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Whatever your business, the FSB will work for you.

FSB Member Support

The FSB will use its best endeavours to provide help to any member requiring accessibility support and all relevant contact details will be made available at the point of recruitment. We will train all our staff and relevant volunteers to the appropriate level so that we can support our members accordingly.


Using Our Website

We hope that you do not have any difficulty using our website. We have given detailed consideration to the design, type sizes and colour contrasts used on the site, to make it easier to read. We recommend that you view our site with your screen resolution set at (800 x 600) or above. However, if you are having difficulty, there are things you can do.

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If you require any assistance in trying to view this site, please contact the AccessAbility Help Team on 01253 336036 or by email


Equality and Diversity case studies

The Equality and Diversity Committee are in place to support and advise the FSB on best practice and to make sure that the FSB and associated third parties abide by and exceed legislation. The practical side of the committee is the AccessAbility Help Team, which currently support members by providing them with FSB literature in a format that suits them, as well as advising, if there is a need, to make reasonable adjustments to events at National and Regional level. Over the past couple of years there have been a few learning experiences, but on the whole as an organisation are improving all the time. Below are a few of the instances we have come across in the last few years;

  • At a recent conference, the hotel and the venue had all the accessibility features you would expect from a modern venue, but to get there from one to the other had not been considered. As a wheelchair user, taking a direct route would have to cross an area of cobblestones, which was very difficult for them to negotiate.

  • Organisers of an event have got to have an understanding of what requirements are necessary and not make assumptions of what is acceptable. An example of this was when a hotel informed the organiser of an event a few days before a conference that one of the smaller stair lifts was broken. It was agreed by the organiser to continue, without relaying this to any of the attendees with access needs and thus not giving them the choice to attend or not. It was clear that the organiser did not realise the implications to the wheelchair user attending the conference and that they would now need to be carried over 4 steps. But this was not just to enter the building, but to enter the meeting room, so every time they wanted a coffee, go to the toilet etc they had to be lifted up and down the 4 stairs which was not appreciated.

  • A wheelchair user asked the receptionist where the nearest accessible toilet was and was informed it was upstairs. They were asked to wait and then to follow the duty manager down a long corridor, into a lift, up one floor and then again across a long corridor to the base of a full flight of stairs. Where they were moved onto a platform lift which took them up a full flight of stairs, across a landing and then up another flight of stairs. They were then released from the platform lift where the accessible toilet was located. Obviously this long journey had to be repeated in reverse to get back to the meeting and I can just say it was lucky that they were not desperate!!  If this was a wonderful old hotel, you may be impressed by the level of trouble they have taken to make a toilet accessible, but this was a new hotel belonging to a well known major chain. To compound matters, at the end of the stay, the person was pointing out their displeasure to the receptionist, when to their horror she informed the guest that there was in fact an accessible toilet on the ground floor, and that it could have been accessed independently without the long journey. This accessible toilet was inside the ladies toilet with no signage outside to identify this. The original receptionist and duty manager were both male and totally unaware that the toilet existed.

So what we have learnt so far, is the need to inform our staff/members to detail facilities to the visitors, for organisers to inform attendees of change where appropriate, and when we have a facility or service for people with disabilities, we make sure it's signed clearly and that we inform staff/members and we inform relevant parties of the service we have and how to use them.

Many areas of The Equality Act 2010 are enforceable from October 2010

Disability rights have been strengthened with greater powers and protection in respect of employment and include:
  • Extending discrimination to those associated with or perceived to have one of the 'protective characteristics' of which disability is one.  Make sure your policies protect this wider definition of discrimination
  • Employers will no longer be able to ask future employees to complete a pre-health form unless the requirement is specific to the job specification, it is not clear as yet whether this will impact on the process of asking on a reference about previous sickness history, I suspect this may be challenged in the future.

I am sure there will be much more to learn from the Equality Act as it beds in and judges review its practical implications, we will use this page to keep you informed of the Act.

The New Equality Bill is not simply business as normal

The law has certainly been simplified by consolidating 116 different pieces of equality legislation into one single act, but it will impact strengthen the law to support progress on equality.

It will almost certainly have an impact on some small business, especially in the following areas:

  • If you are an employer, it will now make it easier for employees and customers to bring claims of discrimination against you. So it will be important to make sure your work practices are robust and do not discriminate against people with protected characteristics.
  • Employers will have to change some of the ways they recruit; employers will no longer be able to ask for routine health checks on potential employees that are not relevant to the vacant position.
  • Employers will be allowed to discriminate in favour of a minority candidate who is as qualified as another candidate for a role, if that group is under-represented in the workforce.
  • Businesses will have to be more transparent about pay for women and men in the workplace, pay secrecy clauses will be banned.
  • Further protection for new mothers; mothers breastfeeding their children can not be asked to leave places like a café or shop.
  • It further protects people who are caring for a disabled relative.
  • Allows people who live in rented homes the right to have reasonable adjustments in communal areas.
  • It outlaws unjustifiable age discrimination in the workplace, this will be extended to the provision of goods, facilities and service in 2012.

Businesses need to review their Equality Policies in light of the new bill.

The Bill received Royal Assent in April 2010 with the key provisions coming into force on October 2010

FSB ‘An Inclusive Membership'

It is often predicted that the % of people starting up in business is around 12% of the working population this is said to increase by a further 2% if people have a disability. This increase in % is not just due to the success of entrepreneurs with disabilities, of which there are many, but for some the decision is because of the inflexibility or lack of opportunity in the workplace.

The FSB in a recent poll to its membership had these figures more than confirmed when of those members responding 25% stated that they had a disability, 1 in 9 saying that it had some impact on their ability to run their business. The FSB would be interested to hear from those members with a disability who feel that changes in third party policy, direction or organisational approach would improve their ability to run their businesses.

Helping Disabled Businesses Grow - London

A new three-year initiative will provide a range of businesses support for disabled entrepreneurs in London

Enabled4Growth run by charity Leonard Cheshire Disability and part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, will target businesses led by disabled people by providing support to help them grow.

Key elements will be assisting clients to become investment ready, supporting them to secure finance, and also helping investors better understand the abilities of disabled entrepreneurs.

For more information visit

Busines Able Launched - Scotland

Disabled people currently claiming Incapacity Benefit, who want to start their own business, can benefit from new support from the Business Able initiative delivered by Enterprise North East Trust.

The unique support programme was devised to help disabled people work in a way which is conducive to their changing health, allowing them to utilise their skills and knowledge. Businesses Able will provide participants with free one-to-one support form qualified business advisors, along with access to specialist expertise in disability and the benefit system.

For more information visit

FSB Forum

Join other members in discussing issues that affect you and your business. Login to the FSB site as a member FIRST then go to the forums at -



The FSB lobbies on a number of issues concerning small businesses. Please go to the Policy page for more details. However if you feel that the FSB should be made aware of a business issue that is related to you running a business with a disability then please contact FSB Disability spokesperson Ann Johnson


Contact Details

For more information on how the FSB can support your access needs email or telephone 01253 336036