PREMIERS MESSAGE

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					DEPARTMENT OF PREMIER AND CABINET’S DISABILITY ACTION PLAN
PREMIER’S MESSAGE
On September 3, 2002, our Government released the Victorian State Disability Plan 2002-2012. The Plan spelled out our Government‟s vision for the future as follows: “By 2012, Victoria will be a stronger and more inclusive community – a place where diversity is embraced and celebrated, and where everyone has the same opportunities to participate in the life of the community, and the same responsibilities towards society as all other citizens of Victoria.” The Plan also outlined a number of strategies designed to make that vision a reality – including an initiative that Departments would develop and implement Disability Action Plans (DAP). The need for Departmental DAPs is undeniable. People with a disability come into contact with every part of the State Government and, as citizens, have every right to expect that their needs will be catered for as a matter of standard Departmental practice. After all, meeting the needs of citizens with a disability should not be considered as extraordinary, but elemental – a basic requirement of the day-to-day business of Government. With that in mind, I am proud to present the Department of Premier and Cabinet‟s first disability action plan. If the goals set out in this DAP can be achieved we will have gone a long way towards making Victoria a fairer place to live and raise a family.

STEVE BRACKS Premier of Victoria

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SECRETARY’S FOREWORD
Collaboration, inclusion and participation across Government are all themes that have informed the development of DPC‟s disability action plan. DPC‟s plan is part of a wider Whole of Victorian Government initiative that will see Government Departments improve opportunities for people with a disability to actively play their part in government. DPC‟s disability action plan is designed to eliminate practices preventing people with a disability from having full and equal access to all aspects of our operations. As such, it reaffirms the Department‟s commitment to identify and address barriers to opportunity and sets an example for other institutions and employers. As a central agency, DPC also has an important leadership role in ensuring that all major policy initiatives are as inclusive as possible of the needs of people with a disability. In addition, DPC contributes to crucial national developments in this area, such as the development of Standards under the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1992. I welcome this first disability action plan as a significant step towards DPC being a more accessible Department for all Victorians.

TERRY MORAN Secretary

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DEPARTMENT OF PREMIER AND CABINET
The Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC) assists the Government to create sustainable growth and a vibrant, innovative society by leading policy advice and implementing key projects and activities. DPC has a leadership role in the identification and implementation of the strategic directions of Government. It achieves this through the provision of independent, rigorous and soundly based policy advice to Cabinet and Cabinet committees. It manages relationships with other governments in Australia and overseas and develops processes for community engagement and partnering in government decision-making. The Department has four main roles:
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Supporting the Premier as head of Government and Cabinet. Providing strategic policy leadership. Developing Whole of Victorian Government initiatives. Delivering services and programs in relation to Government Information and Communication and Arts Victoria. Leadership Integrity Collaboration Innovation

DPC has identified four values that inform the way the Department works:
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Reflecting the highest standards of integrity and conduct, the values of DPC embody the spirit of an adaptable and innovative public sector committed to serving Government and the wider community. Through these values, DPC will lead the way in ensuring that its day-today business facilitates the equitable participation of, and high quality outcomes for, people with a disability. As a central agency, DPC will maximise the collaborative opportunities that are available for working both within the Department and across the Victorian Government to achieve a progressive agenda of access and equity for people with a disability.
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This disability action plan will build upon the Department‟s positive record in relation to promoting access and participation for people with a disability in a proactive and integrated way. DPC will create and maintain an accessible and participatory environment for people with a disability who come into contact with the Department, either as staff members, as stakeholders or as members of the public more generally. CONTEXT The Victorian Government made a policy commitment in the Victorian State Disability Plan 2002-2012 to support all Government Departments to develop disability action plans. Disability action plans are a positive strategy for creating more accessible and inclusive public services for Victorians. The Victorian Government established an Inter-Departmental Committee (IDC) on disability policy to progress its Whole of Victorian Government disability initiatives. The IDC on disability policy endorsed a framework to guide Government departments on the development and implementation of disability action plans1. The framework identifies six key areas that Government Departments‟ disability action plans should address. The framework also requires Victorian Government Departments to develop disability action plans that are consistent with the provisions of the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA). Action plans developed under the DDA must be consistent with the objects of the Act and contain the following:     The development of policies and programs that are consistent with the objects of the Act. A process for communicating the policies and programs to people within the organisation. A process for identifying any discriminatory practices within the organisation. The setting of goals and targets to address the discriminatory practices.

