Disability Action Plan

The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission is committed to the elimination of discrimination against people with disabilities, and as a central part of this commitment, we have developed this Disability Action Plan. This Disability Action Plan reflects our obligations under the Disability Act 2006 (Vic) by:

  • reducing barriers to people with disabilities accessing the Commission’s goods, services and facilities
  • reducing barriers to people with disabilities obtaining and maintaining employment with the Commission
  • promoting inclusion and participation in the community of people with disabilities
  • achieving tangible changes in attitudes and practices, which discriminate against people with disabilities.

The Plan will also form part of the Commission’s overall strategy of meeting its obligations under the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic) including the duty under section 15 of the Act to take steps to prevent and eliminate discrimination.

Update May 2018

We have completed a report on our progress against this Disability Action Plan. This summarises our achievements and areas for potential improvement.

We remain committed to the priorities in this plan. An updated plan which sets out what we plan to address in 2018 can be downloaded from this page.

We are in the process of developing a new Disability Action Plan, with the assistance of the Commission's Disability Reference Group. We will use this to uphold our legal obligations and help implement our 2017–22 Strategic Plan, Upholding human rights close to home

Please contact us if you have any feedback, questions or suggestions. 

Download our 2018 progress report

Download Easy English versions of our Disability Plan

Progress on implementation

1. Implementing 2014 access audits

Ensure actions identified in the 2014 premises and communications access audit are completed

SUCCESS MEASURES STATUS COMMENTS
The Commission will gain and maintain SCOPE Communication Access Accreditation. Completed The Commission was awarded the Communication Access symbol by SCOPE in 2015 and successfully completed the first two- year review cycle. In 2016, this involved self-review checklists and ongoing staff training. In 2017, in addition to self-review and staff training, SCOPE undertook a re-assessment. The re-assessments were successful and the Commission maintains its accreditation. In 2018 the Commission commenced the new review cycle. Staff training has been delivered and the Commission is about to complete its self-review. During the period of this Disability Action Plan, the Commission has updated its communication access tools, established communication access training as part of staff induction processes and agreed an ongoing cycle of disability awareness training for staff. The Commission will continue to maintain its SCOPE communication access accreditation.
Positive feedback is received from service users, stakeholders and the Disability Reference Group (Disability Reference Group) on improved accessibility for people with disabilities. Completed New disabled parking and access ramps were installed at the front of the building on Lygon Street. The 204 Lygon Street Carpark has clearly-marked disabled carparks on each floor. Disability Reference Group meetings are now held on the ground floor to enable participants to exit the building in the event an evacuation is required. The Commission has installed an additional portable hearing loop at reception and purchased equipment to support SCOPE accreditation, such as communications boards and iPads. The Commission seeks ongoing feedback from the Disability Reference Group on the accessibility of its facilities.

2. Ensuring accessible information

Produce core Commission internal and external information materials in multiple formats.

Consult with DRG to develop criteria for determining and prioritising relevant information.

SUCCESS MEASURES STATUS COMMENTS
All core materials are available in appropriate formats. Completed Consultation with Disability Reference Group identified appropriate alternative formats. These have been produced for core materials. The Disability Action Plan has an introductory Auslan video from the Commissioner and is available in Rich Text Format and Easy English. All new materials are assessed for production in other formats.

3. Ensuring accessible events

Ensure that all external and internal events are accessible and that attendees' accessibility and support needs are met.

Consult with DRG to update checklist and feedback forms

SUCCESS MEASURES STATUS COMMENTS
Feedback from participants indicates they are confident that Commission events will meet their access needs. Completed All internal and external events are accessible. Following consultation with Disability Reference Group, a checklist and feedback form has been implemented and an accessibility evaluation is undertaken for all events.
Improved results in 2017 access audit. In progress The next Access Audit is scheduled for May 2018. Results from this audit will be considered as part of developing the new Disability Action Plan.

4. Inclusion in education services

Identify and implement effective practices, tools and aids to improve access for people with disabilities to our training and education programs.

Consult with disability organisations and other stakeholder groups on what adjustments would be effective.

SUCCESS MEASURES STATUS COMMENTS
More people with disabilities who participate in our programs report that their access needs have been met effectively. In progress Research standards for the Commission’s education work have been completed and discussed internally at the Commission’s Disability Working Group. The Commission will continue to advance this work. In relation to the Human Rights Charter Education project, full accessibility has been built into to the contract with the service provider for the online component. User testing with the Disability Reference Group is scheduled for end of May. The Commission has updated external training request forms to include questions specific to the needs of participants with disabilities and reasonable adjustments required to facilitate full participation in education programs. The Commission intends to properly audit its delivery methodology to ensure these practices are embedded across its suite of training programs, tools and aids. The Commission will also review its evaluation processes to properly capture experiences of people with disabilities who participate in training programs. These actions, along with further consultation with key stakeholders will be built into the new Disability Action Plan.

5. Access to dispute resolution services

Review enquiries and complaints data to June 2015 to identify if people with some forms of disability are less likely to use dispute resolution services.

