Talking to everyone – ATO puts accessibility at the forefront of marketing and communication

Tue 9 June 2020

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has completed the Access and Inclusion Index in three of the last four years. According to John Lennox, Assistant Director, Diversity & Inclusion, the reason the ATO participates in the Index is simple:

 “It’s important to assess ourselves to see how we are tracking year-on-year. We also want to know how we compare to the rest of the market.”

 “By participating in the Index,” John added, “we can all learn from each other. There might be things the ATO is doing well which we can share with others. Equally, it shows us what we could do better.”

In the 2017 Index Benchmark Report, the ATO was recognised as the second top performing organisation in a field of 28 participants. Yet surprisingly, whilst collating information for their Index submission, the ATO determined it could be doing a lot better than it was. They decided to take a year to pause, reflect and refresh some of their approaches to access and inclusion.

Participating again in 2019, the ATO is recognised for their continued high performance and for their progress in the area of marketing, communication, digital and employee experiences.

One of the reasons for making such progress has been the development of the Digital Inclusion Guide. It sits as a supplement to the ATO’s Style Guide and Content Model to ensure all communications (including meetings, internal communications, external communications and videos) are accessible for all.

As technology is constantly evolving, the ATO is mindful of its commitment to being accessible to all employees, clients and customers. It has developed formal processes for publishing web content on the ATO website that meets Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 AA.

ATO’s web content is published in HTML to ensure it meets best practice accessibility guidelines. Videos include captions or transcripts. These practices are supported by formal processes for publishing website content which includes checklists and post-publishing quality assurance processes.

In addition, all employees who develop website content are given accessibility training sessions. So far over 400 staff have been trained in creating accessible content.

For all marketing and communication staff, the ATO has a Diverse Audiences team who assist them with understanding the communication needs of external audiences including people with disability.

The ATO has also connected with people with lived experience to provide enhanced understandings of the issues experienced by people with learning disability, cognitive impairment, and intellectual disability.

By the very nature of its work, the ATO is committed to providing products, services and communications that are accessible to both staff and the Australian community.

As John Lennox explained,

“We are all part of the same team and diversity of thoughts, skills and abilities make us a better, more cohesive team. Inclusion is for everyone and the ATO needs to reflect the community it serves.”

About the Access and Inclusion Index

The Access and Inclusion Index is Australia’s foremost corporate benchmarking tool for inclusion of people with disability. It supports organisations to assess their performance across 10 key business areas, which contributes to an overall score out of 100.

No matter where you are on the journey to disability confidence, the Index helps you:

  • Deeply understand access and inclusion across your organisation
  • Gain insights into areas of strength and opportunity 
  • Establish a foundation from which to build disability confidence and capability
  • Set measurable performance goals across key business areas
  • Build awareness and knowledge across your workforce
  • Engage your whole organisation in the access and inclusion agenda
  • Gain a roadmap to accelerate year-on-year progress
  • Formulate a strategic plan for the future

To find out more, or discuss how you can participate in 2020, please contact us on 1300 363 645 or email

Read our Access and Inclusion Index Benchmark Report 2019-20 for more valuable insights into how organisations are making significant progress and staying on course.

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