Case for Accessibility - Excellence through Accessibility Award
The case for making our society more accessible is a compelling one on many fronts. It is not only an issue of justice but it makes good business and social sense. Here are 8 reasons why it makes sense to make your service accessible.
1. Equality and Quality:
Removing barriers promotes equality and makes life easier and safer for everyone and that includes people with disabilities, older people and the young. Accessibility also enhances the quality of services provided for all sections of society.
2. Not a Minority Issue:
Accessibility affects us all directly. It is not a minority issue. The last population census showed that 8.3% of the population had significant disabilities. But most of us will experience some form of disability – even on a temporary basis - at some point in our lives. In fact, at any time, one in five Irish people will experience difficulties in getting around. The figure is going to increase with Ireland’s aging population. Life expectancy is also increasing. Someone born today can expect to live, on average, 30 years longer than their great grandparents.
3. Customer Care:
Providing information and services in a user-friendly way that responds to the needs of people with disabilities will increase customer satisfaction with the Department or Agency. A Department or Agency that understands the diverse needs of its customers will provide a better quality of service to its clients.
The cost of making services accessible is not as large as it often assumed. Many accommodations cost little or nothing. It is certainly more cost-effective to provide for accessibility at the design stage and once off costs associated with change are often recovered in the form of:
- More effective outreach to customers;
- Low accident rates;
- Improved staff morale;
- New business generated.
5. More Effective Outreach:
An accessible service enables more people with a disability to enter the premises and/or use the services.
6. Staff Retention:
A more accessible environment increases the pool of potential new workers that an employer can tap into. It also helps organisations retain existing employees who may acquire a disability. What’s more, higher staff satisfaction will also lead to improved productivity.
7. A Model for Best Practice:
The implementation of these guidelines could provide a model for service providers in the private and non-statutory sectors.
Better access will not only improve customer and staff satisfaction but it will improve public recognition of the Department or Agency and include the consequential benefits of such recognition.