Nimbus, a disability consultancy service, developed the Access Card in response to frustrations shared by disabled people and a major live music promoter in how disability was evidenced and needs for reasonable adjustments communicated
- For disabled people, the frustration was in repeatedly sending in personal documents which bore no direct relation to the needs of the individual.
- For the venues, it was frustration in interpreting these documents and the additional admin burden it placed on their staff.
Our goal was to produce a single consistent method of communicating between customer and provider; therefore simplifying the process for both.
Since its initial development, the card is now widely accepted at major event venues across the UK and beyond, and even more widely taken simply at face value.
The technological development behind the card now means that an unprecedented technical response to disabled peoples’ needs is now possible and a live API allows for online ticket sales (and more) to be genuinely achievable for the first time for disabled people.
The Access Card scheme continues to evolve and I hope that once you have read this document you will join us in communicating how your services can meet the needs of Access Card Holders.
Please feel free to contact me directly with any questions.
Martin Austin MBE
0330 808 5108
What is The Access Card?
The Access Card means different things to different people; these are a few of the uses which vary between individuals and context used.
It is basically an ID card for disabled people that indicates what their legal rights might be and gives businesses an indication of the support they need to provide.
Proof of Access Requirements
In some circumstances, such as booking tickets and then accessing free essential companion spaces; it is proportionate and reasonable to make sure that the person requesting that adjustment has a genuine need for them. In these circumstances, many organisations ask for proof of disability/access requirements.
Our experience shows that there is very little consistency of what constitutes ‘proof’ and how this might be asked for and accepted across organisations.
It also becomes a problem for disabled people having to repeatedly submit personal and private information. The Access Card was designed to be a one-stop-shop for assessing need and communicating bits across multiple providers giving consistency for customers and organisations.
An Access Card is only issued to disabled people who are able to provide a suitable degree of supporting information. This information includes things such as doctors reports, entitlement to disability-related benefits or any other type of Supporting information.
Communication of Disabled Person’s Needs
In the course of submitting an application for an Access Card, the symbols are assigned which indicates the type of reasonable adjustment a person may need in accessing the service.
This has the impact of becoming a useful customer service tool meaning that your staff are able to concentrate on meeting a person’s needs rather than assessing whether or not a person might be entitled to a certain provision.
Communicating Your Organisation’s Ability to Meet Customers Needs
We ask providers to take some time to think about how they can meet each of the needs indicated on the card and to submit a listing to the Access Card website directory.
This listing details the particular reasonable adjustments available and becomes an access statement to better inform a disabled customer of what to expect in terms of access.
This is a completely free service for your organisation.
We believe that by submitting a special offer for disabled people and attracting them to use your service for the first time; you will in actual fact be showcasing the accessibility of your service and therefore attract return custom.
Disabled people and their families’ choice of venue and activities is limited explicitly to whether the venue is accessible to the disabled person themselves. This decision making represents an estimated combined spending power of disabled people and their close friends and family equating to about £212 billion a year.
This spending power of disabled people in the United Kingdom is known as the Purple Pound
Who Gets an Access Card?
Access Cards are not simply given to anyone who asks for one.
Nimbus has for a long time been advising businesses on how and when to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people. It was our expertise in making complex decisions on reasonable adjustments that contributed to the development of the Access Card.
Our decision making is based on seeing enough information from 3rd party professionals that indicate the need for a particular type of reasonable adjustment; identified on the card by symbols.
In many cases this 3rd party information will be related to benefit entitlement but, as we tell businesses, not all disabled people claim disability benefits. In these circumstances we do ask for further information in the form of medical records and so on.
Our decision making is respected across a broad range of ticketing industries and ultimately based on the same criteria as The Equality Act itself.
How Can You Accept It?
At Face Value
Access Card holders use their cards in a variety of situations with organisations that might never have heard of the scheme, let alone have submitted a listing on our website.
It is important to remember that the needs indicated on the card relate to the person’s rights as a disabled person under the Equality Act and refusing to act on a symbol where possible may equate to a failure to make a reasonable adjustment.
Many providers simply take to this information at face value and provide the services requested at the point of delivery. There are no forms for you to fill in, it’s free of charge and it’s simply good customer service.
We created an online validation tool to be used inside box offices throughout the UK.
Our online portal enables your staff to enter card details which might be being taken over the telephone to validate the veracity of a card and the symbols it contains. The ability to create multiple user accounts and populate a notes field mean that the validation tool can become a useful customer relationship management tool; fleshing out needs specific to your venue.
There is no charge to access this service.
We simply ask that you complete an annual licence agreement form and make it clear on your website and any access-related information that the Access Card is recognised at your venue.
Complete your licence agreement and get started today:
Full Digital Integration
For organisations that need a live real-time feed, we’ve created an API code which will allow your systems to talk to ours directly. This is proven particularly useful in circumstances such as ticketing sales but also has applications across health and social care.
For further information on the API, test code and dummy-end data, please get in touch directly.
There is no charge to access this service.
Subcontract Your In-House Access Scheme
As the Access Card scheme has grown, we have seen an increase in venues wanting consistency in the way applications are processed and integratied into their systems, and also see savings in administration of Non-Access Card holders access requirements.
It is also critical to remember that all venues must have a free alternative to processing a customers requirements.
We are able to act as an independent 3rd party that manages your access registration scheme with the same professionalism in decision making and utlising the same digital infrastructure of the Access Card for customers who do not wish to pay the cost of an Access Card application.
Charges vary on scale of operation but we operate on a monthly SLA and only charge for customers that we successfully add to the scheme. Customers are offered the opportunity to upgrade to an Access Card at the end of the free application and, at the time of writing, we upgrade c.25% of free applications, for which there is no charge to our business clients.
How to Get Involved
It all starts by submitting a listing to the Access Card website. Take some time to think about how your organisation can respond to each of the symbols on the card (a cheat sheet is available at the back of this pack).
Then, visit the site below to submit a listing detailing how you’d like to use the card and we’ll be in touch from there.