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Department of Human Services (2004) A policy framework for the development of disability action plans by the Victorian Government, Disability Services Division, Melbourne.
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Identifying how the policies and programs that have been implemented will be evaluated. Nominating a person within the organisation to take responsibility for implementation of the plan.

Government departments are also required to use the same definition of disability as contained in the DDA. This definition covers disabilities that are physical, intellectual, psychiatric, sensory and neurological. It also covers physical disfigurement and the presence in the body of an organism capable of causing disease, such as HIV. This definition is applicable to a disability that currently exists, may exist in the future or is otherwise imputed to exist. DPC’s DISABILITY ACTION PLAN The development of the 2006 – 2008 disability action plan is the first for DPC. It builds on the initiatives already undertaken by DPC to improve access and participation for people with a disability and affirms its responsibility for Whole of Victorian Government initiatives. This disability action plan applies to core DPC staff, policies and sites only. DPC also has four portfolio agencies: the Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel, the Office of the Governor, the Office of the Ombudsman and the State Services Authority. These agencies have agreed to work with DPC over the next three years on incorporation into this plan or development of their own disability action plans. Arts Victoria (a division of DPC) has already produced its own disability action plan, which it intends to review and update. Work will occur with Arts Victoria to ensure consistency between its revised plan and this plan. The development of DPC‟s disability action plan has occurred over 2004 and 2005, in close consultation with Departmental staff at all levels. DPC acknowledges the importance of people with a disability having an active role in identifying issues for the department and in developing strategies for addressing these. DPC undertook a number of processes to ensure a wide representation of views including:  The establishment of a working group comprising representatives from Social Policy Branch, Strategic Communications, Organisational Development Branch, the Office for Public Employment and Arts Victoria.

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Conducting a situational analysis to determine DPC‟s current approach to disability issues with respect to access and equity. Conducting a series of consultations and interviews with relevant DPC staff to address the areas of internal and external communications, staff awareness, public participation and employment. The consultations sought extensive input from employees with a disability. Commissioning expert disability access consultants to complete a building and facilities audit with respect to physical access and to review the Department‟s reasonable adjustment employment policies. Seeking comment and feedback on the draft disability action plan from the Disability Advisory Council of Victoria. The Disability Advisory Council of Victoria provides advice to the Minister for Community Services on issues concerning people with a disability and has an identified role in reviewing Government Departments‟ disability action plans. The Disability Advisory Council of Victoria comprises people with a disability and carers of people with a disability.

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The Department‟s 2006 – 2008 disability action plan is based on the six outcome areas identified in the policy framework for Victorian Government disability action plans and has been drafted with reference to the DDA provisions for developing action plans. DPC will demonstrate leadership in the following disability action plan outcome areas: Employment and careers Goal: Employment opportunities and employment equity are maximised for people with a disability Consultation and participation Goal: An open and inclusive consultation environment is developed where people with a disability have opportunities to participate Programs and Services Goal: Programs and services are delivered in ways that meet the needs of people with a disability Improved staff awareness Goal: A responsive, fair and equitable organisational culture is created for people with a disability
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Communication Goal: Information is available in an accessible and user-friendly way that is inclusive of people with a disability Physical Access Goal: All physical work environments and public access sites are safe and accessible for people with a disability Implementation, Monitoring and Review The success of any action plan lies in its implementation and the extent to which it is monitored and reviewed to ensure it continues to achieve what it set out to do. The DPC action plan includes implementation, monitoring and review processes to ensure the strategies are being implemented and that they remain relevant. The Department‟s senior executive has endorsed the disability action plan and has made a strong commitment to its implementation by ensuring that resources will be made available to facilitate this process. As a further commitment, the disability action plan will be lodged with the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission. DPC‟s Organisational Development Branch will take the lead role in overseeing the implementation and progress of the disability action plan. The disability action plan will be subject to annual revision, and where additional strategies are identified as part of the review process these will be integrated into the plan. The implementation, monitoring and review processes will continue in the spirit of consultation, with opportunities for comment by DPC employees and by external stakeholders. The Disability Advisory Council of Victoria will also play a pivotal role in consulting on the progress of the disability action plan initiatives. The final review of the 2006–2008 disability action plan will inform the development of the second DPC disability action plan.

