Preparation of our Disability Access and Inclusion Plan (DAIP) 2017 – 2020
To prepare this DAIP, our last DAIP 2012-2017 was reviewed, as required under the West Australian Disabilities Services Act 1993. Curtin contracted E-QUAL Disability Consultants to undertake this review, in close collaboration with the Curtin DAIP Review Steering Group. The review included examination of Curtin’s DAIP 2012–2017, DAIP progress reports, Curtin’s Strategic Plan 2017–2020, disability legislation, contemporary trends and best practice in access and inclusion.
The review report noted many areas where Curtin demonstrated leadership and commitment to improve access for people with disability to its facilities and services. The review also identified opportunities for Curtin to further enhance access and inclusion. A full report on the review is available from the Director Student Experience.
Some of the examples of Curtin’s achievements since the last DAIP include:
- Curtin’s Specialist Mentoring Program for students on the autism spectrum
- Curtin Mentoring Program for students with disability
- participation in the Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism Spectrum Disorder and the social enterprise Autism Academy for Software Quality Assurance, with the latter launched in 2016 and located at Curtin’s Innovation Central Perth at Curtin Perth. Both initiatives are the first of their kind in Australia
- greater collaboration and service provision between the Centre for Aboriginal Studies and Counselling and Disability Services
- integration of the principles of inclusion and universal design into Curtin’s teaching and learning
- increased senior executive interest and support for Curtin to become a centre of excellence in universal design
- improved method of capturing complaints about access and inclusion
- improved iLectures system with screen reader accessibility and captions on request
- developed ‘Guidelines for providing information in alternative formats for people with disability’
- developed Curtin Procurement Procedures which includes information regarding the WA Disability Services Act’s 1993 special clause for contracts, and agent and contractor requirements to report to Curtin
- improvements to the web content management procurement process, ensuring that accessibility compliance is an essential functional requirement
- improved advice for web content developers and software vendors regarding accessibility standards
- the development of Universal Design Guidelines – Built Form, an Australian university-first, to inform, guide and support the development of a physical environment that is welcoming and inclusive for all people
- a large program of works to address access and inclusion issues in existing buildings and facilities
- regular disability awareness training for staff
- the appointment of two part-time disability advisers to provide resources and support to staff with disability
- increased collaboration with the Department of Communities through the preparation of a series of audio-visual material regarding universal design and intended for use as an academic resource for students. This builds on the Housing Industry Association’s ‘Liveable Housing Project’.
The review also involved extensive consultation with staff, students and visitors, including agents and contractors, to identify Curtin’s progress and where improvements could be made. The consultation was advertised in The West Australian, on the Curtin website, on Curtin FM 100.1 and via staff and student websites and social media channels.
The consultation included:
- meetings and consultation with the DAIP Review Steering Group
- interviews with individual staff
- a web-based survey (with alternative formats available) for staff, students and visitors, in collaboration with Curtin’s Market and Institutional Research team.
In total, 68 students and visitors and 70 staff contributed to the consultation. The total number of student respondents reflects the tight consultation period which unavoidably coincided with the study period and exams timeline. Feedback was received regarding policies and procedures, services, buildings and facilities, information, staff training, our complaints process, public consultations and Curtin events. Further consultation was offered to 63 students in March 2017 regarding the universal design content in the draft DAIP. All the above feedback has been incorporated into our strategies for the new DAIP. A full report of the consultation findings is available from the Director Student Experience.
Some of the suggestions for improvement received in the consultation included:
- increased involvement of people with disability in addressing barriers, and increased representation of people with disability on boards and committees across Curtin
- specific improvements to identified buildings and facilities
- improved way finding at Curtin Perth
- an affirmative action in employment policy
- a common language of access and inclusion to be developed and promoted
- Curtin to expand its commitment to access and inclusion, and universal design for all staff, students and visitors, regardless of location or mode of study
- the inclusion of universal design principles and practices in the new DAIP
- for the DAIP to go beyond just compliance.
Promotion of our DAIP
Once completed and endorsed Curtin will advertise the availability of the DAIP 2017–2020 in The West Australian, make it available on the Curtin website and include it in staff development and induction programs. The DAIP will be made available in alternative formats including electronic format, Word version, hard copy format in standard or large print, audio or other formats including email, on request. The DAIP will also be available on the Australian Human Rights Commission website as an action plan to address the requirements of the federal Disability Discrimination Act 1992.