Development of our Disability Access & Inclusion Plan (DAIP) 2012 – 2017

The Act’s requirements

In preparing our next five-year plan, Curtin has followed the process set out by the Act to

  • undertake a five-year review of our DAIP 2007–2011
  • advertise the review
  • consult publicly and widely in this review
  • lodge the review report with the DSC
  • lodge the new DAIP 2012–2017 with the DSC
  • advertise that the DAIP is available in appropriate formats to people with a disability.

Curtin also understands the requirement to report the progress of its DAIP in the University’s Annual Report.

How was our DAIP developed?

A DAIP Review Reference Group (see full list of members at Appendix D) was formed in 2011 to manage the review of the current DAIP 2007–2011. This group of senior staff, all critical to the success of the 2007–2011 DAIP, has helped to inform the development of the 2012–2017 DAIP, providing valuable input regarding the strategies, priorities and timelines.

Review process

Curtin decided on an external five-year review. In April 2011, we contracted E-QUAL Disability Consultants to review our 2007–2011 DAIP, and to assist in the development of a new DAIP that would comply with the legislative requirements of the Act and guide the University’s work to ensure equitable access to our buildings, facilities, information, services and events for people with a disability over the next five years.

The consultants developed the methodology for the review in consultation with the DAIPIC and the DAIP Review Reference Group. The methodology included examination of:

  • Curtin’s current DAIP 2007–2011
  • DAIP progress reports to the DSC and for its Annual Report
  • other relevant documents, plans and strategies
  • literature on the changes to disability legislation
  • contemporary and developing trends, and best practice in access and inclusion – particularly in other universities.

Consultation process

Curtin staff, students and visitors, and the Western Australian public were invited to take part in the consultation to comment on our progress to date, and to identify any access and inclusion barriers or potential strategies to be incorporated in the new plan.

The consultation, conducted from July to September 2011, was advertised or promoted:

  • in The West Australian on Saturday 27 August 2011
  • in the community Southern Gazette
  • to all staff and students via email, blog and on the Curtin homepage
  • by direct offer of an interview to staff and students who had identified their interest in contributing, and to all DAIPIC and DAIP Review Reference Group members.

The consultation included:

  • meetings and consultation with key contacts including the DAIPIC and DAIP Review Reference Group
  • individual interviews with staff
  • web-based surveys for staff, students and visitors, using Survey Monkey
  • focus groups for students.

A total of 94 students and visitors and 76 staff contributed to the consultation.

At the conclusion of the consultation period, Curtin provided feedback on its Disability Services website, and also communicated directly with people who had requested a reply.

DAIP 2007–2011 consultation and review results

E-QUAL’s full report, Curtin University Report on the Disability Access and Inclusion Plan: Review and Consultation 15 November 2011 was tabled with the DSC on 23 March 2012.

The report’s executive summary finds that:

Curtin has many strategies to improve access to its facilities and services for people with disabilities, but barriers to full access and inclusion are still being experienced. These include lack of information regarding level of access to Bentley Campus locations and buildings; difficult and hazardous wayfinding around Bentley Campus; emergency evacuation of people with disabilities; concerns about development and use of Curtin Access Plans; difficulty finding information and resources for people with disabilities at Curtin; access to iLectures and some software, including Student One; insufficient staff awareness and skills to provide support for people with disabilities; access to Curtin’s complaints and consultation processes; and concerns with recruitment practices for people with disabilities.

The review also found that Curtin has an opportunity to be a leader in this field and to become a benchmark in access and inclusion for other universities, due to its staff and student commitment to an inclusive university community, its voluntary Universal Design Reference Group, and to its staff with internationally recognised, relevant knowledge and expertise.

Australia is currently experiencing many changes in disability policy. In WA, alignment with the Disability Service Commission’s state-wide blueprint ‘Count Me In – Disability Future Directions’ strategy provides further opportunities for forward-thinking access and inclusion initiatives at Curtin. Curtin is on track to demonstrate excellence in universal design; to explore new initiatives, including Australian university leadership in the inclusion of people with an intellectual disability as students and employees; and to accommodate our ageing community as staff and students through an academic focus on ageing in Curtin courses.

Curtin has implemented many initiatives to help ensure access and inclusion for people with a disability. These include:

  • significant contribution to disability research, particularly through the Centre for Research into Disability and Society and the Centre for Research on Ageing
  • a number of plans, policies and procedures to address the barriers experienced by people with a disability
  • an endorsed Accessible Information policy, with staff education rollout underway
  • research reports, guidelines and procedures relating to the experience of students with a disability, mental health problems and medical conditions
  • regular disability awareness training for staff, including Mental Health First Aid workshops
  • investigations into the ‘inherent requirements’ of university courses (2000, 2002), which remain definitive and current references in today’s national discussion
  • an IT audit of Curtin corporate applications and public websites to test accessibility and to determine readiness for the WACG.20 compliance requirement
  • establishment of a Universal Design Reference Group made up of volunteer Curtin staff and students
  • development of inclusive curricula, and integration of principles of inclusion and universal design into Curtin’s Teaching and Learning Enabling Plan and the Teaching and Learning Handbook
  • an inaugural universal design competition open to all Curtin students and staff, judged on ideas that could be implemented at Curtin
  • a streamlined process for sourcing or providing e-book reference material
  • ongoing physical access audit of buildings on the Bentley Campus
  • program of physical access improvements in new buildings and refurbishments
  • additional parking facilities, new graded pathways, new automated doorways, new lifts, rest areas and signage
  • online alerts sent regarding works being carried out on campus
  • Curtin Properties consultation with Disability Services staff regarding physical access
  • mobility training around campus by the Association for the Blind of Western Australia
  • an accessible bus on the Bentley campus
  • the use of a golf cart by security staff to provide assistance or transport
  • an electric mobility scooter for temporary use by students, staff or visitors
  • counselling and disability support
  • personal Curtin Access Plans developed by Disability Advisers with the student, used to request reasonable adjustments with academic staff while maintaining confidentiality about disability or condition
  • peer mentors and peer tutors
  • assistive technology/software for students and staff
  • an inaugural Staff Disability Adviser position, created to support staff with a disability
  • the contracting of Work Focus (employment service) to assist with recruitment of people with a disability.

Specifically, recommendations relating to the structure and content of the DAIP to meet legislative obligations and good practice are that:

  • the DAIP 2012–2017 is compliant with the Act
  • the expected amendment to the Act regarding equitable employment of people with disabilities is provided for. Curtin has had a voluntary Outcome 7 (employment) for many years, and will continue to focus on achieving best practice in recruitment and employment of people with a disability
  • strategies not achieved or ongoing from the previous plan be rolled over into the DAIP 2012–2017, if still relevant
  • the DAIP contains examples of achievements so far.

The results of the review have guided the development of our DAIP 2012–2017.

Communicating the DAIP 2012–2017

Curtin will advertise the availability of the DAIP to the WA public in The West Australian newspaper and thereafter make it available online via:

  • The Unilife website
  • staff professional development programs
  • staff induction programs
  • Curtin’s A–Z index, accessed through the main Curtin homepage
  • student newsletters.

The DAIP 2012–2017 will be made available in alternative formats such as electronic, audio tape or Braille, on request from a person with a disability.