An Access and Inclusion Action Plan (AIAP) describes how an organisation will remove barriers, eliminate discrimination and act inclusively. It is both a policy, which informs how the organisation will act, and a public declaration that the organisation is committed to ensuring access and inclusion.
An Access and Inclusion Action Plan includes information about how the organisation is working to make sure that its spaces and services are accessible to people with disability. Formal Access and Inclusion Action Plans can be lodged with the Australian Human Rights Commission. Less formal Plans are still good, as long as they are useful and implemented.
The Australian Human Rights Commission recommends that an action plan should:
- Actively eliminate barriers and discrimination
- Improve services to existing consumers or customers
- Enhance organisational image
- Reduce the likelihood of complaints being made
- Increase the likelihood of being able to successfully defend complaints
- Increase the likelihood of avoiding costly legal action
- Allow for a planned and managed change in services
- Attract new consumers
An action plan can be as simple as answering the following six questions:
- What activities does your organisation do?
- What barriers might prevent young people with disability from being included in these activities?
- What can we do, through a policy or program, to eliminate these barriers?
- Who will be responsible for actioning these policies or programs?
- How will we measure whether these policies or programs are successful?
- How will we tell people about this Plan?
In a small organisation, you might find that it is simple to eliminate barriers. That organisation can eliminate the barriers without developing a formal Accessibility and Inclusion Action Plan. In a larger organisation, the barriers, policies and programs might be more complex. This situation calls for a more formal Plan, which might cover several years.
The best way to develop an effective Accessibility and Inclusion Action Plan is to use a co-design process. Co-design means working with young people with disability to develop a plan for how your organisation will engage with young people with disability. You can read more about co-design principles on YACVic’s yerp resource or in VCOSS’s publication Walk alongside: Co-designing social initiatives. The Together project has been developed with a co-design process, too! You can learn more about this process here.
A key part of a successful Accessibility and Inclusion Action Plan is an allocation of responsibility and resources. A good plan will accurately describe who is responsible for doing certain actions.
The Australian Human Rights Commission describes in depth how to develop Action Plans:
YACVic’s yerp resource talks through how to include young people:
Victorian Council of Social Services writes about how to co-design social initiatives:
The Australian Network on Disability talks through what an Accessibility Action Plan is: