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Easy ways to make your engagement accessible

This resource gives you ways to make sure you include everyone and are prioritising accessible forms of engagement.

Reading Level: Advanced
Reading Time: 7 minutes

Providing an inclusive work environment includes making sure you are inclusive and accessible to all. This will ensure that everything you do includes everyone, allows everyone to be heard, and the outcomes are more representative.

Below we have shared some of the key tips to establishing accessible engagement processes for your organisation.

Making meetings interesting, productive, and open to all

First, it is important to consider whether your meeting should take place online or face to face as there are differences between online and face-to-face meetings. You can learn more about making this decision.

Of course, face-to-face will likely need more planning and thought. You should consider:

  • Budget
  • Time of day
  • Travel costs
  • Room booking (cost)
  • Accessibility of the building (not just the room)
  • Parking/transport links
  • Lunch/refreshments
  • Name badges,
  • Someone to show guests to the room (inc. latecomers)
  • Someone to welcome them in the room

A good way to think about it is as though you’re planning an event or a party – you want the event to go well and for everyone to be able to participate, get the best from it and enjoy it

  • Meeting Online

    You should still consider accessibility for online meetings. Ask people to let you know if they have any access requirements that they need to participate fully and enjoy the session.

    Make sure people have “joining instructions” in plenty of time and any documents/slides etc. in advance if they request them.

  • Meeting Timing

    We recommend that you arrive early, especially if the session is in person. Remember, you may need to set up the space for an in-person meeting or move furniture to make it accessible to all.

    If you are using a frequently used space, you may need to book the room for 30 mins either side of the meeting. Always check out the room in advance if possible. Does it have what you need, is it big enough, what is the layout?

    You can find more detailed advice on venues here.

  • Will you have interpretation?

    If you have hired British Sign Language Interpreters/Speech to Text Reporters (STTRs) and the meeting goes over one hour (regardless of online or in-person), they will either need a break (both BSL Interpreters and STTRs). Or they will require you to book two; they work in pairs and tend to take turns.

    This means that you may have to book two people for one session. It is best to check in with them individually. Often, they offer to help find a co-worker. They don’t all charge the same, but prices are similar.

    Do contact us for a list of providers we have booked for some of our events. Email us here.

Surveying opinion

When you put together surveys or questionnaires, you shouldn’t assume that everyone will prefer online or e-mail versions of the materials. Some may prefer physical copies or find it necessary to have a version.

You can learn more about Easy Read and how to commission Easy Read resources here.

You should always offer everyone the same options and let them decide which is the best “adjustment” for them. This allows the people you work with to feel empowered to engage with you.

If you are conducting your meeting online and want input from attendees, using the “live chat” options allows people to engage in a way that they are comfortable with. Often in meetings, some people may refrain from speaking up or sharing their views so as not to “interrupt”.

In this way, live chat can also be used if you are interviewing or meeting with a Disabled person plus their carer/support person/PA for example. Digital tools should enhance involvement rather than just replace more traditional methods.