C1 – Bingo: Barrier removed if you asked right.

Barrier would have been removed if you had asked clearly, nicely or correctly enough.

A common way to deflect complaints is to imply that it is your fault that you could not get access, because you somehow did not ask in the right way. This can look like:

  • “If you had asked, staff would have provided access or removed an obstruction.”
  • “If you had told us what your needs were, we would have provided access.”
  • “You did not ask nicely enough.”
  • “You did not follow the appropriate process for arranging access.”

Obstructions should often be removed in advance of you needing access – that is part of the anticipatory duty to make reasonable adjustments. The amount of asking needed for access should be minimal, and any process or system for getting adjustments should be made clearly understandable to the user at the point they need it. Part of effective reasonable adjustment provision is staff being trained and knowing how to provide access quickly and smoothly.

We recommend not giving this excuse too much space when dealing with complaints, simply point out why it’s wrong, mention the anticipatory duty and move on.

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