1001.0 - Australian Bureau of Statistics -- Annual Report, 2006-07  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 12/10/2007   
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Contents >> Section VI - How the ABS operates >> Chapter 22 - Access for people with disabilities

Section VI - How the ABS operates

Chapter 22 - Access for people with disabilities


Under the Commonwealth Disability Strategy framework, the ABS has developed the ABS Disability Action Plan as a public statement of commitment to provide:

    • access to ABS products and services for clients with disabilities, and
    • 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 22.1: Commonwealth Disability Strategy - provider role
Performance indicatorAssessment

Providers have established mechanisms for quality improvement and assurance.The 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 website meets the requirements of the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.

The ABS is committed to the development of a website that is accessible to people with vision impairment. However, due to technological limitations, it is not possible to make the website entirely accessible in a cost-effective manner. This limitation means that some tables, products, or parts of the website, may be less accessible to some visually impaired users.

If 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 on request and at no additional cost to the user.

Providers have an established service charter that specifies the roles of the provider and consumer and service standards which address accessibility for people with disabilities.The 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.

Performance indicatorAssessment

Complaints/grievance mechanisms, including access to external mechanisms, are in place to address concerns raised about performance.The Client Services Charter outlines the complaints and grievance mechanisms in place to address concerns about the ABS’ performance in providing services.

Table 22.2: Commonwealth Disability Strategy—employer role
Performance indicatorAssessment

Employment policies, procedures and practices comply with the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992.All 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 Act, 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 Act are the Reasonable Workplace Adjustment Guidelines and the Disability Action Plan.

Recruitment information for potential job applicants is available in accessible formats on request.ABS job vacancies are advertised in the Public Service Gazette and on the ABS website.

The ABS website provides recruitment material and corporate information for potential applicants in RTF 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.

Agency recruiters and managers 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 employment.

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 program.The 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; and delivered and event managed with activities that provide for the reasonable adjustment requirements of trainees, such as specific hearing, language/translator and mobility issues. Activities are also designed to include specific components on disability, and reasonable adjustment in management and leadership development aspects of programs.

Complaints and grievance mechanisms, including access to external mechanisms, are in place to address issues and concerns raised by staff.The ABS has several mechanisms in place to assist 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 2006–09.

The ABS was nominated externally for two Diversity in the Workplace awards in 2006. The first award was received for appreciation and recognition by an external agency that assists people with disabilities find work. This award was for the ongoing commitment by the ABS to employ people with a disability, and for its continued support in doing so over a number of years.

The ABS was also nominated for the 2006 Prime Minister’s Employer of the Year Awards, recognising excellence in the employment of people with a disability. Although the ABS did not win in its category, recognition was given to the ABS as being one of only a few government departments that actively seeks work opportunities for people with disabilities.

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