The Equality Act 2010 seeks to achieve equal opportunities in the work place and wider society. But what does it mean for churches?
Duties under the Act are placed on 'service providers', which include churches and the service they provide for worship and wider activities either in the church or a church hall.
The Act applies to all church premises including clergy housing.
Churches now have to take reasonable steps to change practice, policy, or procedure which makes it impossible or unreasonably difficult for a disabled person to make use of its services.
Use of premises by a disabled person must be anticipated and not left until the situation arises. It is important that all people are included in the provision of the service. For churches this could include considering access to the church, parts of the interior, use of WCs, noticeboards, churchyards and paths.