The year ahead for campaigning
A time to look forward
In 2022, there will be plenty of opportunities to campaign with us to create a society where sight loss is not a barrier to living life to the full.
Whether you are interested in supporting the rights of people to vote independently and in secret, making sure our streets are safe and accessible for everyone or pressing Government to ensure blind and partially sighted people can access more Video on Demand content, we have ways for you to get involved.
Elections Bill and voting
Nearly 150 years after the Ballot Act, which guarantees the right to vote in secret, the Government’s Elections Bill will, effectively, remove that right for blind and partially sighted people.
We continue to work with supportive MPs to build support for a proposed amendment to the Bill, which maintains the existing right of blind and partially sighted people to vote without any assistance.
All MPs will have an opportunity to vote on it at the next stage of the passage of the Bill in the House of Commons in the New Year.
If it’s not successful, we’ll then work with Peers to seek to make changes in the House of Lords. We will need your support in this to amplify our message that an independent vote is a fundamental part of our democracy and it’s essential this legal protection is maintained.
We’ll keep campaigning for accessible streets at a time when our streets are changing rapidly, with a rise in almost silent electric vehicles and the potential future roll out of even more rental e-scooter schemes across the country or the legalisation of privately owned e-scooters.
We’ve already provided top tips for how people can help in very simple ways, such as making sure wheelie bins are not left strewn across the pavement outside our houses, and a handy guide to help people understand what kind of accessibility features blind or partially sighted people rely on every day. Did you know that a pelican-controlled crossing – that’s a crossing with a traffic light – has a moving cone beneath the signal box that lets someone know when it is safe to cross the road?
We will be talking more to local authorities, architects, and town planners about how they can make sure any changes to our streets are accessible and we will need your help to convince them – so keep an eye out for more on this in the New Year.
VoD: watching what everyone is streaming!
Did you know that fewer than a fifth of Video on Demand service providers licenced by Ofcom offer audio description? This means that blind and partially sighted people are missing out on tons of great TV!
This January we will be launching a petition to urge the Government to use existing laws to make broadcasters provide more accessible content.
We will share the petition with you as soon as it opens!
Accessible health information
The NHS England Accessible Information Standard was introduced in England in August 2016 and should ensure that disabled patients receive health information in formats that they can read.
However, many blind and partially sighted people are still receiving information they are unable to read, despite the NHS Accessible Information Standard coming into effect five years ago.
NHS England has started a review into the Standard – set to be completed in 2022 – and we’ve gathered the experiences of blind and partially sighted people, and others through a survey run by one of our partners SignHealth, to help us inform and influence this review.
Look out for how you can get involved in the next steps of our work on this.
How you can stay involved
We’ll be sharing all our campaign actions, from petitions to quizzes and more, in our campaign enews, so keep reading them to stay updated.
You can follow us on Twitter to get links to the latest online actions and shareable content such as films @RNIB_Campaigns.
Join a local campaign or even start your own – get in touch with the regional campaign officer in your area or your national campaigns officer in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.
Thank you for everything you do, big or small. Together we can make a difference.