How disabled people influence standards

It’s not enough to consider the needs of disabled people – they need to be involved in creating standards, because they’re the experts on what they need. 

The Disabled Expert Reference Group, or DERG, makes that happen. It comprises registered disabled people who also have expert knowledge in a particular area from a consumer’s point of view. 

These volunteers may be assigned to particular committees working on new standards that will affect disabled people, for example guidance on access to lifts, where they use their experience to influence the evolving standards. Sometimes the group is asked to give their views on a particular issue, and are able to give an authoritative response. 

"Theres no doubt that implementing standards has enabled more people with disabilities to enjoy their match day experience. What we’ve found is that when there are good facilities, people will come". Phil Downs, Manchester United's disability liaison officer (DLO) and chairman of the National Association of Disabled Supporters (NADS).

The Group's key aims are to:

  • Improve consumer awareness of standards and increase their relevance to disabled people in particular and the public at large
  • Increase collaboration with relevant external consumer and public interest organizations, particularly those in the disability sector, to influence the national and international standards development programme
  • Increase the profile of the requirements of disabled people across the Consumer & Public Interest Network and maintain and improve interaction with relevant BSI departments to ensure effective input from CPIN into BSI standards and related products
  • Demonstrate social responsibility – with regard to creating and using standards that are fully inclusive and available in all appropriate formats. These standards frequently relate to accessibility, security, safety, sustainability and services standardization

A member of DERG also sits on the Consumer & Public Interest Strategic Advisory Committee, where they can affect overall standards strategy at a high level.