Making reasonable adjustments

Making reasonable adjustments

Reasonable adjustments refer to changes, modifications or accommodations that an organisation should make to ensure that opportunities to participate, volunteer or spectate are accessible to all, particularly those with different needs.

Making adjustments will help to eliminate barriers and provide equal opportunities, helping to create inclusive and accessible organisations. Sport England’s Uniting the Movement strategy recognises the importance of creating inclusive opportunities to ensure that everyone can access sport and physical activity, and the benefits involvement can bring.

Why making reasonable adjustments is important

Making reasonable adjustments is not only desirable for member satisfaction and engagement, but also a legal requirement under the Equality Act 2010. The Equality Act 2010, requires organisations to make reasonable adjustments to the services and activities that they offer so that everyone, including those from protected characteristic groups, can access them. Reasonable adjustments can include making alterations to a facility or the equipment provided, but also the policies, procedures, training of volunteers and communication methods used.

In line with The Act, an organisation shouldn’t just respond to issues, challenges, or barriers as they arise, but be proactive and plan in advance to make any adjustments to the offer which has the potential to impact on a person’s ability to engage in any capacity. Hosting discussions with the organisation’s intended audience is a positive approach in ensuring their needs can be met from the outset. This will also offer the opportunity to introduce an organisation to new people and promote an inclusive and welcoming message.

What can be considered as reasonable
Determining what is reasonable isn’t defined within the Equalities Act 2010, and determining what is reasonable will vary depending on a number of things including: the size of an organisation, the resources available, and the impact that making a change will have on an individual’s ability to access opportunities.

It’s important that any adjustments are made on an individual basis and consider the specific needs and preferences of each person. This approach will help to provide equal opportunities whilst respecting the independence and dignity of individuals. The aim of making these adjustments is to identify and implement changes that are effective in removing barriers. It’s equally important to ensure that spectating is accessible and inclusive for family or friends who may want to support a participant.

When planning what adjustments are reasonable and should be made, organisations are strongly encouraged consult and get the perspective of the individuals that will benefit.  Individuals can also request that adjustments are made, to ensure that opportunities available are as close to the standard which people are usually offered.

Reasonable adjustments can take various forms, depending on individual needs and the existing provision of an organisation. Examples of reasonable adjustments may include:

  • Physical accessibility. These are often larger scale investments and can include installing ramps, widening doorways, providing wheelchair accessible entrances or accessible changing and toilet facilities. There are, however, smaller changes that can be made such as better signage, installing hearing loops or dedicated parking spaces which provide easier access to the facilities.
  • Equipment.  Community organisations may need to modify or adapt equipment to make it easier for those with specific needs to participate in all activities offered.
  • Flexible rules and formats. Modifying rules or formats of activities can be another way to implement reasonable adjustments. For instance, allowing multiple substitutions or modifications to rules which can help to accommodate individuals with specific needs.
  • Training and education. This can be for both the paid and voluntary workforce to raise awareness and understanding to develop inclusive practices. Training should raise awareness on different topics including communication strategies, address the needs and challenges of different groups, and signpost to more information.
  • Policies and procedures. Community organisations should review their policies and procedures to ensure they include inclusive practices, and avoid discrimination.  As an example, this may include revising recruitment processes for volunteers, or implementing flexible membership options. Organisations should also have clear procedures in place for handling any requests for reasonable adjustments.
  • Communication. Organisations should consider the communication needs of those from different protected characteristic groups. This may include providing information in alternative formats or languages, or using a variety of different communications channels and methods. 
  • Programming of activities. Organisations should strive to offer a variety of activities that cater to individuals with different abilities. This may involve introducing adapted versions of traditional activities, offering different session times, or amending the changing facilities or location to ensure that people feel safe and comfortable to attend.
  • Cultural changes. Creating an inclusive environment sometimes requires a shift in attitudes and perceptions towards different groups. Organisations should promote a culture of acceptance, respect, and understanding. This can be achieved through awareness campaigns, promoting positive role models and challenging discriminatory behaviours.

More information on reasonable adjustments can be found via the following links:

Last modified: Friday, 13 October 2023, 5:09 PM