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Benefits of “Disability Proofing” in Dublin City Council – Case Study

As part of Dublins City Council’s (DCC) commitment to improving the accessibility of their services, they are currently involved in a project to identify how disability proofing can be mainstreamed throughout the organisation.

Initially, the Access Unit in DCC worked with O’Herlihy Access Consultancy (OHAC) to assist in carrying out a pilot project on disability proofing.

According to Monaghan County Council Disability Proofing is “a strategy that aims to make sure that people with disabilities and their requirements are included from the start in the development of all structures, policies and practices. It is the basic tool of inclusion. Disability proofing aims to bring about equality of outcomes for people with disabilities”.

The Access Unit and OHAC identified a number of pilot projects in order to carry out some disability proofing exercises. These included:

Action plans were drawn up in 2010 with many of the tasks now completed, and some still on-going.  The benefit from these pilots was that the actions were “quick wins”, in that they were achieved quickly, with minimal cost, and did not take too much time. These pilots illustrated to DCC that the concept of ‘Disability proofing’ could be mainstreamed in DCC with the assistance and guidance of the Access Unit.

Other DCC departments are now finalising their own disability proofing action plans in relation to the services they provide. One of the benefits of this process is an increase in staff awareness about the importance of access issues, and responsibilities under the Disability Act 2005 to consider accessibility in all works carried out.

A survey carried out in 2010 showed that 70% of the City Council staff are aware of the roles and responsibilities of the Access Unit, and where to contact them.

There continues to be an improvement in services provided by DCC for people with disabilities. All departments now have a plan that highlights policies to promote accessibility, and have detailed actions that will bring their procedures in line with accessibility standards. These will be reviewed on a quarterly basis.

The Access Unit set up a Disability Steering Group Committee in 2011 within DCC. This committee is made up of a representative from each department. The Access Unit are currently working with each individual Department to draw up a disability proofing action plan that will be incorporated into our Implementation Plan 2007-2015. They are currently finalising these draft plans which will be then put to public consultation.

Click for further information on the DCC Access Unit.