Parliamentary Service Achieves Gold!

Beehive and Parliament House Since being awarded a Silver Accessibility rating in 2014 Parliamentary Services have worked their way through a daunting list of accessibility recommendations to achieve Gold earlier this month- congratulations to the team at Parliamentary Services!
We asked Jim Robb, Group Manager for Precinct Services a few questions about the experience of embarking on accessibility journey for the team, and why he would recommend that others follow their lead. This is what he had to say.
In mid 2014 a Government Administration Committee raised the issue of accessibility issues across the parliamentary precinct and challenged the Parliamentary Service to undertake a thorough review, looking at disabled access through the lens of a range of disabilities. Once we opened our mind and looked ‘from the other side’ we saw there were a number of areas that could deliver a much improved experience for anyone with a disability.
Reflector strips on bollardsAs a result of the Be. Welcome assessment process we now consider all aspects of accessibility whenever we are planning events, planning changes to procedures, or undertaking changes to our buildings. Among the staff there is now a wider understanding of accessibility issues, and a much greater willingness for staff to voluntarily ask people if they need help. The awareness and willingness to help has made a huge step change.
Be. Accessible made the programme easy. It wasn’t so much about compliance, but about understanding and ‘looking from the other side’.
Tactile indicators inside library doorSome of the improvements that we are really proud of are hearing induction loops for the deaf, high visibility markings on glass doors and bollards, resting pads beside bench seats in the grounds so anyone pushing a wheelchair can rest, changing the font on our printed material, and an awareness that assistance dogs need access to toilets too!
The benefit in being accessible is in availing yourself to 100% of the community. Limiting engagement with the whole community is a lost opportunity, be that in a capacity as a visitor attraction or a business. There is a warm feel-good factor knowing our business is able to cater to almost all disabilities, something we are very proud of.