Norman Lamb meets Minister to discuss Disability Awareness

Norman Lamb, MP for North Norfolk and Liberal Democrat spokesperson for health, has advanced his campaign for better disability awareness training for security staff in a constructive meeting with the Minister for Disabled People, Justin Tomlinson.

The meeting took place following strong cross-party support for a parliamentary motion, tabled by Norman Lamb, highlighting the lack of focus on disability in training specifications for security staff, and the resulting discrimination faced by people with disabilities from door staff outside bars and clubs. The motion supports ‘Enhance the UK’ charity’s campaign for proper disability awareness training to be given to all security and door staff. Jennie Williams and Gary Mazin attended the meeting on behalf of the charity.

In the meeting at the Department of Work and Pensions, the Minister agreed to encourage the Security Industry Association (SIA), which regulates the private security industry in the UK, to engage with charities like Enhance the UK to design better disability awareness training programmes.

Norman Lamb has now written to the Chief Executive of the Local Government Association (LGA), Mark Lloyd, requesting a meeting to discuss the role that local authorities could play in driving change.  This might include requiring a better standard of disability awareness training for security staff when granting entertainment licenses to nightclubs and bars.

Speaking after the meeting, Norman Lamb said:

“We simply cannot tolerate a society where people suffer discrimination because of their disability.  Security staff must be given the training they need to understand disability, and treat people who have disabilities with respect as equal citizens.

“I’m pleased that the Minister has agreed to meet with the SIA to discuss this further, and I hope to secure a meeting with the LGA to explore how local authorities can make a difference in ensuring that local security staff are properly trained in disability awareness. Local authorities could, for instance, force all venues requiring an entertainments' licence to have security staff given this training. 

“I will keep fighting alongside Enhance the UK and other organisations to make sure we see progress on this issue and achieve genuine equality for people with disabilities.”

Gary Mazin, from Enhance the UK, said: 

“After an altercation when I was pushed by a doorman for having a guide dog, and receiving numerous other messages about incidents involving door security staff and disabled access, ‘Enhance the UK’ discovered that there are some glaring flaws in the way that security staff are given training, particularly with regards to disability awareness.

“Thanks to the help of Norman tabling the motion, we were able to discuss this in a positive meeting with the Minister. 

“It’s extremely important that anyone working in the hospitality or service industry must have disability awareness training that isn’t just tick box or reams of legal text. What they need is training that gives practical examples in a simple to understand format. I hope the SIA and local authorities will take more responsibility for the quality and consistency of these training standards, to improve the lives of disabled people when accessing venues across the UK.” 

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