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Accessibility Inclusion Employment Plan- HTML Accessible version

Steps leading to a building, doors not wide enough for a wheelchair, lift buttons without braille, chairs that can’t be adjusted. These are some of the very obvious barriers that exclude people with disability from being part of the workforce. But there are other, less obvious barriers, including our own practices and processes. Life Without Barriers (LWB) has a strong reputation for its commitment to working with people in the community to help them live their life their way. This Accessibility, Inclusion and Employment Plan (AIEP) provides our employees and our customers with detail on what we will do to create an accessible and inclusive workplace.  

DEVELOPING THE PLAN

In our previous Accessibility Action Plan, we committed to projects and actions that improved access and inclusion for people with disability. We achieved outcomes including the formation of the Disability Services Advisory Council (DSAC), http://disability.lwb.org.au/ and the Disability Services Achievement Awards. Insights from our previous plan combined with consultation with our DSAC, have helped us co-design a contemporary Accessibility, Inclusion and Employment Plan. LWB also sought the advice and guidance of the Australian Network on Disability (AND), which shared its own expertise, experiences and knowledge from other organisations, to assist in the formation of our plan. We acknowledge and thank both DSAC and AND for their ongoing support. The activities and actions of this plan were informed with feedback from employees, Board Members, customers, and engagement with others outside of LWB.  

GOALS AND TARGETS 

This plan outlines the actions LWB will take over the next two years to improve the equitable inclusion and economic participation of people with disability. It includes our plans to ensure our culture is truly inclusive and respectful of people with disability. Our key goal is to increase employment of people with disability. In year one of the plan, our target is 4% of new appointments will be people with disability. This will increase to 10% in year two. This target will drive our commitment to proactively recruit people with disability into meaningful roles across the breadth of LWB.   

A MESSAGE FROM TERRY LAWLER – CHAIR OF THE BOARD 

Since our inception over 20 years ago, we have helped to change the lives of hundreds of thousands of people living in communities across Australia. We are rightly proud of our ongoing, consistent commitment to this vision; and we are equally proud to be broadening this work to ensuring no person is restricted from working with LWB because of a disability. As a leading service provider we take social responsibility seriously and want to demonstrate our leadership in access, inclusion and employment. Our name, Life Without Barriers, is a testament to our belief in accessibility, inclusion and employment, and our LWB plan itself brings that commitment to action. We aim to ensure people with disability have greater autonomy and independence in their lives, and recognise that this can be achieved by increasing their economic participation in the workforce. I commend this plan to you, and my best wishes and congratulations to all at LWB for your commitment to its implementation. 

A MESSAGE FROM GRAEME INNES AM– MEMBER OF THE BOARD

A key reason I joined the Board of LWB in 2014, is for the active role they play in the disability sector and partnering with people to change lives for the better.As much of my working career has focused on securing equal rights for people with disabilities, I believe this plan will help LWB identify how to strengthen its role to also become an employer of choice for people with disabilities.Something I am passionate about, and you may have heard me say this before, is the best way to help a person with disability is to give them a job. So for me, the highlight of this plan is the employment goal. LWB will need to engage a multi-pronged approach to achieve these goals in the two year timeframe, but the roadmap to get there is through implementation of the plan. I commend LWB for setting targets and publically sharing them. Changing the employment landscape for people with disabilities will facilitate overall benefits to the community and the economy, which flow from participation by the widest range of people. I challenge every member of LWB to expand their idea of what someone with disabilities CAN DO.

INTRODUCTION– CHIEF EXECUTIVE (CLAIRE ROBBS)

As a provider of services for people with disability, we understand the importance of empowering the individual to have choice, access to services and opportunity for greater independence and community participation. This plan will challenge LWB to consider access and inclusion in everything that we do.

The plan details the structured approach we will take to embrace our responsibility to keep improving how we interact with our customers, as well as proactively open up career opportunities for people with disabilities. Creating a culture that is welcoming and supportive of employees of all abilities will not only harness diversity of experience and perspective, but also provide us with greater insight into the needs of our customers with disabilities. This in turn will help us to better serve our customers and support them to achieve their full potential. 

