1001.0 - Annual Report - ABS Annual Report, 2005-06  
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Contents >> Section 6 - How the ABS Operates >> Chapter 23 - Access for people with disabilities

Chapter 23 - Access for people with disabilities

There are many types of disability and people may have disabilities as a result of accident, illness or genetic disorder. Under the Commonwealth Disability Strategy framework, the ABS has developed the ABS Disability Action Plan as a public statement of commitment to:

    • access to ABS products and services for clients with disabilities
    • equal employment opportunity for people with disabilities.
The Disability Action Plan consolidates policies and programs and is a mechanism to assist in the prevention of discrimination on the basis of disability. The plan includes a checklist to assist all ABS employees prevent disability discrimination.

This section assesses the ABS' performance against the indicators set out in the Commonwealth Disability Strategy.

TABLE 23.1: COMMONWEALTH DISABILITY STRATEGY – PROVIDER ROLE

Performance IndicatorAssessment

1. Providers have established mechanisms for quality improvement and assuranceThe ABS operates in accordance with the Australian Government Information Management Office guidelines relating to accessibility for visually impaired users and is working to ensure that the ABS web site meets the requirements of the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. The ABS is committed to the development of a web site that is accessible to people with vision impairment. However, due to technological limitations, it is not possible to make the web site entirely accessible in a cost effective manner. This limitation means that some tables, products or parts of the web site may be less accessible to some visually impaired users.

Where any of the web products are not suitably accessible, the ABS will make arrangements for Vision Australia to translate the product into a more appropriate format. This service is provided at no additional cost to the user.

2. Providers have an established service charter that specifies the roles of the provider and consumer and service standards which address accessibility for people with disabilitiesThe Client Services Charter describes the relationship between the ABS and users of its products and services.
A free service to convert data files into a suitable format is available for people with vision impairment.

3. Complaints/grievance mechanisms, including access to external mechanisms, in place to address concerns raised about performanceThe Client Services Charter outlines the complaints and grievance mechanisms in place to address concerns about the ABS' performance providing services to people with disabilities.


IMPROVING ACCESS TO THE CENSUS

ABS Media release on 30 June 2006

People with a print or language disability will have better access than ever before to the Census.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics, working in cooperation with the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, has announced initiatives which will make it easier for people with a disability to access information about the Census and to fill in Census forms.

"The ABS is committed to communicating effectively with householders with a disability," the Head of Census Paul Williams said.

The ABS will provide information on the Census in formats that meet the needs of individuals with a print, language or hearing disability/impairment. The Census will be held on 8 August this year.

The Australian Electoral Commission and the ABS Statistical Publishing Development Team have been consulted for advice to assist with the development of this strategy. Vision Australia helped deliver the strategy through advice and testing of the web forms.

Advice has also been received from Better Hearing Australia, the Victorian Deaf Society and the Australian Captions Centre to better understand the needs of the hearing impaired community.

The eCensus option will allow the Census form to be filled out online and independently by people with a print disability. It is usable with the screen readers JAWS and Windows Eyes. These screen readers verbally reproduce what appears on a computer screen.

This initiative has been developed in consultations with Vision Australia and Blind Citizens Australia. It has been extensively field tested. Supporting material is also available in formats such as Braille and large print.

In addition print alternative formats of the Census guide and Census form will be available on request.

The ABS is determined that everyone has the opportunity to participate in the Census of Population and Housing on 8 August.


TABLE 23.2: COMMONWEALTH DISABILITY STRATEGY – EMPLOYER ROLE

Performance IndicatorAssessment

1. Employment policies, procedures and practices comply with the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992All ABS employment policies, procedures and practices have been developed in line with the Australian Public Service Values and comply with the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992. The principles of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992, in terms of eliminating discrimination, promoting equity and responding to the diverse needs of the Australian community, are values upheld in the ABS Corporate Plan, the ABS Workplace Diversity Program and the ABS Certified Agreement.

ABS policies produced specifically to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 are the Reasonable Workplace Adjustment Guidelines and the Disability Action Plan.

2. Recruitment information for potential job applicants is available in accessible formats on requestABS job vacancies are advertised in the Public Service Gazette and on the ABS web site.

The ABS web site provides recruitment material and corporate information for potential applicants in RDF and PDF formats. The ABS Application Cover Sheet, which applicants are required to return with their applications, contains provisions for requesting any additional requirements in the event of interviews such as interpreters and other aids.

3. Agency recruiters and manager apply the principle of 'reasonable adjustment'ABS corporate manuals and workplace diversity databases have information on reasonable adjustment and the selection process. Selection panels are made aware of this information and the processes for its application.

Information gathered from the ABS Application Cover Sheet enables the ABS selection panel to seek further information with regard to possible reasonable adjustment requirements for the interview situation.

The Occupational Health and Safety representatives undertake a workplace assessment to assess any special needs, and to discuss and assist in implementing, as appropriate, reasonable adjustment strategies with the relevant supervisor on commencement of the employee at the ABS.

4/5. Training and development programs consider the needs of staff with disabilities and include information on disability issues as they relate to the content of the programThe ABS' Learning and Development programs take into consideration any special needs of employees. In accordance with the disability strategy, all training and development activities are: learner centred; designed using an instructional design phase that considers the diverse needs and learning styles of trainees; delivered and event managed with activities that provide for the reasonable adjustment requirements of the trainees, such as specific hearing, language/translator and mobility issues; and designed to continue the work with specific components on disability and reasonable adjustment in management and leadership development aspects of programs.

6. Complaints/ grievance mechanisms, including access to external mechanisms, in place to address issues and concerns raised by staffThe ABS has several mechanisms in place to assist all ABS employees to resolve issues. These include support networks to assist staff and a well defined process to internally resolve workplace issues. The ABS also provides information to employees about external appeal mechanisms.

In addition to more formal mechanisms set out in the Public Service Act 1999, the ABS has agreed internal procedures for resolving workplace issues which have been established under the ABS Certified Agreement 2006-2009.



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