• changing places campaign

    I understand constituents concerns that standard accessible toilets do not meet the needs of all people with a disability and I appreciate the importance of access to Changing Places toilets.

     At the 2017 general election, I stood on a manifesto which pledged to incorporate the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) into UK law. The UNCRPD emphasises the importance of accessibility of public facilities and services, to enable disabled people to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life.

     As I am sure you will be aware, the Equality Act 2010 places a duty on building owners, employers and business operators to make reasonable adjustments to buildings to ensure disabled people are not placed at a disadvantage. Current building guidance also recommends that Changing Places facilities be provided in larger buildings and complexes with public access, or where visitors might be expected to spend long periods of time.

     However, I understand there are calls for existing regulations to be strengthened and I would like to see a review of access and inclusiveness in sports, arts and leisure venues, considering the needs of people with different disabilities.

     As you know, my colleague, Paula Sherriff MP, introduced a Private Members’ Bill on 27 June 2018 which seeks to make the provision of Changing Places toilets mandatory in certain buildings. I understand this Bill is now scheduled to have its second reading debate in the House of Commons on 25 January 2019. However, the order of business has not yet been confirmed for this day and it may not be debated.

     The Government has stated that it is keen to promote the provision of Changing Places toilet facilities and that it is considering what more can be done on this. It has also said it will continue to be supportive of other initiatives to encourage existing business and building owners to voluntarily install Changing Places toilets.