We are grateful to the members of our Disability Services Advisory Council and the Australian Network on Disability for their recommendations, guidance and review of this plan. We look forward to their ongoing advice and support throughout its implementation. I ask that you take the time to review our Accessibility, Inclusion and Employment Plan and consider your role in bringing it to life. 

LIVING OUR VALUES

OUR VISION FOR ACCESSIBILITY

As a major provider of supports to people with disability across Australia, it is vital that as an organisation, we live our values. Our purpose is to partner with people to change lives for the better, and that includes increasing people’s independence through meaningful, well-paid employment.

OUR POSITION ON DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION 

At LWB we celebrate that each individual is unique. We respect and appreciate the differences of our employees and the customers we support, and are enriched by the diversity of their gender, sexual orientation / identity, age, ability, cultural and religious beliefs, perspectives, life experience and ideologies. Diversity encourages people to be true to their individual differences. Inclusion seeks to reject discrimination and break down barriers to access and participation. In simple terms, diversity is the mix, inclusion is getting the mix to work well together. Diversity and inclusion encompasses acceptance and respect, and reflects our values: 

RESPONSIVE – Listen and respond to the diverse needs of individuals

IMAGINATIVE – Be creative and open to new ways of breaking down barriers

COURAGEOUS – Support individuals to make their own decisions and choices

RESPECTFUL – Respect diversity and encourage acceptance

RELATIONSHIPS – Connect, understand and learn from difference.

We respect the rights of all people to make informed choices in their lives. Our employees will support our customers as necessary, to make these choices. We learn from, and are enriched by the diverse backgrounds, experiences and perspectives of our employees to deliver excellent individualised support to equally diverse communities. We encourage the diversity of thought and innovation which is brought by employees and those we support, and seek to leverage the richness of diversity to make a truly positive impact in people’s lives.

CREATING AN ACCESSIBLE AND INCLUSIVE WORKPLACE

This plan sets out our aims, actions, and outcomes for creating an environment that is supportive and increases opportunities for participation in our workforce by people with disability. Our three areas of focus are:

A. Employment and our people

We commit to ensuring our employees and managers are disability aware, and that our recruitment process and workplaces encourage and advance the employment of people with disability at LWB. 

B. Accessibility and our services 

LWB pledges to ensure our premises, digital platforms, and vehicles are accessible to people with disability, and that we seek advice from people with disability before making procurement decisions. 

C. Leadership and our partners 

Through leadership, local and corporate partnerships, development of public policy, and a co-design approach, LWB commits to improving accessibility and inclusion for all. 

OUR PLAN

Employment

A PERSONAL ACCOUNT – ANONYMOUS 

I am employed by Life Without Barriers (LWB) as a Case Manager in an Out-of-Home Care Team. I live with a hereditary condition, facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy, which is characterised by muscle weakness and wasting, which is gradually changing over time. At age 43, I’m still walking around unaided, though am experiencing more limitations with walking downhill, uphill and stairs.

I do fall over at times, which whilst embarrassing and frustrating, is becoming more worrying, as I can hurt myself and I don’t have the strength to stand up again unaided if I fall. My managers have been supportive in assisting me to ensure I don’t have to visit clients with stairs or steep driveways. I also try to stay from carer/ client outdoor activities due to my difficulties with navigating uneven ground.

Getting to and from events in unknown places, I get quite anxious about having to walk around, so sometimes I just avoid them. There is a lot for me to think about, and sometimes I feel concerned about the future. I foresee that I will need more support to work in the coming years, with things like parking, having a suitable fleet car that works for my individual needs and looking at the work hours I can manage. As an organisation, I think we need to consider people’s individual requirements, and their capacity for part-time work, as well as how the workplace can be adjusted to keep people involved in accordance with their interests, abilities and accounting for each person’s unique situation. 

