Disability

House of Commons Commission written question – answered on 9th September 2013.

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Photo of Julian Huppert Julian Huppert Liberal Democrat, Cambridge

To ask the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, representing the House of Commons Commission, what plans the Commission has to ensure the provision of facilities to allow large groups of disabled people to meet in the House.

Photo of John Thurso John Thurso Chair, Finance and Services Committee, Chair, Finance and Services Committee

We make every effort to accommodate disabled visitors within the physical constraints of the buildings, particularly those of the Palace of Westminster. Arrangements for large groups of disabled people to lobby Members are made in Westminster Hall.

The organisers of such events are asked to notify the House in advance so that we can provide the best support and advice. Since April 2013, the Serjeant at Arms has reviewed all forthcoming events weekly. Any events that have specific access requirements or are on subjects likely particularly to draw the interest of those with disabilities, are identified and plans put in place to support them.

For Members organising events, meetings or lobbies in the House that could be attended by people with disabilities, there is a guidance leaflet entitled “Information for Members of both Houses and pass holders escorting visitors with disabilities”. The leaflet shows the accessible visitor route through the main Palace and Portcullis House, the location of accessible lavatories, parking advice and general information on accessing the Estate. The full leaflet can be found at:

http://intranet.parliament.uk/access-buildings/access-security/disabled-access/

All new infrastructure projects include full consideration of disabled access. In conjunction with the forthcoming independent appraisal of options for the long term restoration and renewal of the Palace of Westminster that has been requested by the House of Commons Commission and the House of Lords House Committee, a high level Equality Analysis of the design and function of the Palace is now being undertaken. This will seek to identify strategic opportunities and priorities for the longer term, including improved access for disabled people.

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