5 years of the Access and Inclusion Index

Thu 22 July 2021

Australian Network on Disability. Australian trends in Access and Inclusion. Five years of the Access and Inclusion Index plus 2020-21 Access and Inclusion Benchmark Report.

In the beginning…  

Knowing the importance of measurement in business, passionate AND members were looking to measure and understand their disability inclusion maturity. These pioneers were eager for a tool that could help them benchmark and score how they were performing across the organisation.

Recognising the need, AND researched existing solutions from across the globe and identified the Business Disability Forum’s (BDF) world-renowned Disability Standard Tool  (now the Disability Smart Audit Tool) as an effective management tool for Australia. AND completed an extensive pilot with eight member organisations in 2012-13. The pilot aimed to understand which aspects of the tool would work in Australia, and what needed to be reshaped to best fit the needs of Australian organisations.

With adjustments for the Australian market, this tool would eventually become the Australian Network on Disability Access & Inclusion Index, the first of its kind in Australia.

Not without help…

There was a working group with five crucial partners  that were the key to developing the Access & Inclusion Index as we know it today: IBM, the Department of Defence, the NSW Department of Family and Community Services (now known as the Department of Communities and Justice), Westpac, and the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).

In 2016, after years of hard work, development and dedication, the Access and Inclusion Index was officially launched with the Comprehensive Self-Assessment tool for AND members and the Quick 10 available for all Australian organisations.

The Access & Inclusion Index is now Australia’s leading benchmarking tool for building disability confidence, engagement and action.

Five years later…

Five years on in our journey, and AND members have made progress in their own organisations and  helped build out the Australian standards in disability inclusion in business each time they engage with the Index and submit their assessment for evaluation and benchmarking.

In five years of the Index, we’ve had:

  • 79 organisations complete the Index
  • 125 Benchmark Roadmap Reports created to support organisations to drive progress
  • 39% of organisations have made long term commitment and continued to measure and track their progress.  

From our data, we  can identify the journey organisations take to progress their maturity, from their first year of completing the Index to the most recent year.  

Year one…

Members are finding their baseline for disability inclusion. They’re also demonstrating a high level of commitment and are ready to receive their roadmap to make the changes they need to support inclusion.

Year two…

Organisations begin their journey of growth and make changes in their organisation, most notably in areas of Communication and Marketing with a 38% area of growth. As organisations mature in their practices, they open communication channels and ask for feedback from  customers and employees to inform their policies and practices.

Year three…

In the third year of completing the Index, organisations see the largest growth in their  results.  This is due gaining momentum and strengthening across their entire business as they build towards a disability confident organisation.

What does that mean for you?

What gets measured gets done

From our data, it is clear that organisations that regularly measure their progress and review their practices using the Index tool create better results for their employees and customers. The more frequently you use the Index, the better the results for your organisaiton, and for disability inclusion.

The Index is a tool that can:

  • Spark awareness of disability inclusion internally.
  • Provide a shared language to ignite conversations across whole-of-business
  • Provide you with a baseline for where you are in your disability inclusion journey.
  • Direct you to areas you can focus on to create lasting impact and increase inclusion and access in your workplace.

Each time you engage with the Index, you are progressing disability inclusion and changing the landscape of Australian business for the better.

Get involved with the Access & Inclusion Index this year and build the momentum of disability inclusion.

Read the Australian Trends in Access and Inclusion 5 Year Benchmark Report.

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