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Employment and Careers
Goal: Employment opportunities and employment equity are maximised for people with a disability Employment is a crucial means by which people affirm their identity, achieve financial independence and access learning and life experiences. One of the most important aspirations of people with a disability is the opportunity to work. Recent research, however, indicates that people with a disability are under-represented in the Victorian Public Service2. This is attributed to under-reporting as well as under-representation. DPC is committed to ensuring that our recruitment, employment and promotion processes are designed to avoid discrimination and promote equal employment opportunities (EEO) for and greater participation by people with a disability. What DPC will do:  Provide new starters the opportunity to self-identify as having a disability to ensure appropriate workplace support and adjustments can be provided. Collect baseline and ongoing data on DPC employees who self-identify as having a disability and on retention rates – after developing a privacy policy for dealing with this information. Once baseline data has been collected, examine the appropriateness and feasibility of a range of possible change objectives and indicators (for example, regarding provision of support for employees with a disability, accessibility of selection processes, and staff development and training).

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Graffam, J et al (2005) Achieving Substantive Equality and Optimal Participation: Employees with a Disability in the Victorian Public Sector, Deakin University, Melbourne
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Develop clear policy and operational guidelines for both managers and staff on reasonable adjustment and ergonomic/workplace assessments, including funding access and designated timeframes for responding. On the basis of comments and feedback elicited from managers and staff, address any behaviours and practices underlying or contributing to discrimination or harassment. Review the Department‟s induction processes, both on-line and face-toface, to improve the way DPC demonstrates and communicates its commitment to EEO principles and practice, specifically as they relate to people with a disability. Review recruitment and selection panel training requirements to integrate diversity awareness as part of the recruitment and selection training. Incorporate „managing diversity‟ as a module in the Department‟s „Management Essentials‟ program. Modify recruitment documentation to encourage under-represented EEO groups to apply and extend reasonable adjustment processes to recruitment. Monitor access and equity issues relating to the operation of the erecruitment system. Promote and support the use of appropriate expertise when devising or revising key selection capabilities or criteria, so that these are based on the inherent requirements of a job and avoid any direct or indirect discrimination. Require contracted recruitment agencies to demonstrate thorough disability awareness and a commitment to principles of equity, access and diversity. Require all staff training and development programs, whether conducted in-house or externally, to take into consideration access requirements of people with a disability. Ensure the Department‟s framework for flexible work practices takes into account requirements of people with a disability.

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Explore and promote mentoring opportunities for staff with a disability to provide them with professional development, leadership and peer support opportunities. Participate in a Whole of Victorian Government initiative to co-operate with Disability Works Australia to improve employment opportunities for people with a disability in the Victorian Public Service, including the development of a Department-specific customised implementation plan. Liaise with the State Services Authority to develop strategies to attract people with a disability to apply for the Graduate Recruitment Program.

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Measuring progress:  DPC and its contractors will maintain a comprehensive suite of policies relating to reasonable adjustment and equitable employment practice throughout all recruitment, employment and promotion processes and widely promote these policies across the Department. There is an annual collection of a range of data relating to the employment of people with a disability. This data is used to take further steps to promote the employment and careers within DPC of people with a disability. This data is appropriately protected by a privacy policy. There is an increase in the number of jobs referred to Disability Works Australia.

