Please find the latest draft of the Document Accessibility Guide available for download at the end of this article.
What is the purpose of this guide?
At PPL, we want to ensure that the work we do and any key learnings are accessible to every individual that may find it beneficial, not limited to those within our team, but also including our clients and our wider network. We believe that everyone should have equal access to information and useful resources, regardless of any cognitive or sensory impairments, as well as any learning difficulties and disabilities.
Why is it important?
“People with disabilities are significantly more likely to experience unfair treatment at work than those without.”
- Disability facts and figures, Department for Works & Pensions and Office for Disability Issues, 16 January 2014
According to the Disability prevalence estimates (2011/12), there are currently over 11 million people living with long-term illness or disability in the UK. In the NHS workforce alone, according to NHS England and Improvement workforce disability data, there were almost 40,000 staff members with disabilities in 2018/19. Of these members of staff, 72.4% of Disabled staff felt that their employer had made adequate adjustments to enable them to carry out their work which means that just over a quarter of staff did not feel that this was the case. Disabled staff also reported feeling less valued by their organisation than non-disabled staff with 37.2% of disabled staff feeling valued compared to 47.9% of non-disabled staff.
Why might you need it?
As of 2018, public sector organisations were legally required to ensure that their documents met accessibility guidelines. These regulations built upon the already existing Equality Act (2010), ensuring that organisations always consider reasonable adjustments for people with disabilities.
The organisations legally obliged to meet these requirements include:
Central government and local government organisations
Certain charities and non-governmental organisations
For more information on who needs to meet document accessibility requirements and who is exempt, please visit Understanding accessibility requirements for public sector bodies - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
How will this guide help you?
Regardless of legal obligations, we believe all organisations should consider accessibility when producing any documents.
We understand that this is not an easy thing to do and have therefore created a guide to support you in doing so. Creating a document that is accessible is most easily done when it is done during the earlier stages of producing the document. We therefore encourage you to use this guide when planning the structure and content you would like to include in your document.
The guide includes a list of things to consider when creating a document that will be shared with others and some examples of how to make your text, document structure and diagrams easily readable and understandable.