At Equally Ours we believe that a good and strong society is a just and inclusive one. One where we are free from harm and can all contribute and flourish, whoever we are and whatever we believe in. A society that is equally ours.
Equally Ours’ mission is to make equality and human rights a reality in people’s lives. We do this by working with our members and others at national, regional and local levels, bringing together lived experience, research, communications and policy and advocacy expertise. We are committed to ensuring that everyone is included in our mission, and has access to the information and tools they need to take part in achieving it.
In the past year we have been working to strengthen our network and improve how we support members to engage on a range of public policy issues.
One of the key areas to improve is the need for better, more consistent access and inclusion for D/deaf and disabled people and their organisations. Our members from user-led D/deaf and disabled people’s organisations fed back to us their frustrations with policy-makers who communicate in inaccessible ways, and who don’t provide accessible ways or enough time for people to take part in events and consultations.
As a pan-equality and human rights network, we have a responsibility to make sure that our networks are fully inclusive of D/deaf and disabled people and their organisations. We also have a responsibility to advocate for policy-makers to implement inclusive practice.
We have a diverse membership and have a range of practical measures in place for staff, trustees, and stakeholders. These include the guaranteed interview scheme, flexible working, accessible venues, providing adjustments, building access and interpretation costs into budgets, building responsibility for accessibility into key job roles, and aiming for all of our web content to meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
That said, being truly inclusive is an ongoing journey, and we recognise that there is always more to learn and there is always more we can do. This statement is our commitment to make sure that we keep up to date, keep improving and take the necessary steps needed to become a truly inclusive network.
We have identified key areas where we will focus our efforts:
Dissemination of information
Make key information from Equally Ours available in a wider variety of accessible formats, while at the same time planning to incorporate accessible formats for future work we produce. This will apply to guidelines, research and reports we write or commission.
Events and meetings
Further embed practice to make sure our meetings are inclusive of D/deaf and disabled people, and increase our knowledge and practice on inclusion so that we are continually improving practice and anticipating need. This also applies to meetings we host in partnership with other organisations or public bodies.
Further embed access costs into all financial planning, so as to anticipate needs and expand our accessible resources.
Make sure the need for accessibility is highlighted in all policy responses. We will also advocate for accessible documents and consultation processes to ease the burden on D/deaf and disabled people’s organisations and individuals.
Bring together information on our accessibility practice and update our induction programme to make sure that organisational knowledge is not lost and that new staff are fully aware of our approach and processes.
Continue to work with user-led organisations within our network and support Equally Ours members and the voluntary sector as a whole to become fully inclusive, helping us all to take an intersectional approach.
We know that inclusion goes beyond disability and access. As a pan equality organisation we are committed to inclusion across all areas of equality. We welcome feedback on how we can keep improving inclusivity in our network as a whole.