Accessibility guide cover 2nd edition

About the accessibility charter

The Accessibility Charter and its programme of work across government agencies sits under The New Zealand Disability Action Plan, of which the vision is for “all New Zealanders to experience equal rights of citizenship”. For disabled people, realising their human rights is dependent on their access to information, services and products.

The purpose of the Accessibility Charter is to:

  • improve disabled people’s access to information provided by government agencies to the public
  • provide disabled people with a consistent experience when accessing government information
  • meet New Zealand’s international obligation under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

In 2017, as part of the New Zealand Disability Action Plan, the Accessibility Charter was developed by the Ministry of Social Development and the Disabled People’s Organisation’s (DPO) action lead, the Association of Blind Citizens of New Zealand (Blind Citizens NZ).

In July of that year, the State sector Chief Executives agreed to the content, which forms the Accessibility Charter.

What the Accessibility Charter says

“Public Sector Chief Executives are committed to working progressively over the next five years towards ensuring that all information intended for the public is accessible to everyone and that everyone can interact with our services in a way that meets their individual needs and promotes their independence and dignity. Accessibility is a high priority for all our work.

This means:

  • meeting the New Zealand Government Web Accessibility Standard and the Web Usability Standard, as already agreed, by 1 July 2017;
  • ensuring that our forms, correspondence, pamphlets, brochures and other means of interacting with the public are available in a range of accessible formats including electronic, New Zealand Sign Language, Easy Read, Braille, large print, audio, captioned and audio described videos, transcripts, and tools such as the Telephone Information Service;
  • compliance with accessibility standards and requirements as a high priority deliverable from vendors we deal with;
  • responding positively when our customers draw our attention to instances of inaccessibility in our information and processes and working to resolve the situation;
  • adopting a flexible approach to interacting with the public where an individual may not otherwise be able to carry out their business with full independence and dignity.

We will continue to actively champion accessibility within our leadership teams so that providing accessible information to the public is considered business as usual.”

Implementing the Accessibility Charter

The Accessibility Charter was launched in February 2018 at the State sector Chief Executive’s master class. To implement the intention of the Charter, the following 7-point process is recommended.

  1. Endorse your commitment
    The first step in the programme is for organisations to endorse their commitment to providing accessible information.

    To do this, the Chief Executive, and Communications and IT managers sign the Accessibility Charter, giving employees the mandate to work towards an accessible environment for their clients, and employees.
  2. Appoint a sponsor
    The Leadership Team appoint a sponsor. With sponsorship at a Senior Leadership level the work is visibly acknowledged, supported and accessible approaches demonstrate to employees and clients the commitment to including disabled people, both internally and externally.
  3. Appoint champions
    The IT, Communications and Human Resource (HR) teams each appoint a champion to support staff to up-skill and be a point of contact for queries.
  4. Develop the Action Plan
    The Action Plan can be developed from a gap analysis using the checklist for accessibility and inclusion in Appendix 1.
  5. Prioritise the projects
    A more detailed analysis will identify key projects to progress. This may include developing capability and engaging with the DPOs to find out what projects are of priority for their communities.
  6. Monitor progress
    To monitor your progress, develop regular reporting through the IT, Communications and HR champions to the leadership sponsor. Make sure that you incorporate user feedback in your reports.

    Each agency reports on progress to MSD every six months. The reporting on the Accessibility Charter is combined with the Lead Toolkit programme of work and Disability Data work programme, which is about employing and retaining disabled people in an accessible and inclusive way.
  7. Continuous quality improvement
    Use your reporting to identify further areas of improvement. You can also engage the DPOs for feedback on ways to improve accessibility within your agency.

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Accessibility guide cover 2nd edition
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