I love my job, coming from my own background of being in state care as a teenager, I enjoy advocating for clients and working on their behalf to improve their lives. Like everyone, I worry about things – including my concerns outlined above – and how it will affect my employment in later years. Mentally, I need to be employed, as I wish to contribute to society and be a productive member of it. I look forward to seeing how LWB is growing and diversifying and what the organisation will be able to offer people like me in the future. 

EMPLOYMENT AND OUR PEOPLE

We are committed to increasing the number of people with disability employed by LWB. This will be achieved through the development of an accessible recruitment process, and making necessary workplace adjustments. We also commit to ensuring all of our employees are well informed and able to communicate on the issues of living with disability.

Table One

AIMACTIONTIMEFRAMERESPONSIBILITYMEASURESOUTCOMES
1. LWB has a barrier free recruitment process 1.1 Review all policies and procedures related to recruitment to include accessibility considerations December 2016 People, Safety and Culture
  • Policies and procedures include accessibility considerations and are available on intranet
  • Hiring Manager Guide to employing people with disabilities in the workplace accessible on intranet
  • 10% of hiring managers to complete the training
  • LWB is recognised as a competent and confident employer of people with disabilities.
  • LWB possesses competent and self-aware managers that practice and support our recruitment process the implements the principles of access and inclusion.
  • LWB possesses competent and self-aware managers that practice and support our recruitment process underpinned by our Principles of Access and Inclusion
1.2 Complete an accessibility audit of LWB recruitment processes to identify and rectify any unintended barriers for people with disability and remove as necessary June 2017 People, Safety and Culture
1.3 LWB employees to develop and implement training guidelines for selection panels and hiring managers to facilitate the development of a more inclusive and accessible recruitment process December 2017 People, Safety and Culture
1.4 Participate in the Disability Confident Recruiter Program June 2017 – December 2017 People, Safety and Culture Achieve the Australian Network on Disability (AND) – Disability Confident Recruiter Badge
2. A workplace adjustment policy and procedure is in place, and accessible to existing and potential employees at LWB 2.1 Develop a stand-alone Workplace Adjustment policy guideline and procedure December 2016 People, Safety and Culture Policy guideline and procedure are accessible on internet The policy guideline and procedure enable individuals and LWB make reasonable adjustments to the workplace
2.2 Develop an implementation plan for the roll out of the Workplace Adjustment policy guideline and procedure April 2017 People, Safety and Culture Roll out of implementation plan complete as per agreed timeframes
2.3 Include information on workplace adjustments and the resources available as part of induction June 2017 People, Safety and Culture Workplace Adjustment included in induction processes All new employees are aware of Workplace Adjustment policy guideline and resources
3. Programs and strategies are in place to increase the employment of people with disability within LWB 3.1 Participate in the “Stepping Into” paid internship program for undergraduates March 2017 People, Safety and Culture At least 3 interns who participate in the program to be based in Newcastle
  • Interns are provided with an opportunity to apply studies to work environments
  • “Stepping Into” Program is used as a test case for a national intern program
3.2 Participate in the NSW High Growth Jobs, Talented Candidates (HGJTC) program to identify growth roles and fill with people with disability June 2017 People, Safety and Culture The number of candidates presented to and employed by LWB continues to grow over the life of the HGJTC program
  • LWB is recognised as a competent and confident employer of people with disability.
  • Each year, the number of people employed with disability continues to grow
3.3 A recruitment target for people with disability
  • December 2017 
    (end of year 1)
  • December 2018 
    (end of year 2)
People, Safety and Culture
  • 4% of new appointments are people with disability
  • 10% of new appointments are people with disability
4. Workplace adjustments will include a Personal Emergency 4.1 Review the current PEEP template and inform managers March 2017 Corporate Services PEEP Plan template is available on intranet Managers are adequately skilled to provide assistance and information on the standards and processes relating to PEEP
4.2 Incorporate the updated PEEP into corporate induction March 2017 People, Safety and Culture
  • PEEP is included in induction process
  • 100% of new employees complete induction
LWB satisfies and meets the Australian Standard 3754 – Planning for emergencies in facilities guidelines
5. Learning and Development 5.1 Develop and implement Disability Awareness content into the corporate induction December 2016
  • People, Safety and Culture
  • Disability Reform
  • Disability Awareness section included in Induction processes
  • Disability awareness content is accessible for existing employees
All new employees are Disability Aware
5.2 Develop and implement Disability Awareness training for all LWB employees December 2018 People, Safety and Culture 80% employees access and complete training Development of training modules – available to all employees
6. Our employees provide feedback and contribute to developing an inclusive workplace 6.1 Develop an employee body that represents people with disability within the workplace, to regularly meet to discuss and mitigate accessibility and inclusion issues June 2017
  • People, Safety and Culture
  • Disability Reform
  • Employee body established and functioning.
  • Meetings occur periodically
Feedback is sought, received and integrated back into policy and procedure
6.2 Ensure LWB Employee Engagement Survey includes questions on access and inclusion December 2017 People, Safety and Culture
  • Access and inclusion and adjustment questions incorporated into LWB Employee Engagement Survey (2017)
  • Survey response indicate that at least 70% of employees are aware of LWB principles for access and inclusion
  • LWB employees with disability feel included and welcome
  • LWB employees are aware of and implement our principles of access and inclusion

