Headlines: February 7th, 2007

PUBLIC SECTOR GETS GUIDE TO BETTER INFORMATION FOR DISABLED PEOPLE

 

Public sector organisations are to get a new guide to improve the way they provide information to people with disabilities. The guide is in line with the key strategies in the Disability Discrimination Act, which include encouraging disabled people to play a part in public life.

The five-point guide has been produced by the Office for Disability Issues as a result of research which found that a third of people with disability had experienced difficulties in accessing goods and services, often because the way information was provided to them was not good enough. More than 10 million people have rights under the Disability Discrimination Act and they are seen as being more reliant on public services than other groups. The Act requires all public bodies to look at the impact on disabled people of everything they do.

The new guide outlines five principles for public services to produce better information for disabled people. They are to ensure disabled people are involved from the start of any process; the provision of information through a range of channels and formats; ensuring that information meets users’ needs; clear signposting of other services and always making it clear who is responsible for any information that is provided.

Launching the guide, the Minister for Disabled People, Anne McGuire, said good quality information was essential in helping all in the public sector to provide a quality service. “The ODI’s research shows that a lack of, or misleading information, can be an important factor preventing disabled people from getting services they need,” she said.