Access Panels work to improve physical access and wider social inclusion in their local communities. They are made up of groups of local volunteers, including disabled people, who come together to improve access in their local communities.
This doesn’t just mean access to the built environment. Access Panels are increasingly concerned with ‘access’ in the fullest sense, including: roads; employment; education; health; transport; the countryside and leisure and recreation, etc.
Panels provide a valuable service in their communities, including:
- Engaging with local authorities and other public bodies on access matters and independent living
- Examining and advising on building warrant applications and planning
- Undertaking site visits
Many take on specific projects, such as:
- Researching and publishing local access guides for disabled people and tourism
- Disseminating information on access and independent living
- Offering advice and guidance to architects and designers
Access Panels can help their communities in many ways including:
- Creating a better physical environment for all
- Assisting local authorities, public bodies and designers meet their statutory obligations
- Promoting full social inclusion
- Encouraging people to take ownership of what happens in their own communities
- Keeping access and independent living issues to the fore