ACCESSIBILITY

FROM MY PERSPECTIVE – BY DEBBIE BROOKS

Having been at Life Without Barriers (LWB) for 15 years in total. I love what I do as a Supporter of Carers in the Out of Home Care Team. Family is extremely important to me and I am part of a busy household, including my children, step-children, and all the people I care for. LWB is my other extended family. People are sometimes surprised when I say that I was married with my first child when realised I had a diagnosis of dyslexia. I had often struggled at school, I understood everything, but found it hard to get my thoughts on paper.

Equally sometimes my comprehension takes longer than others and sometimes I mispronounce words. My kids affectionately call it “mum-talk”. I wanted to share some insight and history into my dyslexia. I have great difficulty with spelling, reading and typing on a keyboard. I also find a lot of words difficult to pronounce and my comprehension and grammar can be slow and repetitive. As an adult, although I have adapted to my abilities, I value the support I have in my workplace. My direct manager assists me by helping with interpreting and explaining questions, and providing feedback on my written material. Everyone else is not always so tolerant.

I now have a quieter working area that is freer from distractions so I can concentrate on the task at hand. My work can be slow and I may need to read what I have written over and over again to make sure it makes sense as I have a dissociation from the key pad to the screen. In short I do get there in the end – I just take the very long way round. Over the years, one of the most difficult issues was managers not understanding the impact that dyslexia has on my work. Because of this, I constantly felt judged on my work quality e.g. spelling and unrealistic time frames.

I feel some target training for managers around an individual’s disability would be useful so the person feels empowered and supported in their workplace. I am now at the Maitland office and have a pen that converts writing into text which was purchased for me a few years ago. I call it my magic pen, it has helped me enormously. I don’t use it as much now but it helped me a lot. I am at a desk away from the main area of the floor this also helps a lot with my concentration levels. There are always other ideas for doing things differently and I hope the organisation is open to that. As an example, working from home to type up work would be a great help especially when I have carer reviews to do as this requires all my concentration to complete. I am happy to share my story and hope it helps someone in the future so they don’t endure what I went through in the early stages in my career trying to get people to understand and support me. I always say we should be more understanding – there may be reasons for people to be slower to do things, but there is always a way. 

ACCESSIBILITY AND OUR SERVICES

LWB is committed to ensuring our premises, digital platforms, and vehicles are accessible to all people with disability. In addition, LWB has pledged to ensure that throughout the procurement process, people with disability are considered and included.

