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Disability equality e-learning for the House of Commons

18 March 2013

Disability Rights UK and Wideaware Training are proud to announce that the House of Commons will launch their e-learning tool on disability equality today, Monday 18 March 2013

This tool, which can be accessed by parliamentarians, their staff, and staff of the House of Commons, sets out to enable everyone in the Parliamentary estate and in constituencies to interact effectively, and with confidence, with people with lived experience of disability or health conditions. That includes disabled constituents, elected members, peers, visitors and more.

Liz Sayce OBE, Chief Executive of Disability Rights UK, says:

“We are disabled people leading change – and we work to mobilise disabled people’s leadership in all parts of society. This includes full and equal participation in democratic institutions. As part of this it is vital that democratic institutions are accessible and inclusive of people with lived experience of disability or health conditions. Only in this way we will create the engagement that is necessary to ensure that our elected representatives can speak on our behalf and encourage disabled people to stand for elected office. We are very pleased to be working with Wideaware, a disabled-led organisation like ours, and deliver a practical resource to support the House of Commons to realise their aim of achieving equality for all. We are also grateful to the Office for Disability Issues for their support with the initial development of the e-learning tool.”

Maria Zedda, Managing Director of Wideaware Training says:

“We are incredibly proud of this opportunity to collaborate with Disability Rights UK and the House of Commons Diversity and Inclusion team. As a disabled-led business we were keen to make the most of this collaboration and ensure the House of Commons benefits from an invaluable in-house resource that will help them in their efforts to engage with all members of the electorate. We all worked very hard to ensure training activities and information were relevant and practical, and we feel that the e-learning tool is exemplary in its scope and accessibility features.”

The e-learning has been developed by Wideaware, a consultancy specialising in disability equality training and e-learning, in partnership with Disability Rights UK, with partners in the House of Commons Diversity and Inclusion team, Learning and Development and PICT, and with support from the Office for Disability Issues for the initial development.  The project is indebted to the ParliAble members in both Houses, many of whom gave up time to test the product. ParliAble is the workplace equality network dealing with disability issues on the Parliamentary estate.

For information cont

  1. Maria Zedda, Managing Director at Wideaware, 0131 608 0006, mzedda@wideaware.co.uk
  2. Marije Davidson, Disability Rights UK Policy and Research Manager, marije.davidson@disabilityrightsuk.org, 07880 921743 (SMS only please, with details how to contact you)

Editor’s notes

[1] Disabled people often face extra costs when they stand for election. The Access to Elected Office Fund helps to pay for additional disability-related costs that you might incur as part of standing for election. The fund offers individual grants of between £250 and £20,000 to disabled people who want to be selected as candidates for an election, or who are standing for election.

You can apply for money from the fund if you:

-         are eligible to stand in an election covered by the fund

-         are disabled

-         can show that you have been involved in or are interested in politics or in civic, community or other relevant activities

You can find out more by visiting the Access to Elected Office Fund website.

[2] The e-learning tool consists of three areas:

-         Disabled visitors to the Houses of Parliament and constituency offices: participants will be able to interact with a number of characters with specific disabilities, and have a go at working out how best to interact with them in certain scenarios.  Tips and guidance are provided on the learning journey.

-         Guidance: this area provides a wealth of information on understanding disability, access barriers, the Equality Act 2010, reasonable adjustments, invisible disabilities, meeting deaf visitors, wheelchair users, visually impaired visitors, people with mental health problems, what to say and what not to say, discrimination, handling complaints, and much more.

-         Resources: this area encapsulates, in one place, all the disability information-related links on both the parliamentary intranet and external website, and also has a checklist for arranging fully accessible events.

[3] Disability Rights UK is a national pan-disability organisation, led, run and controlled by disabled people, with disabled people making up at least three-quarters of its board members. We work to create a society where everyone with lived experience of disability or health conditions can participate equally as full citizens. We provide expert advice, training and expertise on how to improve your services, employee wellbeing and productivity as well as training services for professional advice workers.disabilityrightsuk.org

[4] Wideaware is a disabled-led social enterprise that works to promote equality and the inclusion of disabled people in society by offering support, in the form of training and advice, to organisations that also share these goals. We help by providing disability equality training, e-learning, and a range of access consultancy services, so that everyone in the organisation is ready to deliver an equal service to all customers. www.wideaware.co.uk