- You are here:
- BT & Accessibility
BT & Accessibility
We want to make sure our products and services are available to everyone – whatever their need. That's why we have made this website – and all our products and services – as accessible as possible, so they're easy to use. Find out about our commitment to you – and about our work with other organisations.
Our commitment to you
We have been providing assistance and services for older and disabled customers since 1984.
We are committed to helping older and disabled customers make the most out of our products and services, and overcome communication challenges wherever possible.
This includes consulting with our customers and their representatives on current and future services and new innovations. We do this in a number of ways:
- Social services, healthcare and independent living professionals are all part of our professional contacts network, which provides a forum for knowledge sharing and expert feedback.
- We consult with disabled customers.
- Our BT Disability User Panel includes our own employees with disabilities, provides early feedback on new BT products.
- We work with many relevant organisations and meet with them on a regular basis.
In this section you will find more on our commitment to this important work.
- More about
Our legal and regulatory requirements
Our inclusion policies and activities are based on a range of factors, including a number of legal and regulatory requirements. Whilst these inform, they do not limit our inclusion objective of enhancing the lives of our older and disabled customers.
The principle legislation regarding disability is now the Equality Act which came into force on 1st October 2010 and replaced the Disability Discrimination Act of 1995. The Act continues to make it unlawful to discriminate against a disabled person because of their disability unless this behaviour can be justified.
The Act states it is against the law to:
- Refuse to serve a disabled person
- Offer a disabled person a service that is not as good as a service being offered to a non-disabled person
- Provide a service to a disabled person on different terms to those given to a non-disabled person
- Provide goods or services in a way that makes it unreasonably difficult or impossible for a disabled person to use the goods or service.
This means that organisations, including BT, have a duty to make "reasonable adjustments" for disabled customers. This includes providing extra help or making changes to the way service are provided.
All these legal requirements are covered by BT's broader ranging inclusion strategy, which also incorporates the terms of the General Conditions of the Communications Act and BT's Universal Service Condition.
These regulatory conditions reflect our existing activities in a number of areas, including:
- Provide Textphone users with access to the emergency services, operator assistance and directory information services using short codes and Textphone call progress announcements
- Provide a priority fault repair scheme
- Offer to provide contracts and bills in alternative formats (such as Braille)
- Ensure 75 per cent of public call boxes are reasonably accessible to wheelchair users.
BT's policies for inclusion cover more than a select number of customer specific issues. We try to embed customer and inclusion focused thinking across the organisation, especially at the product and service design stage, so everyone's needs are considered.
This helps us ensure that older and disabled customers can be certain there will be products, services or advice that helps with their specific challenges. That includes how they interact with BT, the information and guidance they receive from us and continued engagement with them and their representatives to improve the products and services we provide.
BT's inclusion strategy includes legal and regulatory requirements but is driven by our determination to be a market leader in inclusion and in customer services.
- More about
Customer Inclusion Leadership Panel
Set up in 2011, the Customer Inclusion Leadership Panel of experts in the field of ageing and disability provides BT with independent advice and guidance to help us improve our policies and practices. Members scrutinise our activities to ensure that we include rather than exclude.
The creation of the Panel is a tangible demonstration of our commitment to understanding and serving the needs of older and disabled customers. It aligns with BT's over-arching objective to be number one for customer service and supports our vision of helping customers thrive in a changing world.
Panel members are:
Paul Farmer, CEO MIND
Phil Friend OBE FRSA, diversity consultant and chair of Disability Rights UK
Dr Lorraine Gailey, CEO Hearing Link
Baroness Sally Greengross, CEO International Longevity Centre, UK
Nigel Lewis, CEO AbilityNet
Harry Meade, Corporate Partnerships, RNIB
Kate Nash OBE, diversity consultant
James Partridge OBE, CEO Changing Faces
- More about
Inclusive design at BT
Communicating with others and finding out information are important parts of everyone's life – and technology plays a big role in both of these activities.
Because of this, making technology more accessible, easy to use and affordable for as many people as possible is essential for us at BT.
Inclusive design makes sure that when we create a new product or service, we focus on making it as useable as possible for as many people as possible – no matter what their need or disability is.
This means many of our products can be used by any of our customers, regardless of ability. We offer a range of telephones that can help if you have difficulties, for example, our Big Button and Converse phones that have been very popular over many years.
We have also produced our bills in different ways for more than 15 years – and more recently on audio CD – and we also make information about our services available in a range of formats such as large print and Braille.
When creating our own websites (such as this one), we make sure we follow accessibility guidelines so the websites can be used by as many people as possible.
We are proud of our accessibility credentials and we'll continue to find new ways of enable people through technology.
- More about
Close - BSL user videos
To watch the videos you may need to allow ActiveX controls or download the latest Flash Player — read more about enabling ActiveX and upgrading your Flash Player here.