Table Two

AIMACTIONTIMEFRAMERESPONSIBILITYMEASURESOUTCOMES
7. LWB premises are accessible to customers, employees and visitors 7.1 Develop a set of criteria that LWB can implement to ensure that all future premises are accessible December 2016 Corporate Services
  • Building Accessibility Criteria / Audit available on intranet
  • LWB adheres to the Disability (Access to premises-buildings) standards
  • 100% of all new premises assessed against criteria
All customers, employees and visitors can access LWB premises
7.2 As required, complete and develop an Improvement Plan for specific premises to remove barriers to access and inclusion Period of the plan Corporate Services Improvement Plans created and actioned as required – based on results of Building Accessibility criteria / audit All customers, employees and visitors can access LWB premises
8. Accessibility is a key feature of all events and communications at LWB 8.1 Revise all LWB templates to include accessibility requirements and guidelines on how to develop accessible documentation December 2016 Strategy and Engagement 100% of templates to include accessibility requirements Website and Intranet publications are accessible to everyone
8.2 Develop a set of LWB practice standards that ensure all new videos and audio materials are captioned to WCAG 2.0 standard January 2017 Strategy and Engagement All new videos, and audio material meet the minimal requirements set by the practice standards document All new videos and audio materials displayed within LWB meet the WCAG 20 standard as outlined in the LWB practice standards document
8.3 Create and promote an ‘event checklist’ with accessibility requirements March 2017 Strategy and Engagement Event Accessibility Checklist available on intranet All LWB events meet and satisfy accessibility requirements
8.4 Develop materials to assist in the creation of documentation in alternate formats, including Easy English June 2017 Strategy and Engagement
  • Request for accessible (format) documents available on intranet
  • Establish location on intranet where ‘accessible’ version of documents can be accessed
Accessible documents are available and meet industry standards for accessible information
9. LWB digital platforms are accessible 9.1 Undertake a Digital Accessibility and Maturity Assessment (DAMA) to identify any barriers in digital accessibility December 2016 Strategy and Engagement LWB undertakes DAMA LWB has completed the DAMA
9.2 Develop a policy and guidelines for accessibility requirements for website and intranet content developers December 2016 Strategy and Engagement Policy Guideline and procedures are available on intranet Our website shares content in a number of accessible formats
9.3 Plan and implement recommendations derived from the DAMA June 2017 Strategy and Engagement Recommendations are developed and implemented, as per agreed timeframes
  • LWB’s digital framework upholds the values and guidelines stipulated in DAMA
  • LWB complies with the digital accessibility standards
9.4 Maintain WCAG 2.0 AA standard on the website July 2017 Strategy and Engagement Complete bi-annual accessibility checks LWB sustains WCAG “AA” standard
10. Services across LWB are accessible and inclusive 10.1 Design and implement a framework which identifies training required by specific roles across the business, to better deliver inclusive and accessible services for people with disability June 2018
  • People, Safety and Culture
  • Disability Reform
This framework is identified for roles across all of our services (e.g. Child and family services, immigration, aged care) Employees in non-disability program areas are confident and competent to work with customers with disability in their service
10.2 Develop and implement training solutions for specific roles December 2018
  • People, Safety and Culture
  • Disability Reform
  • Training solutions are available and accessible to relevant employees
  • 70% of employees in specific roles have completed training
11. Accessibility is considered in procurement policy and decisions 11.1 LWB prefers to engage with suppliers that support people with disability, where appropriate December 2016 Corporate Services Include on preferred suppliers list – suppliers that support people with disability LWB supports suppliers that support people with disability
11.2 Develop a best practice guide for employees to ensure that accessibility is considered in procurement decisions including hardware and software, and assistive technology across the business March 2017 Corporate Services
  • Guide for Procurement (Accessibility & Inclusion) available on intranet
  • Guidelines for purchase of Assistive technology is available on the intranet
Employees and managers are aware of and use guidelines for procurement related decisions
12. Our fleet is accessible to employees and customers 12.1 Implement a process to request adjustments for employees and customers using fleet vehicles December 2016 Corporate Services
  • Guidelines and process to request vehicle adjustments available on intranet
  • As required, LWB vehicles are adjusted to meet the accessibility and inclusion needs of our employees and customers
Vehicles are adjusted to be accessible for employees with disability
12.2 Plan for and provide accessible vehicles to meet the needs of our employees and customers December 2016 Corporate Services As required – LWB vehicles are adjusted to meet the accessibility and inclusion needs of our customers Vehicles are adjusted to accommodate customers with disability

 

LEADERSHIP

THE HUB – CHANGING AND GUIDING YOUNG LIVES, ONE AT A TIME

Our purpose is to partner with people to change lives for the better – and the LWB Hub program exemplifies this. In August 2015, a grassroots idea led to the creation of a program for young men with disability. It was co-designed by the men themselves and LWB employees – and is called The Hub. A key strength of The Hub is the mentor system.

