Agenda item


            The Interim City Solicitor/Director of Legal and Civic Services submitted for the Committee’s consideration the following report:


“1.0      Purpose of Report/Summary of Main Issues


1.1       The purpose of this report is to seek the Committee’s approval to issue the draft Changing Places Toilet Policy for public consultation.   


2.0       Recommendation


2.1       The Committee is asked to grant approval to issue the draft policy here for public consultation.


3.0       Main Report


3.1       Background


            A motion proposed by Councillor Ross McMullan calling for the introduction of a Changing Places Toilets Policy for Belfast City Council was referred to this Committee by the Council on 1st September 2021.  The Committee adopted the motion and agreed that a report be brought back to a subsequent meeting providing details on how it would be facilitated, resourced and managed.


            An update report was brought to the Disability Working Group in February 2023, summarising the motion and the proposed approach.  A Changing Places Toilet Policy officer working group has met regularly over the past few months and their input has helped inform the various factors which the policy must consider including how it will be facilitated, resourced and managed.


            A further update was brought to the Disability Working Group on 10th October, which endorsed the draft Policy and recommended that it be brought back to this Committee for approval.


3.2       Draft Policy and Key Issues Arising


            The final draft policy being presented for Committee approval can be accessed. A summary of the policy is included below.




·        Members will note that the requirement to provide Changing Places Toilet (CPT) facilities in all large new builds of a certain size is enforced through the amended Building Regulations rather than through this policy. 

·        The policy restates this requirement but goes further by adding consideration of CPTs where we extend or refurbish existing buildings, even if the provision of CPTs were not required by the amended building regulations.


            Council Estate 


·        The policy, as drafted, would also commit the Council to carrying out a review of where CPT facilities could be installed on the council estate.


·        When reviewing the provision of any future CPT facilities within the Council estate we will consider the existing level of provision on the Council estate and also the availability of CPT facilities in non-Council assets.


·        Whilst cost alone will not be the deciding factor in any decision, the cost of installing any specific Changing Places facility will need to be carefully considered in conjunction with all of the other capital programme priorities identified by the Council.


·        The management and maintenance of any such CPT facility will need to be carefully considered when examining any proposal.  Following installation there will be ongoing costs associated with cleaning, checking and maintaining the equipment within the facility.




·        The draft policy extends to events and creates new requirements upon both the Council and external events organisers.


·        When organising public events, the Council will consider if it can take place at a venue that already has a Changing Places facility or will make reasonable adjustments to ensure that customers have access to either a fixed or portable Changing Places facility as part of the design of the event.


·        The Council will require external organisers of all large-scale public events (e.g. concerts, festivals) on council property to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that customers have access to either a fixed or portable Changing Places facility as part of the design of the event.


·        It will be a condition of hire that any large-scale event (whether it needs an entertainments licence or not) must have a Changing Places facility.  This should be included in the lease agreement between council and the event organiser.  It should also be a condition of hire that event organisers must complete the Planning Checklist at Section E of the Council’s ‘Inclusive Events Guide’ for review by the EDU team.


·        As a further step, we will consider the requirement to include an access audit within the Event Management Plan which is submitted in support of the event.  It would then be for the organiser to justify why they would not be required to include a CPT as part of their site set-up. An officer of the Council involved in management of the land for hire must ensure these steps are followed.


·        The Council when organising smaller public events, will encourage small scale events organisers to undertake an accessibility audit and provide a Changing Places facility where possible.


·        The Council’s ‘Inclusive Events Guide’ has been refreshed. The new Small Scale Events Checklist has been circulated to the Committee.





·        The Legal and Civic Services Department will be the corporate lead for this policy however actions will be required across different departments including Place and Economy and City and Neighbourhood Services. 


3.3       It is proposed that an application be made to the Department for Communities’ Access and Inclusion Programme in 24/25 to secure funding which could contribute towards the purchase of a mobile changing places unit which could be used at events. 


3.4       Financial and Resource Implications


            There are potential resource implications associated with this policy and its implementation may result in the need for future capital funding by Council.


3.5       Equality or Good Relations Implications/Rural Needs Implications


            A Changing Places Toilet Policy may have potential equality, good relations and rural needs implications and will be subject to our normal screening process as appropriate. 


3.6       The introduction of such a policy will present an opportunity for the council to promote positive attitudes towards disabled people and to encourage the participation of disabled people in public life.”


            The Committee adopted the recommendation to issue the draft policy for public consultation.


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