How the BBC uses disability passports to support workplace inclusion

The BBC has recently developed Workplace Disability Passports to make it easier for staff to move from project to project, which if you work in production could be every few months. The passports let new managers know what adjustments an employee may need and how they can help.

This is one of the discussion points from our recent Accessibility Insights webinar with guest interviewee, Emma Pratt Richens, Accessibility Specialist at the BBC.

She spoke with AbilityNet's Head of Digital Inclusion, Robin Christopherson MBE as part of our Accessibility Insights webinars series.

Annie Mannion, Robin Christopherson and Emma Pratt Richens speaking to camera during webinar recording - screenshot

Webinar highlights

Emma also discussed the BBC's good practices around working from home during the pandemic, particularly for meeting the needs of people with disabilities on the team.

"We already had quite a flexible way of working to allow for people within our team to work in a way that worked for them. And so having everybody working from home a hundred percent of the time has just validated that I think," said Emma.

Other topics covered included the need for accessibility training in education settings and the BBC Accessibility Champions network, in which Emma played a key developmental role.


Watch the webinar recording

You can also download the transcript and listen to the podcast version of this webinar.

Q&A highlights from the webinar

Emma provided a range of answers to some of the questions posed by attendees during the webinar - you can find them in full on the webinar recording page, but here are some highlights:

Q: I would be very interested to learn about the network of accessibility champions at the BBC, how you set it up, if it's a voluntary role, what they do, etc.

Emma Pratt Richens: The BBC Accessibility Champions network are volunteers from the various digital teams. They champion accessibility within the role they do and teams they work in. The team I’m part of support them with resources and training, so they can learn more about accessibility and share that with colleagues, and when needed they can request direct technical advice. To some extent the BBC had champions long before the term was used for them. The network kicked off about seven years ago and took a few years to grow to the numbers we have today, so we adjusted and adapted along the way and continue to do so. The champions are our eyes, ears and voices across the organisation, and have been fundamental to significant cultural changes.

Q: As I have a moderately severe hearing loss I not infrequently find it at best unsatisfactory and often impossible to hear some radio programmes which have a background of music. What are the expectations placed on producers to monitor this issue?

EPR: I don’t know what expectations there are on producers. However, I do know of a neat Research & Design project that was looking into a user control that adjusted the audio balance. You can read about it on the BBC website.

Accessibility Insights webinars with the experts

Our next Accessibility Insights free webinar takes place on 4 May 2021, 1pm BST. We have invited the two co-founders of the upcoming annual Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) event, Jennison Asuncion and Joe Devon to join us.

Join our next Accessibility Insights session >>

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