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Consultation and Participation
Goal: An open and inclusive consultation environment is developed where people with a disability have opportunities to be consulted and participate DPC‟s policies and practice must reflect the Government‟s strong commitment to working in consultation with all members of the community. This will aid DPC in achieving the Government‟s vision for Victoria‟s future where everyone has the same opportunities to participate in the life of the community. The Government, through its „A Fairer Victoria‟ policy has committed to making it easier for local communities to participate in Government decision-making. The Government recognises the importance of diversity in the membership of Government boards and committees that effect decision-making. It has committed to increasing the number of suitably qualified people from under-represented groups, including people with a disability, who are registered for consideration for appointment to Government boards and committees. What DPC will do:  Building on the Whole of Victorian Government Communications Access Policy, we will develop a Departmental „consultation and public participation‟ charter that sets down accessibility standards, „best practice‟ principles and provides practical resource advice. This will include an „accessibility grid‟ that allows for flexible procedures to be adopted, depending on scale and type of the consultation event. Investigate the possibility of expanding this charter into a Whole of Victorian Government initiative. Implement the use of the charter and accessibility checklists during reconnaissance visits to Community Cabinet sites and for planning of Community Cabinet events, to ensure consistent standards are met. Expand opportunities for people with a disability to request assistance and support in order to maximise their participation in Community Cabinet. Trial alternate advertising to publicise Community Cabinet visits and participation (for example, radio for the print handicapped).
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Work to increase opportunities for people with a disability to serve on DPC boards and committees.

Measuring progress:  DPC consultation events will use the „consultation and public participation‟ charter to address issues related to accessibility and participation for people with a disability at every stage. Increased promotion of the availability of disability supports and assistance available on request to people with a disability who wish to attend Community Cabinet consultations.

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Programs and Services
Goal: Programs and services are delivered in ways that meet the needs of people with a disability DPC is responsible for a range of programs and services that reflect the policy priorities of the Government of the day and the diverse needs of the community. DPC will demonstrate leadership by ensuring that its policies regarding programs and services promote diversity, equity and access for all members of the community. What DPC will do:  In delivering advice and review services, DPC will pay due attention to the needs and interests of people with a disability. Guidelines will be developed to assist in the preparation of briefings and correspondence that address issues of particular significance for people with a disability. All DPC programs and services will refer to the Whole of Victorian Government Communications Access Policy in developing external communications, including events. Promote and support, where possible, the use of Companion Cards at venues and events managed or operated by DPC or its agencies. Review and revise the Department‟s procurement processes and documentation so that access, equity and diversity issues are fully incorporated and the requirements of people with a disability are considered at every stage of DPC‟s purchasing processes. Investigate the possibility of integrating access, equity and diversity considerations into the Victorian Government Purchasing Board Guidelines to ensure all buying outcomes take into account the requirements of people with a disability.

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Measuring progress:  Number of staff who are aware of and able to use disability guidelines for the preparation of relevant briefings and correspondence.

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Acceptance of the Companion Card is included in all contractual arrangements for DPC funded events. Requirements of people with a disability are incorporated into DPC‟s procurement processes and documentation.

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Improved Staff Awareness
Goal: A responsive, fair and equitable organisational culture is created for people with a disability Removing attitudinal barriers is an integral part of creating a responsive, fair and equitable public service culture. One of the key ways of removing these barriers is through appropriate training of staff to increase their awareness and understanding of disability issues. What DPC will do:  Work with providers of front line staff with the aim of ensuring that all such employees (for example, reception and security staff) receive training in diversity awareness, including how to listen to, speak with and offer assistance to people with a disability. Appoint and train Diversity Contact Officers to act as liaison and referral points in dispute resolution processes and across various areas of disability. Review the Learning and Development Framework Capability model and integrate diversity awareness and training as part of the core skills and abilities expected of all DPC staff, managers and Executive Managers and staff are informed of the policy and operational guidelines regarding reasonable adjustments and ergonomic/workplace assessments, via training and internal communication processes. Integrate access, equity and diversity considerations into HR Services‟ policy evaluation template and processes so that the development and review of HR policies considers the requirements of people with a disability in a more systematic way. Utilise the launch of the disability action plan to promote and endorse the importance of Departmental disability access and participation.

