Welcome to EMBED: A collaboration for a fresh approach to inclusive practice in the Heritage Sector

DCN and Embed Logos

Since 2015, DCN has developed relationships with professionals across industries and sectors. 

The biggest learning from this is collaboration is key, learning from other organisations and sectors about what it takes to create sustainable change in embedding inclusion and accessibility.  

DCN are now taking this to the next level – Disability Collaborative Network C.I.C is now a member of EMBED – a recently founded consortium of professional independent consultants that offer in excess of 30 years’ experience in the development and cultural transformation of organisations across private sector including corporate, public sector and charitable sector.

Working together our goal is to support museums and heritage organisations of whatever size and budget to develop and deliver sustainable business change, change that shifts the culture of an organisation to becoming inclusive for its employees, voluntary staff, and visitors.  

Ultimately we aim to empower organisations to become more disability confident, identify and remove and to increase and support disabled and neurodivergent people working and being part of all sectors.

Sarah Simcoe, Director of DMS (Wirral) Ltd and Founder of EMBED, was in conversation with Becki Morris about what EMBED is all about and what opportunities it presents for the Heritage Sector:

What is your background Sarah?

For over 25 years I worked for finance and IT organisations supporting the delivery of operations and services for private and public sectors. Throughout my time in those businesses I certainly became a Jill of all trades, you name it and I’ve probably done it.  But what I became known for was strategy, transformation and organisational change, and in particular how equality, diversity, inclusion and accessibility form an intrinsic part of that activity. My passion is people and supporting other organisations to offer the most inclusive environment possible, an environment where we enable and empower our people, deliver the best service to our customers and understand our impact on society.

Why did you set up EMBED?

I left the world of corporate early in 2018 after making the decision to work full time in the Diversity and Inclusion space. Pretty quickly my views were confirmed, that often it can be difficult for some organisations and sectors to access the services that consultants like me offer.  This can be because it is too expensive, or it can be overwhelming if huge change is being suggested or the buy-in from the organisation isn’t quite there. So with that in mind, I got the thinking cap on around how I can change that, from my small part of the world, how can I make a difference to those organisations. 

That’s were EMBED was born – EMBED is a consortium of professional independent consultants that offer in excess of 30 years’ experience in the development and cultural transformation of organisations across private sector including corporate, public sector and charitable sector.  This transformation and cultural change, at its core, is about equality, diversity, inclusion and accessibility.

The core purpose of EMBED is to offer a cost effective cross-sector expert based model that is able to call on sector or topic specific experts to work with clients.  Our EMBED model offers an informed, structured and planned approach to embedding real change. One size does not fit all, and we take a user-led and business-led approach to ensuring that each piece of work we deliver is fully aligned to the needs and constraints of that particular organisation.

What does it mean for the Heritage Sector?

For those of you working in the Heritage Sector having access to DCN already gives you a blueprint for working towards better, innovative access for disabled visitors and inclusive policies and practices for disabled employees. Now that DCN has become part of the EMBED Consortium we can help Heritage Sector members to understand the interplay between disability inclusion and other equality strands such as Gender and LGBTQ+. It also provides you with an opportunity to learn from best practice across other sectors – learning from each other and collaboration really are important tools for change and so with our unique approach to offering cross-sector expertise, we aim to leverage that as part of your journey towards inclusion and accessibility.

We are a tiny museum with limited funds, how can EMBED support us?

With any piece of work we start with understanding where you are today and where you feel you need to get to; this will include your challenges and constraints including working with very limited budgets.  We will then work with you to build an appropriate programme of work that feels appropriate, achievable and cost effective.

If you are interested in how EMBED can support you organisation do get in touch via info@musedcn.org.uk and check out the website https://embed.org.uk/

DCN Website

Disability Collaborative Network

Since DCNs launch in 2015, DCN has grown links to the corporate sector, organisations, Government and the Heritage Sector.  

DCN has evolved as a strategy organisation.  It has outgrown its website and its not as accessible as it can be.  

DCN is putting together a plan for a new website which will be:

WCAG AA in Accessibility Standards

A new look and offer for contributors, so we can collectively raise the profile of inclusive practice across the UK and around the world.

There will be more to be added to this list, including testing.  

