Policy Equality policy and Strategy 2017-20

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8. Principle 3: Provide access to services, facilities and information

We aim to improve access to services, facilities and information where needed, and be honest about what we can and cannot do.

Make sure information is accessible :

  • Follow communication guidelines, in particular consider the needs of potential and existing customers (whether internal or external) and take steps to make information as accessible and easy-to-read as possible. Use plain English and follow guidance on contrast, typeface and colours to suit their own needs. Our corporate style guide gives the relevant guidance.
  • When publishing content on the intranet and internet sites, follow web-accessibility standards and, where possible, provide information in a way that can adapt to suit particular needs.

Provide alternative formats, translation and interpreters

  • Provide information in a different format on request if someone is unable to access the information they need in its original format (this can include providing information in large print, Braille, British Sign Language, audio and in other languages). The council reserves the right to provide the most cost effective alternative that does not compromise quality or professionalism.
  • The council also has a legal duty to anticipate reasonable adjustments for disabled people. Make information readily available in alternative formats where there is anticipated need.

Make sure meetings and events are easy to access:

  • When organising meetings or events make sure you know if delegates have any specific requirements such as diet, access or communication support. Accessible venues should be used where possible and must be used if someone has this need. An accessible venue will have, as a minimum, accessible toilet facilities and wheelchair access to rooms and hallways being used.
  • When food and drink is provided, identify and cater for special diets and make sure different food will be separated and labelled clearly
  • Take account of people’s ability to get to meetings such as cost, public transport links, disabled parking bays, gradients or steps around the building.

Monitor and review services:

Strategic Leads and managers should ensure that services are monitored and reviewed effectively to ensure they meet equality duties:

  • Carry out Equality Impact Assessments to check for any positive or negative impacts a service or policy may have on different people and communities, including their ability to access a service such as transport links and the provision of information
  • In line with the specific duties of the Equality Act 2010 publish information, carry out service monitoring where relevant, necessary, possible, appropriate and proportionate. Collecting personal data for diversity and equality monitoring purposes should be carried out on a voluntary and anonymous basis, in line with Data Protection law. The reasons for monitoring should be clearly stated alongside data protection rights to encourage a positive return rate. Staff should also be informed of the sensitivities of monitoring and why it is being carried out
  • Involve people, including minority and disadvantaged communities, as far as possible in the design, delivery, monitoring and prioritisation of services so their needs can be met in the best way. Engagement should be meaningful and effective, in line with Council strategy, policy and legal duties to consult.

Make application processes free of bias:

  • When designing or using forms that can be used for selection processes, remove questions which reveal someone’s personal attributes from application forms where possible (these can include name, age, date of birth, and gender), This will prevent unwitting stereotyping and prejudice when making decisions about individuals.