Consult with the DRG about improving dispute resolution services.

SUCCESS MEASURES STATUS COMMENTS
More people with disabilities who were previously underrepresented using dispute resolution services. Completed The Commission analysed complainant demographics to identify people with particular disabilities who were not accessing dispute resolution. This showed that the disability types identified as less likely to use dispute resolution were intellectual, neurological and sensory. Senior representatives of the Dispute Resolution team attended the Disability Reference Group throughout 2014 - 2018 to provide data on enquiries and complaints relating to disability discrimination and receive any questions or feedback about the dispute resolution processes. The Commission has implemented a customer satisfaction survey has been implemented for all people participating in conciliation. To date the feedback provided has not identified barriers in relation to accessing dispute resolution. The Dispute Resolution team will continue to improve the survey to better identify ways to enhance services for clients with disabilities.

6. Participation in major projects

Incorporate an assessment of reasonable adjustments required for project and research methodologies to promote participation in these initiatives by people with disabilities. Work with the Communications Unit to assess and deliver communication requirements for all major projects in the Commission's business plan. Gather data on participation in Commission research by people with disabilities to use as a baseline to measure progress against.

SUCCESS MEASURES STATUS COMMENTS
People with disabilities know about and participate in all the Commission's major projects. In progress The Commission has incorporated consideration of reasonable adjustments that may be required for project and research methodologies into its project templates. The Policy and Research team consults with the Communications and Campaigns Branch when delivering communication on all major projects to obtain and implement advice on accessibility. The Commission has not yet set an overall baseline for the proportion of people with disabilities who engage in its research. Capacity permitting, the Commission plans to do this as part of a broader piece of work to revise and establish set processes for all projects and pieces of research, including on demographic data obtained from participants.

7. Access to employment at the Commission

Consult on and implement best practice recruitment guidelines aimed at ensuring genuine employment opportunities for people with disabilities at the Commission, including having adjustments and resources in place when a person with a disability commences employment.

SUCCESS MEASURES STATUS COMMENTS
The percentage of staff disclosing their disability increases and they report that they have the resources needed to do their job. In progress The Commission advertises its external vacancies through Careers.Vic, seek.com and ethicaljobs.com.au. Its job advertisements strongly encourage people from diverse backgrounds and people with a disability to apply. The Commission has responded to the needs of new staff or existing staff where they have disclosed a disability or a requirement for reasonable adjustment. As of February 2018, 2 staff members (3.1% of current staff) report they have formally disclosed a disability. The Commission continues to work on recruitment strategies to encourage people with disabilities to apply for positions. This will be a key priority of the new Disability Action Plan.

8. Improving staff capacity

Support staff to reflect on and improve their work with people with disabilities through ongoing professional development, including skills based training as appropriate for their role, and disability awareness training for all staff.

SUCCESS MEASURES STATUS COMMENTS
Results of survey (see action 11) show an improvement in confidence and a positive change in practice. Completed The Commission continues to provide regular disability awareness and communication access training for all staff and specific training for staff depending on their role, such as training in the use of communication access tools for staff in reception and other client-facing roles. An internal survey was rolled out in early 2018 which showed that 80% of staff feel participating in training at the Commission has led to an improved level of confidence in interacting with and working with people with a disability. 80% of staff also considered that participation in the training prompted a positive change in their practice interacting with people with a disabilities.
Improved results in 2017 access audit. In progress The next Access Audit is scheduled for May 2018. Results from this audit will be considered as part of developing the new Disability Action Plan.

9. Inclusive work environment

Senior Managers will undertake training and professional development on effectove support and strategies to improve the retention and career development of employees with disabilities.

SUCCESS MEASURES STATUS COMMENTS
Senior managers complete training. Completed A new leadership team for the Commission commenced in January 2017. Awareness and communication access training was rolled out to managers and staff during 2017 and further training was provided early on 2018. The Commission will continue to provide regular all-staff disability awareness and communication access training, as well as focus on specific training for managers in relation to improving the retention and career development of employees with disabilities.
Knowledge gained through training is used to make changes in practice that lead to more employees with disabilities developing their careers through their work at the Commission. In progress Strategies to support the recruitment and retention of people with a disability, including specific training for managers will be a focus of the new Disability Action Plan.

10. Reasonable adjustments

Make adjustments available to employees with a range of disabilities to enable them to do their job and participate in Commission activities, including making changes to online and other learning modules, meeting practices and facilities and Commission events.

SUCCESS MEASURES STATUS COMMENTS
Employees with a range of disabilities can fully participate in the working and social life of the Commission, regardless of the nature of their disability. Completed The Commission provides reasonable adjustments and resources to staff, including implementing recommendations from ergonomic assessments, providing specific equipment, adjusting desk heights and purchasing specific hardware and software. The Commission has installed a sensor on its reception door to enable it to open automatically from the Commission’s side and has installed automation mechanisms to internal secure doors with remote control activation for staff. Results from the employee survey showed all staff with a disability feel they can fully participate in the working and social life of the Commission from a moderate to very great extent, regardless of the nature of the disability. The Commission continues to select function venues with disability access and facilities.

