Consult customers with disabilities

3.CarlowWheelchairUser

Your organisation should consult customers with disabilities about projects that will affect them.

Here are 10 essential elements for effectively consulting people with disabilities:

  • Plan all consultations to include people with disabilities.
  • Decide the who, what, and why of your consultation process.
  • Choose the most appropriate method for consulting with particular groups.
  • Train staff and facilitators in disability equality training.
  • Identify the groups you want to consult.
  • Ask people with disabilities what their needs are.
  • Check that all elements of the consultation process are accessible.
  • Give people enough time to fully consider the issues that you are consulting them about.
  • Ask for feedback, so that you can improve future consultations.
  • Contact representative organisations for advice and assistance if needed.

The NDA’s “Ask Me’ Guidelines for Effective Consultation” publication has straightforward advice for consulting people with disabilities, including:

  • Planning a consultation: thinking it through from start to finish
    • Why are we consulting?
    • Getting started
    • Thinking it through
    • Choosing which methods to use
    • Agreeing the ground rules
  • Including people with disabilities
    • Understanding disability
    • Getting people with disabilities into the picture
    • Making contact
    • Supporting people with disabilities to participate
  • The practicalities: getting it right on the day
    • Facilitating the consultation meeting
    • Choosing a facilitator
    • Recording and documenting the consultation process
    • Follow up
    • Evaluation
  • Useful contacts
  • Disability etiquette checklist
  • Access checklist
  • Checklist for facilitators

Structure each meeting properly:

  • Send all participants the agenda before the meeting
  • Send the minutes to all participants after the meeting.

After the consultation, tell the participants what your organisation decided and how that decision will affect the project.

Tips for consulting customers with disabilities

  • Ask people with disabilities what their needs are.
  • Check that all elements of the consultation process are accessible.
  • Allow time for those consulted to consider the issues fully.
  •  Set an agenda before each meeting and send out minutes after each meeting.