Coronavirus crisis - RNIB NI urges public bodies to ensure important information is accessible for blind and partially sighted people

Post date: 
Monday, 30 March 2020

The need for accessible information has always been at the heart of RNIB campaigning in Northern Ireland. 

 

Now more than ever in this unprecedented public health emergency, making sure blind and partially sighted people can access quick-changing health information and advice is critical. 

It has come to our attention that aspects of communication being put out by some Government departments and businesses is not fully accessible, particularly for screen reader users.  

It seems that as information is being pulled together under pressure, it is not always going through the usual accessibility checks.  

Therefore it is essential, when accurate information is vital, that service providers, including public sector bodies in Northern Ireland, fulfil their duties under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, the Public Sector Disability Equality Duty and Section 75.  

In response to this issue we have put together a tailored guide with the key points to remind communications teams how to make sure everyone can access what they share.  

Our CEO Matt Stringer contacted the Disability Unit at the Cabinet Office in London, to offer RNIB’s resources and support. He asked them to champion the importance of accessible information across government and shared the tailored guide.  

The Cabinet Office shared the guide with their own communications teams and reassured RNIB that it is working across Government departments to make sure updates are accessible. 

We have also made a version of the guide for use in Northern Ireland and this will be sent out to the Northern Ireland Executive Departments and to the Public Health Agency as well as to other relevant public bodies and agencies here. 

We will carry on supporting the Health Service, Government, and businesses to make sure the information they share about public health advice is accessible throughout this difficult time. 

Notes to Editors: 

All media enquiries can be directed to Aideen Kennedy on 07565201178 or by email on: [email protected].