The Hub isn’t staffed by disability staff workers who ‘do’ for the clients, instead the men come together in the space to support and mentor each other.

The need to support each individual to grow in confidence and build on their abilities by creating a non-traditional and flexible service was identified in the early days of establishing the program. Each young person identifies their goals and aspirations and LWB ensure the program reflects and responds to their needs and wishes. On joining, they are matched with a mentor and welcomed into an existing social group. The Hub is helping these young men take a bigger role in their local community, take up education, volunteering roles, and recreation. 

It also offers an opportunity to meet and make friends. “Many of these young men are for the first time in their lives enjoying true mateship, and it’s so great to be part of their journey and making a contribution to their futures and overall happiness,” said Melinda Ferrier, Operations Manager. The group started from small beginnings and has grown quickly. It now provides support for 24 young men with disability several days each week. 

LEADERSHIP AND OUR PARTNERS

These actions demonstrate LWB’s commitment to improve the accessibility and inclusion of customers through our leadership, local and corporate partnerships, development of public policy, and co-design approach.

Table Three

AIMACTIONTIMEFRAMERESPONSIBILITYMEASURESOUTCOMES
13. LWB is led by our Principles for Access and Inclusion which demonstrate our commitment to promote the abilities, strengths and diversity of people with disability 13.1 Develop guiding principles to set the framework for communication and messaging both internally and externally March 2017 Strategy and Engagement Guidelines available on Intranet Principles are implemented
13.2 Communicate and raise awareness across LWB to celebrate and acknowledge the achievements of people with disability Ongoing Strategy and Engagement
  • Continuous communication of achievements across all parts of the organisation.
  • Customer stories used, as appropriate, to promote good practice
  • Awareness of access and inclusion is raised
  • Where possible, integrate promotion of achievements into existing awards or activities
14. LWB is a leader in the disability sector, driving innovation and public policy to benefit people with disability 14.1 Develop and articulate a position for contributing to public policy on employment and economic participation through conferences, submissions, research and our practice Commence 2017 Social Innovation & Strategy & Engagement Prepare for and /or deliver at least 2 research submissions or conference presentations, per year
  • Feedback is openly received by submissions, research and conferences
  • LWB position contributes to public policy
14.2 Conduct ‘Ideas Without Barriers’ roundtables for partners and key stakeholders to engage discussion and thought leadership Bi-annually Strategy and Engagement & Social Innovation
  • Conduct bi-annually
  • At least ‘10’ partners / stakeholders (excluding LWB) attend roundtables
  • Up to 25% of participants in attendance at the roundtable events are people with disability
Roundtables:
  • actively address, discuss and mitigate issues of concern
  • increase participation and awareness
  • agree and develop actionable outcomes from each meeting
15. Develop, and maintain strong partnerships to further social capital 15.1 Develop a strategy for local and corporate partnerships that increase economic participation for customers December 2017 Strategy and Engagement Strategy established LWB ready to engage potential partners locally and nationally
16. Co-design and seek feedback and advice from our customers and others about access and inclusion 16.1 Establish a co-design approach with customers, disability groups and other stakeholders for our policies and services July 2017 Disability Reform People with disability and other groups participate in a comprehensive co-design approach Policy and programs are redeveloped to meet the needs and satisfaction of people with disability
16.2 Undertake annual research with our customers to understand our effectiveness in achieving positive outcomes Annually Disability Reform & Customer Experience
  • By July 2018, minimum of 2
  • 5% of our customers have participated in the research
LWB can demonstrate that it uses feedback on customer outcomes to review/enhance the provision of disability support
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