Members Arup and NSW Department of Customer Service talk about how they are using the Access and Inclusion Index

Thu 5 November 2020

At a recent AND discussion forum Arup and NSW Department of Customer Service (DCS) shared the benefits they found from completing the Index and gave great tips on gathering information from within.  

What is the Access and Inclusion Index?

The Access and Inclusion Index is Australia’s number one benchmarking tool for measuring progress. 

Arup – Starting the conversation

Prior to using the Index, Arup knew they wanted to improve their access and inclusion, but they had no benchmarks to help them set, and measure performance. Arup embraced the Index and used it in 2020 for the first time.

Arup found that connecting with colleagues across the organisation was a great way to gather information to use the Index.

“I did engage people in the business in digital technology, people and culture, marketing and communication.

If you are not already connected to the wider areas of your business, it is a really good way to build those relationships and talk to them about, "Who is AND? What are you doing with them? How does this index help us?" That is how I approached it.” — Francesca Maclean, Senior Consultant

Francesca Maclean said the Index gave her the tools and language to discuss with colleagues where they could improve.

"[The Index] is very much solutions-based outcome—not saying everything is broken but saying here are the opportunities.” — Francesca Maclean, Senior Consultant

Arup signed up to #Valuable500 campaign and put inclusion of people with disability on their board’s agenda. They are continuing their journey across all their international branches.

Francesca also said that leadership needed to be visibly committed. She recommends that organisations record their team’s progress and actions, by using an internal newsroom page or similar.

Completing the Index motivated Arup to do more. They will mentor 20 people with disability through PACE and provide 5 Stepping into internships to skilled and talented people with disability over the next year. They are also creating their first global access and inclusion plan.

Department of Customer Service (DCS)

DCS is a new department in NSW, and 2020 is their first year using the Index. In NSW, Government agencies are required to have a Disability Inclusion Action Plan (DIAP), and DCS have found that using the Index helped them to collect evidence to start developing their first DIAP.

“In order to develop our new plan, we needed to see where we were at and so, rather than go back to the previous two plans [from our predecessor agencies] and try to figure out who was responsible for what and who has moved on and who is no longer even part of the department and has moved to another agency, we actually used the index and that process to get our baseline.” — Dani Fried

DCS are using the 10 key Index areas to help them create their Plan. They will also use it for auditing, as it is a credible, third-party assessment of their practices.

“Our DIAP closely aligned with the index and we have aligned it with the state plan. The report itself was impactful but it was actually the process that really helps people understand the issues. We had to reach out right across a very large cluster.” — Dani Fried

Dani reported that DCS aims to ensure their engagement with customers and the community reflects the 20% of people with disability in the wider NSW community. DCS are also conducting audits on their websites, and plan to increase awareness of their inclusive facilities among customers.

Using the Index yearly

Organisations can use the Index to measure their progress anytime. Organisations who use the Index, and follow the Roadmap, on average improve by 20% each year.

Our 2019 Top Performers; RMIT, ATO, and Medibank have each used the Index 2 or 3 times and made significant improvements to performance each year.

Not ready to do the Index? Try the Quick 10

The Quick 10 is a shorter alternative to the Index. It is a 10-question assessment that gives an overview.

Take the Access and Inclusion Index Quick 10 now.

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