11. Getting feedback

Implement a Diversity and Flexibility survey that can be held every two years to obtain information and staff attitudes and understanding of disability discrimination issues, including barriers and best practice in employment and management practices at the Commission.

SUCCESS MEASURES STATUS COMMENTS
Results of the survey are used to track learning and development needs for staff and to improve management and employment practices at the Commission. Completed An internal employee survey was conducted early in 2018. This showed that 71.4% of respondents had attended training on disability awareness or accessible communication, and staff had suggestions for improving management and recruitment strategies, including a place where staff could rest, sharing experiences of staff with disabilities, more diversity in recruitment processes and more support for mental health. The Commission will use these results as a benchmark for future surveys and will consider them in planning for staff needs and improvements to management practices.

12. Disability Reference Group

The Commissioner will seek advice and feedback from the Disability Reference Group on strategies to promote greater inclusion and participation in the community.

The Strategic Projects and Policy unit will enable the active participation of all members of the DRG in this role.

SUCCESS MEASURES STATUS COMMENTS
Feedback from DRG members that the Commission supports members' active participation, adapts Commission practices and reponds to advice on promoting inclusion and participation. In progress This remains a core commitment. The Commission welcomes ongoing feedback from the Disability Reference Group on improvements or changes the Commission can implement to support the Group to perform its role and for all members to participate fully.

13. Promote and lead attitudinal change

The Commissioner will promote the positive contribution people with disabilities make to out community and economy in media releases, social media, speeches and presentations, networking events and through stakeholder relationships.

SUCCESS MEASURES STATUS COMMENTS
People with disabilties remain a priority in our next Strategic Plan. In progress Over the course of the Disability Action Plan, the Commission has continued to promote the positive contribution people with disabilities make to the community through a number of events and forums. Of particular note was the annual Human Rights Oration in 2016 with Graeme Innes, the former Federal Disability Discrimination Commissioner, who spoke on disability and human rights in employment. This was followed by a panel discussion facilitated by the Commissioner. The event drew 300 people and a video of the event was uploaded onto the Commission’s website and promoted through social media. The evaluation of the event indicated approval ratings of content and accessibility between 85 – 95%. In relation to the Strategic Plan, people with disabilities are reflected across all the strategic priority areas, particularly improving workplace equality and embedding a human rights culture. The Commission consulted the Disability Reference Group during the development of the Strategic Plan, along with community representatives, including people with disabilities, from across Victoria.
Included and evaluated in the Commissioner's Stakeholder Engagement Plans from 2015-17. In progress

14. Advocating for improvements across government and the community

Continue to pursue law, policy and practice reform on issues affecting the rights of people with disabilities including barriers faced by women with disabilities, Aboriginal people with disabilities and other groups. In determining priorities, we will consult with the DRG and other stakeholders.

SUCCESS MEASURES STATUS COMMENTS
Systemic projects achieve a reduction in barriers experienced by people with disabilities in key areas of public life (includes measuring progress against recommendations made to agencies in previous projects). In progress During the time of the action plan, projects with particular impact on reducing barriers for people with disabilities included:
(a) The Signs for Health project conducted research into the provision of Auslan interpreters provided to patients in Victorian hospitals, following concerns raised by the Disability Reference Group and other stakeholders. As a result, the website signsforhealth.com.au was launched in October 2016.
(b) The Held Back project in 2017 assessed the Department of Education and Training’s progress against the Commission’s 2012 recommendations on school students with disabilities. This found significant progress, but that more work was required to measure and ensure change.
(c) The Disability Bench Book, published in December 2016, provided guidance to judicial officers on assisting people with disabilities. In 2017 a Supreme Court decision, Matsoukatidou v Yarra Ranges Council, referred to the book in deciding that a previous decision did not give the appellants a fair hearing and should be overruled.
This advocacy will continue to form part of the Commission’s strategic work, particularly its strategic priorities of embedding a human rights culture and improving workplace equality. The Commission will continue to be guided by the Disability Reference Group and other stakeholders on priorities as it implements the Strategic Plan. The Commission will also continue to enhance its monitoring and evaluation framework to improve how it assesses the impact of this work.

16. Extending the reach and impact of our education programs

We will work with people with disabilities organisations, peak bodies, advocacy and stakeholder groups to identify the needs of key groups and communities that our current programs and services are either not addressing or not having significant impact on. We will work with them to develop and deiver improvements to programs and approaches to achieve greater coverage and impact for people with disabilities and their carers and advocates and to better support them in self-advocacy.

SUCCESS MEASURES STATUS COMMENTS
Results from program / resource feedback from participants and their supporters shows that the education needs of a more diverse range of partcipants are being met to a greater degree. In progress The Commission has commenced work to better understand the impact and reach of its current programs and identify opportunities for improving how they can meet the needs of a diverse range of participants. The Commission intends consult with key stakeholders to develop enduring partnerships and to inform its approach to information, education and consulting programs.

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