Disabled Experts Reference Group

BSI is committed to establishing standards that fulfil basic consumer principles, particularly in the areas of accessibility and inclusivity. With that in mind we need to ensure that we support standards which promote the availability of products and services to all consumers, regardless of their disability or impairment.

As BSI publishes over 50,000 standards on products and services, we have created the Disabled Experts Reference Group (DERG) to provide informed knowledge on the vast number of those that have an impact on disabled people.

DERG is part of the the CPI Network and it comprises a diverse group of disabled people with relevant expertise and interest in disability equality, access and service provision. Its brief is to monitor BSI practice and to provide a strong presence in the development and promotion of standards that affect the disabled community (for example, the complex standards relating to wheelchairs and lifts). 

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 organisations, 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 BSI-CPI Consumer & Public Interest Network, and maintain and improve interaction with relevant BSI departments to ensure effective input from the CPI Network 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 standardisation.


The group is led by our BSI CPI Coordinator for the Accessibility/Design for All group, which comprises DERG, CPI Reps and background experts.

Profiles of Disabled Experts Reference Group - Members

The Group was formed within the BSI-CPIN under the guidance of Michelle Valentine – Director of Disability Forward Ltd. and Disability Committee member of the Equality and Human Rights Commission. Michelle says,

"When I joined BSI, I realised that there were a lot of knowledgeable people providing input to standards." The voice of disabled experts seemed not to be present, however, so I decided to work with the BSI-CPIN to set up the Disabled Expert Reference Group. I want to see the group providing opportunities for disabled professionals who have the relevant experience and knowledge to input into the standards process, and who also bring to that the added dimension of being disabled and being committed to a disability equality perspective'.

Waqas Chauhdry is one of the members. He is a London-based management consultant specialising in disability equality. His aim is to further the understanding of practical issues and is particularly interested in making websites accessible and usable for disabled people. He wants DERG to promote the understanding and adoption of BSI standards as a benchmarking tool in promoting disability equality to key public sector regulators. Waqas has contributed to BSI videos and articles about accessibility and standards..

Rory Heap, Equality and Diversity Manager for the National Offender Management Service (the government department NOMS) is another key member of DERG. He feels that the Group could influence international standards in such a way that would make it feasible to extend Part III of the DDA to manufacturers of everyday non-specialist products, such as TVs, domestic appliances, and ATM machines.

"I have a long-standing interest in and frustration with inaccessible systems/products/documents of all kinds. Disabled people encounter barriers, not only with large things, but also with the everyday, the mundane and ephemeral: these cause as much, if not more, frustration as the mega systems."