Innovative Policy 2014 on Accessibility

Public-private partnership for accessibility

In Spain, the world’s biggest public-private partnership between the government and civil society concerning universal accessibility has been established, enabling not only millions of Euros of investment but a continuous flow of information and expertise between all stakeholders.

Framework Agreement between the Institute of the Elderly and Social Services and Fundacion ONCE
Country of origin Spain
Beneficiaries targetedAll, including people with disabilities
Responsible bodyMinistry of Health, Social Policy and Equality
StakeholdersPublic and private sector (equality departments, foundations, public and non-profit entities)


The Framework Agreement between the Institute of the Elderly and Social Services (IMSERSO), under the Ministry of Health, Social Policy and Equality, and Fundación ONCE for the Cooperation and Social Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities is the biggest public-private partnership concerning ‘design for all’ in the world. Its purpose is to develop a programme of universal accessibility. The public-private dimension makes it especially transferable to other countries.


In 1990, Spanish municipalities and provinces defined basic criteria for the improvement of accessibility and liveability in urban spaces. In 2003, Spain adopted the Law of Equal Opportunities, Non-Discrimination and Universal Access for Persons with Disabilities, which marked a definitive shift in disability policy towards a human rights perspective. The law’s crosscutting goal of universal accessibility led to the launch of the National Action Plan on Accessibility, 2004-2011. Subsequently, almost all subsidiary legislation included a clear focus on accessibility requirements. The two partners of the presently described Framework Agreement, the Institute of the Elderly and Social Services and Fundación ONCE have cooperated for the past 22 years and invested €167 million benefitting more than 800 beneficiary municipalities. Among Europe’s foundations, Fundación ONCE is the most active in the field of disability and accessibility.

Avila's accessible city wall - a project of the public-private partnership © City Council of Avila

Avila’s accessible city wall – a project of the public-private partnership © City Council of Avila


Universal design
Anticipating the needs of all persons, not only of persons with disabilities, universal accessibility is defined as the condition to be fulfilled by environments, products and services in order for them to be understandable, usable and functional for all persons.

Multi-stakeholder approach
Financial and technical support was available to manifold stakeholders, including public authorities, universities and non-profit entities.

Monitoring & Reporting
Fundación ONCE draws up a suitability report evaluating each project. It then issues a quality evaluation report, which is necessary to receive funding.


  • In 2011, 124 projects were implemented, with 120 beneficiary municipalities and a €4.7 million investment.
  • The largest public-private partnership in the world concerning universal accessibility and design for all.

«This public-private partnership is the reason why Spanish municipalities are now at the forefront when it comes to universal accessibility.»

Jesús Hernández-Galán, Fundación ONCE, Spain


The Framework Agreement lays out the respective financial contributions of the Institute of the Elderly and Social Services and Fundación ONCE, and allows both partners to sign collaboration agreements with other public and non-profit entities. These collaboration agreements need to state the objective, budget, responsibilities, and compliance requisites. The aforementioned entities can apply for funding and technical support in five different action lines:
• Performance appraisal and planning for accessibility, including a Universal Accessibility Plan and a study and project to improve accessibility
• Corrective actions to achieve accessibility, including performance in the planning and building, as well as operations on environments, services and ICT-based systems
• Precautionary actions or implementation of access management systems, including the implementation of a access management system according to UNE 170001 and/or for webpages or software
• Actions to enhance the transport service of accessible taxis
• Awareness raising, training and innovation, including support for the innovation of Design for All persons; orientation measures for digital alphabetisation; actions of training.


For the assessment, resolution and decision-making, a commission comprising four representatives from IMSERSO and three from Fundación ONCE was established. It defines objectives and priorities for the selection of projects, decides on the scale of the projects, finalises approved projects, and
clarifies any queries about implementation. The administration of expenditures is done by IMSERSO, while Fundación ONCE is charged with the technical evaluation. Its Accessibility Office draws up a suitability report that evaluates the project and issues the quality evaluation report, necessary to receive funding. In the case of non-compliance, the other party may suspend the contract.


Due to the current economic situation in Spain, the Institute of the Elderly and Social Services is subject to budget cuts and it is unclear whether a follow-up agreement will be established.


Fundación ONCE, C/Sebastián Herrera 15, 28012 Madrid, Spain
+34 91 506 8873


IMSERSO about the Framework Agreement with Fundación ONCE:

Nominated by: Mr. Carlos SANCHEZ MARTIN, Fundación ONCE, Spain