1. Government launch of eAccessibility Plan
Communications Minister Ed Vaizey and Maria Miller, the Minister for Disabled People, have launched the eAccessibility Plan, a detailed package of measures towards a more inclusive digital economy for disabled people. Proposals include promoting inclusive design, improving public websites, upgrading IT equipment and providing better online content. Key objectives are:
- Improving technology and digital equipment to suit the needs of those with disabilities and tackling issues of affordability and availability of equipment (television, radio, computer) and software (such as Braille embossers, light signallers and screen readers)
- Implementing a new regulatory framework to enable OFCOM to specify measures to ensure disabled people have equivalent choice and access to digital communications services as non-disabled consumers
- Improving the design of public sector websites
- Making previously inaccessible online and television content accessible, such as e-books for those with a visual impairment
- Promoting awareness of the issues facing disabled groups in the digital economy to achieve a more inclusive society
The plan will enable the UK to meet the European Union’s “Riga Declaration” (‘to ensure accessibility, affordability and equal participation for disabled users in the digital economy’) as well as EU directives on electronic communications networks and services. An appendix describes the range of assistive technology products which support e-accessibility. The plan will be implemented by the eAccessibility Forum, a group of over 60 experts from Government, industry and the voluntary sector, including AbilityNet. The announcement and plan are here.
2. EHRC triennial report
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is required to report to Parliament every three years on the progress that society is making in relation to equality, human rights and good relations.
According to the first triennial review, ‘How fair is Britain?’, key challenges include closing the gaps in qualifications and employment between disabled people and the rest of the population, reducing hate crimes and disability-related bullying, reducing the need for and cost of informal care, and increasing autonomy, choice and control for carers and those who receive care. The report is here.
3. ACOD NGA Research
ACOD’s NGA research continues to be promoted to relevant audiences.
Dr Jonathan Freeman – Managing Director – i2 media research limited spoke at the RAate conference on Monday 29th November 2010. RAate bills itself as the only UK conference focused on the latest innovations and developments in assistive technology. See his paper here: http://www.raate.org.uk/content/view-papers/441/
Jane Rumble and Damian Radcliffe will be presenting the findings at the University of Reading next month as part of the KT-EQUAL event looking at “Achieving and sustaining digital engagement”.
4. Older People
Nearly one in five people currently living in the UK will survive to celebrate their 100th birthday, according to government estimates. See: http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/news/uk-12091758
5. Disability – Frankie Boyle
Ofcom are investigating Channel 4 over the broadcast of programme by comedian Frankie Boyle programme where he made comments about Katie Price’s disabled son. This followed a complaint from Katie and also from viewers.
In addition, Ofcom has received a complaint from Rethink, the national mental health charity, relating to an episode of Frankie Boyle’s Tramadol Nights on Channel 4. The complaint is being assessed under the Broadcasting Code, in accordance with our procedures. Suffice to say, we take issues relating to discrimination on the grounds of disability, mental health, or learning difficulties very seriously.
6. Video Relay
www.vrstoday.com – is a campaign for universal provision of video relay services.
7. RNID launches Impact Report 2010
Every year RNID reports on the impact its work has had on the lives of people who are deaf or hard of hearing by filming people telling their own stories. The online video clips – with subtitles and BSL interpretation – showcase some of the main achievements from 2009/10.
For example, you can watch Michael and Jessica, who are profoundly deaf, talk about how the new emergency SMS service meant that their baby son was born safely.
The latest Impact Report is now live: you can watch the films and find out much more at www.rnid.org.uk/ukcod1
8. Learning Disabilities
The Office for Disability Issues notes that there are an estimated 1.5 million people with learning disabilities in the UK. In partnership with the Department of Health they have developed some new Easy Read guidance documents to explain how best to use Easy Read to reach all audiences.
Download the guidance, free, from here: Easy Read guidance and inclusive communications
9. Disability fund to be phased out
A fund supporting more than 21,000 people with severe disabilities is to be phased out by 2015, a minister says. Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/news/uk-11985568
10. Proposed socio-economic duty on public sector bodies dropped
The government is dropping the proposed socio-economic duty on public sector bodies, which would have required all public sector bodies to consider tackling wide socio-economic problems whenever taking an important decision.
More details on the BBC website. (17th Nov) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-11771302