ESS Training Officer Grace Robertson writes about how we aim to ensure that the support we offer is relevant and accessible to all.
At Evaluation Support Scotland we are privileged to work in a vibrant and dynamic sector with colleagues who deliver an enormous range of different activities and interventions, and who support our communities to improve lives and address needs. Just as diverse as the organisations themselves are the people who make up the third sector, and we want to ensure that the support we offer is relevant and accessible to all. In this blog I’ll reflect on the thinking we have done in the past year on how we can make our services work better for everyone in the third sector; their skills, assets and abilities, and how they learn best.
Generally our feedback about how we support people to learn from workshops and at events is positive, however we have had some feedback in the past year that we could do more to ensure that everyone who attends is included and receives information in a way that is accessible to them. In response to this we have reviewed our accessibility policies and procedures to try to make them work better in the future.
We have drawn on the experience of others in the sector and good practice guidance available, as well as our own internal learning. We know that we could always improve and welcome advice or reflections from the sector. We also acknowledge there are simple changes we can make which benefit everyone; for example, being aware of noise pollution and talking through slides with written information and not expecting people to read through it themselves.
We have made some changes to the ways we ask about people’s access needs when they book on to our workshops and events, and now when people let us know they have an access need we proactively contact them so we can better understand exactly what participants’ needs are and help them to anticipate what might happen in a tailored support or workshop. When booking venues, we think about dignified access, not just technical access. We have added information to our website about what people can expect when they come along to our Let’s Evaluate workshops, and we are more conscious of making this clear when organising 1:1 work with organisations.
We have more ongoing work to review our equality and diversity policy and equality impact assessment which we are doing with support from our Board. We have reflected that we have different options for meeting evaluation support needs and whilst some people’s access needs might be better suited to different options, participant access needs should never be a barrier to receiving evaluation support.
For more information on what to expect at our workshops, click here.