Supporting access to services

We recognise that for our services to reach the whole community we must make sure we take account of the needs of individuals.

Across the Council we take steps to support access to our services.

  • Written materials are simplified and efforts are made to remove jargon and technical language, so that as many of our customers as possible can understand the information that we provide.
  • We make sure that the documents, flyers and written materials we release include information on how to contact us so that we can answer any questions you may have. 
  • We use clear signage in our buildings to help people get about.
  • Staff are trained to greet you appropriately and take account of your needs when supporting you. 
  • All of our buildings welcome assistance animals and accommodate their needs where appropriate. 
  • Our safety and evacuation procedures for all buildings take account of the needs of visitors to make sure that they are safe at all times. 

These are some of the things that we do to make sure that you can access our services easily, fairly and safely. 

We also support people to use our services based on their specific needs.

We provide:

  • Access to interpreters - face to face and remote
    • All of our services are able to call on professional British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters with prior notice. Other sign languages or tactile communication techniques are also available. Arrangements can be made by contacting the service that you need with details of your request and how they can contact you.
      They will make arrangements and let you know by email, text or a text call, whichever you prefer. 
      Our current preference is for remote appointments, due to Covid restrictions. 
       
  • Relay UK (previously known as Next Generation Text Services)
    • We are able to receive calls through Relay UK phone operators, whether you are using a text phone or mobile apps our staff members are able to accommodate your preferences. 
       
  • Website access
    • Ours websites are compliant with current legislation. For example the recordings that we make are close caption compatible so that it is possible to read along with the pictures. Sometimes we team up with community partners to produce British Sign Language videos. 
       
  • Induction loops 
    • All of our reception areas have hearing loops and our staff are trained in their use. We also have induction loops in some of our meeting spaces and we use portable devices when appropriate. 

We provide:

  • Access to alternative formats including large print, tactile and audio formats for print materials
    • All of our printed information can be converted to a format that is appropriate to your needs on request.
      We are also able to read information to you and answer your questions if that is more appropriate. 
       
  • Contrast considered in physical environments
    • During the design of our reception and public areas we have considered the colour contrast of materials to make sure that you are safe and able to identify features as you move about. 
       
  • Website access
    • Ours websites are compliant with current legislation. For example images on our website contain descriptive alternative text so that you can understand their content. Our website is compatible with major screen reading software and we also integrate the Browsealoud app to support individuals to access our website. 

We provide:

  • Designated accessible parking
    • All of our buildings and car parks have accessible parking spaces located for easy access to the building or exit. We ask that people who use the spaces display evidence of their need and, where necessary, take action against the small number of people who abuse this system.
       
  • Step free access to buildings
    • You can access the main entrance of our buildings without the need to use steps. We have ramps and inclines that comply with building regulations to ensure easy access. Our entrances also use automatic or assisted door opening.
       
  • Multi-level reception desks and open waiting spaces
    • Our reception and service desks are multi-level and are suitable for people using wheelchairs and mobility aids. Our waiting areas are open, airy spaces so as to not cause anxiety or stress and you can move freely around them. 
       
  • Internal lift access
    • All of our buildings have lift access across floors in public access areas.
    • Where our building floors have split levels we have also made sure that wheelchair accessible platform lifts are available.
       
  • Accessible toilets and changing spaces
    • All of our buildings have accessible toilets. We have also installed Changing Places at a number of popular publicly accessible locations such as Southwater One and The Place @ Oakengates. 

We provide:

  • Adapting information materials into easy read formats
    • We are able to supply documents in appropriate formats on request, although it may be more appropriate to support access to certain information through a discussion. 
       
  • Accommodating advocates and carers to support individuals
    • We welcome carers or advocates who attend a meeting or service to support you and will take reasonable steps to include them appropriately. With that in mind it is helpful to know in advance if they will be supporting you but it is not essential.
       
  • Operating an essential companion scheme when accessing our theatre.
    • This scheme allows someone to attend to support you to access the show or performance being held at The Place @ Oakengates. They are not charged for attending but we must know about your needs in advance, you can tell us when you book. When you register we will let you know more about the scheme or you can find out more by visiting The Place @ Oakengates essential companion page

We provide:

  • Access to interpreters - face to face and remote
    • All of our services are able to call on professional community language interpreters with prior notice.
      Appointments can be made by contacting the service that you need with details of your request and how they can contact you. They will make arrangements and let you know by email, text or a text call, whichever you prefer. 
      Our current preference is for remote appointments, due to Covid restrictions. 
       
  • Written materials translated on request 
    • Translation of written materials is not always the best way of conveying information but it is useful for confirming understanding of particularly complex information or for record keeping. It is commonly used to reinforce outcomes of sessions that involved interpretation. If you would like information translated into a community language, contact us to let us know. 
       
  • Online tools on our website to translate information into a range of different languages. 

Last updated: 25/05/2021 13:46