|Friday, 20 March 2009 21:56|
There are a number of legal issues that your group should think about before giving any access advice to a client.
Payment for services
If your group offers its services and advice free of charge, this can undermine the value of the group’s expertise. However, if your group is registered as a charity and charges for its services, you must be very careful. Charitable status confers certain tax exemptions on the assumption that you will not engage in trade. A formal charging policy may be seen as ’trading’ in competition with professional agencies. However, it is legitimate to discuss payment to cover the actual costs of services, including:
Therefore, it may be appropriate in some cases for your group to accept donations to cover these expenses.
In another method of working, advice given – including the outcome of an access audit – may be provided as a ‘consumer viewpoint’ from the perspective of a disabled person. State clearly that the improvements you suggest would be of benefit to your group and the wider disabled community.
Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII)
Your group should seriously consider taking out its own insurance policy if it has not already done so. This will provide you with protection when giving access guidance or undertaking access audits for a client. Once you have completed the initial audit, it is recommended that you refer the client onto an access consultant for further advice. Access consultants – who should all have PII – have a more in-depth knowledge of construction methods, and tend to also be architects or surveyors by trade. They will be able to advise on the more complex technical, structural and design aspects of access improvements.
When commissioning an access audit, the client is likely to expect an understanding of the implications of legislation that ties in with access issues.
|Last Updated on Monday, 23 March 2009 21:13|