adjustment
  • A guide to doing business with disabled people
  • Successful business case studies

Unfortunately, it’s rather light on details when it comes to providing access for deaf and hard of hearing people. So it’s worth noting that around 16% of the UK population have some form of hearing impairment. In fact, the majority of people who wear a hearing aid don’t register themselves as disabled; and therefore won’t appear in these statistics.

A good quick guide to what makes a business attractive and what constitutes a reasonable adjustment to existing services for hard of hearing people include the following:

  • Training staff to communicate properly with deaf and hard of hearing people in a polite manner (not turning away whilst speaking and not shouting etc.)
  • If you have a service desk or pay-point in a busy area, or an area subject to background noise, fit a simple counter hearing loop.
  • If your service has an audio element, such as a TV in a waiting room, install an assistive listening system such as a small area induction loop, Infra-Red or FM system and ensure that subtitles are switched on when available.
  • If your service involves one person communicating with many in a fixed environment (a room with a stage for example) ensure that the speaker’s voice is captured by microphone and an assistive Listening system is fitted. Such appropriate systems include room hearing loops, Infra-Red or FM systems.
  • If your service involves the playback of recorded media with audio, such as a film, provide a good assistive listening system such as a professional quality hearing loop, Infra-Red or FM system as well as a suitable captioning device.

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