Duty of Care
The Royal Armouries accepts that it has a duty of care for all those who suffer from exclusion of opportunity in gender, race, class and disability. Specifically the Disability Discrimination Act means that from December 2006 all public bodies have a duty to promote disability equality.
It has changed the way our laws work in this area, from responding to individual disabled people making complaints to expecting the public sector to be positive in removing barriers.
Furthermore, the Act sets out what is known as the general duty and that public authorities must, in carrying out their functions have due regard to:
- Promote equality of opportunity between disabled persons and other persons
- Eliminate discrimination that is unlawful under the Act
- Eliminate harassment of disabled persons that is related to their disabilities
- Promote positive attitudes towards disabled persons
- Encourage participation by disabled persons in public life
- Take steps to take account of disabled persons’ disabilities even where that involves treating disabled persons more favourably than other persons
If a public authority does not comply with the general duty, its actions, or failure to act, can be challenged by means of a claim to the High Court for judicial review. A claim for judicial review could be made by a person or a group with an interest in the matter, or by the Disability Rights Commission.
The definition of disability is that used in the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and applies to a wide range of disabilities. It is essential that museums consider the impact of their decisions on the full range of disabled people.
Working Towards our Vision
The Royal Armouries has an Access Officer responsible for the development of Access awareness and is responsible to the Collections Director.
- Access implementation requires an emancipator and an advocate of change, able to transform systems through community empowerment, and capable of sustained strategic thinking to effect change
- Access implementation requires an advocate of an equal opportunities agenda for all stakeholders of the Collection
- Access implementation requires a creative, committed and flexible facilitator in the organisation of group dynamics and partnerships
- Access implementation requires a front line supporter of those whose histories, communities and interests could be said to be most at risk in the climate of the 21st century
The Royal Armouries currently works in partnership with the University of York, Leeds Society for Deaf and Blind People, West Oaks Special Inclusive Learning Centre, Makaton, Leeds Community Foundation and Acoustiguide to address issues relating to access, inclusion and equality. Guidance was also gained from the Disability Framework by the DCMS and the Disability Portfolios published by the MLA.
From April 2007, the Museum will create a systematic and sensitive environment in all areas of Access and Leisure Learning. To this end we will:
- Raise the standard of Access across all three Royal Armouries sites
- Make explicit transparent, theoretical methodologies as part of a whole museum policy as well as an Access rationale
- Provide as part of the core requirement of the Museum an expression of Access through a range of physical, sensory, intellectual and cultural experiences, and rationalise how we can best proceed to combat socio-economic factors
- Identify and appraise our present Access services and ensure that these are equalised and rationalised across all three UK sites
- Develop a systematic and rational system of communicating values and behaviours, supported by a rigorous policy of addressing socially invalid beliefs including racism
- Recognise and value the importance of all our staff in undertaking and promoting Access to our many publics, and to this end provide a regulated, quantitative internal and external training regime