An auxiliary aid is a piece of equipment or technology that can help a person with a disability access your goods or services. An example would be an induction loop for people with hearing impairments. Auxiliary aids are not limited to communication, for example you might provide a portable ramp or handrails to help customers with mobility impairments.
An auxiliary service means providing assistance to help a person with a disability to use your goods or services.
Examples of such auxiliary services include:
- training a member of staff in British Sign Language (BSL) or Irish Sign Language (ISL) so that they are able to communicate effectively with customers who have a hearing impairment and who use BSL as their main form of communication - see communication support for deaf people
- helping a customer in a wheelchair to access goods which are out of their reach or bringing goods to the till if aisles cannot be accessed by wheelchair users
When considering what auxiliary aids or services are required, you will need to take into account that different people will have different requirements. Some people, for example, may have multiple disabilities, such as speech and hearing impairments.
Judging whether the aids and services are reasonable
You should take reasonable steps to provide auxiliary aids and services. What is regarded as 'reasonable' for one business may be different for another business. Whether the auxiliary aids and services you provide are judged as reasonable may depend on such things as:
- the size of your business
- the resources available to your business
- the cost of providing the extra aid or service
In the event of a dispute, only a court can decide what is reasonable.
For further information see reasonable adjustment - Equality Commission's guidance.
Making permanent alterations to your business premises
You may be required to make reasonable adjustments to the physical features of your business property to ensure your services are accessible to disabled people. See overcome physical barriers to access.