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Measuring progress:  All front line staff are trained in diversity awareness.

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Increase in the number of DPC staff and managers undertaking training courses related to diversity awareness, as evidenced by attendance data. Diversity Contact Officers will provide practical support and resourcing to improve awareness and understanding of Departmental processes and policies relating to disability.

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Communication
Goal: Information is available in an accessible and user-friendly way that is inclusive of people with a disability Communication is one of the most basic needs and rights of all people and the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992 requires that people with a disability have equal access to information and communications. Equal access to information and communications is necessary if Government laws, programs and services are to be administered in a nondiscriminatory way. To this end, DPC wants to communicate in ways designed to improve the access and engagement of people with a disability, both within Government and externally. DPC has commissioned a review of its intranet and internet websites to identify access issues and develop the means of dealing with them. DPC is also overseeing the development of a Whole of Victorian Government Communications Access Policy that aims to improve access to Victorian Government communications and information for people with a disability. What DPC will do:  Lead the development of the Whole of Victorian Government Communications Access Policy (CAP) for People with a Disability, which will address accessibility of electronic and print communications. Lead the Whole of Victorian Government project to promote and assist all Departments to implement the CAP, and to evaluate compliance with and review the CAP. Ensure all DPC‟s internet and intranet sites comply with the Website Management Framework and accessibility standards issued by the Office of the Chief Information Officer, through regular testing and annual reporting. Implement recommendations of the accessibility review for the DPC internet website and internal Matrix sites. Regularly test and report on the accessibility of the Department‟s internet and intranet sites.
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Ensure DPC publications portray positive images of people with a disability. Develop processes for handling requests from the public for information in alternative formats, and monitor the level of requests received and the way in which they were handled.

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Measuring progress:  In the first year of this disability action plan, the Communications Access Policy is finalised and distributed to all Government Departments. The Department‟s internet and intranet sites are regularly tested for disability access and the outcomes reported annually. Increase the proportion of DPC documents available in alternative formats on request.

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Physical Access
Goal: All physical work environments and public access sites are safe and accessible for people with a disability The provision of barrier-free environments is essential to ensuring that public services are accessible to all Victorians, including people with a disability. An access audit of DPC‟s office found that the facilities and premises were generally accessible for individuals with mobility impairments and other disabilities. In particular, the audit found that DPC maintained good housekeeping standards, appropriate levels of lighting and low background noise, which is conducive to good health and safety and productivity. The audit also identified a number of access issues that need to be addressed to enable people with a disability to move safely and easily into, out of, and within the building. What DPC will do:  DPC will work with its landlord, the Department of Treasury and Finance (as a shared tenant) and Facilities Management towards upgrading existing buildings and work area designs so that they comply, where possible, with Australian Standard 1428.1 and 1428.2 in relation to circulation space, pathways through building areas and other prescribed areas. All building fit outs and upgrades to comply with Australian Standard 1428.1 and where possible, comply with Australian Standard 1428.2 in relation to circulation space, pathways through building areas and other prescribed areas. Leases of new buildings and facilities to comply with Australian Standard 1428.1 and, where possible, comply with Australian Standard 1428.2 in relation to circulation space, pathways through building areas and other prescribed areas. Evacuation policies and procedures will be reviewed, and recommendations will be made to the Emergency Management
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Committee about any improvements that are needed to ensure that all people with a disability can be safely evacuated from DPC premises in the event of an emergency.  Explore innovative solutions where heritage issues are potentially in conflict with access requirements, with a view to addressing access issues in the spirit of the DDA while maintaining heritage-listed aspects of DPC‟s buildings and premises. Explore leadership and collaborative opportunities to improve access to premises for people with a disability, ahead of the enactment of the Disability Standard for Access to Premises.

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Measuring progress:  Upgrading existing buildings and work area designs so that they comply, where possible, with Australian Standard 1428.1 and 1428.2 in relation to circulation space, pathways through building areas and other prescribed areas. Evacuation procedures will be monitored to ensure people with a disability can be safely evacuated from the premises in the event of an emergency.

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