DCN would be interested to know your suggestions and welcome feedback to the current website.   Please email via info@musedcn.org.uk

Museum Hour: Dyslexia

Disability Collaborative Network

These are responses and further information to the questions given on MuseumHour on Monday 7 October 2019.

Neurodivergent people are innovative and creative thinkers. What can we do to inspire these creative minds to work in the Heritage Sector?

There are articles about how creativity and innovation come from the edge of business.

This is needed to keep businesses and the changing user experience relevant to society. 

The organisation doesn’t do this due to fear or lack of confidence, then the sector or the business is in trouble for not moving forward and at risk of becoming irrelevant.

Useful Resources:

Ref Neurodiversity and Creativity Go Hand in Hand:  (Advertising Week) https://www.advertisingweek360.com/neurodiversity-and-creativity-go-hand-in-hand/

Universal Music Group: https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/universal-music-ceo-david-joseph-why-im-standing-up-for-difference-a4174601.html T

Prof Maggie Snowling and Michael Rosen: https://dyslexiclibrary.com/2019/02/13/why-we-need-to-name-dyslexia-bbc-interview-with-professor-maggie-snowling/

What do you think are the barriers of dyslexic people working in the Heritage Sector?

Some organisations within the Heritage Sector are support neurodivergent people often through flexible working practices, recognition of the individuals’ strengths and development of good management practice. 

However, it is a postcode lottery in identifying who and where these organisations are. 

It is important for museums to establish good working practice which can benefit the entire team and relate directly to the social model, where social barriers need to be recognised, acknowledged and removed. 

Less should be concentrated on the medical model which relates to the individuals responsible for their condition, whereas it may be the organisation which is placing the barriers to the person’s performance.

There are a number of factors in the corporate sector that support neurodivergent people as well as the entire team, such as passport recruitment style processes, with good working practices such as opportunities to plan and good communication.

Useful Resources: 

EMBED https://embed.org.uk/about

AchieveAbility: Neurodiverse Voices: Opening Doors to Employment Report: https://www.achieveability.org.uk/files/1518955206/wac-report_2017_interactive-2.pdf

This report was consulted with neurodivergent people and focuses on the barriers to employment with recommendations. 

ClearTalents is an award-winning online passport solution that supports organisations with recruitment and retention of staff. 

Link to website is here: https://cleartalents.info/

 A person does not need to identify as disabled or neurodivergent, instead everyone in the organisation at all levels creates a passport to identify any reasonable adjustments they would benefit from. 

It covers all of the 9 Protected Characteristics including childcare provision, carer responsibilities, chronic illness, temporary disability as well as developmental disability and neurodiversity.   

Data is collected anonymously and shows the growth of diversity in the workforce of the organisation and be collated overall to the sector. 

This could support how we collect and collate data as well as support in increasing diversity and inclusion in recruitment and retention of disabled and neurodivergent talent.  

If you are interested in knowing more, do get in touch via info@musedcn.org.uk 

CIPD: Neurodiversity At Work: https://www.cipd.co.uk/Images/neurodiversity-at-work_2018_tcm18-37852.pdf

What do you think are the barriers of dyslexic people visiting museums?

There is a strong emphasis currently on condition led processes within museums which mean the person may need to declare their neurodiversity in order to facilitate services such as audio guides or coloured lens.  This shouldn’t be the case and it is easier to have these as a general offer than specific for audiences. 

Sensory Processing Difficulties (sensitivity to light, touch and noise) affects people with Dyspraxia, AD(H)D and Autism.  So, a person with both dyslexia and dyspraxia profiles may have this trait.

It is important for museums to consider their space holistically as well as specific timed offers.  Often people want to visit in their own time, but need to know what information before the visit and enable them to manage the space.

What can we do to reduce barriers with dyslexic people visiting museums?

Its important for museums and the heritage sector as a whole to recognise that not everyone in society will know if they are dyslexic or other neurodivergent profiles.  It is costly for diagnosis and particularly with dyslexia, it is not available via the NHS.  This means that some people may not have the funds to do this, which can impact socially and economically in terms of earning power and the job market. Educational underachievement, (which often means the person does not get sufficient support within the formal education system) costs the economy £1.2 billion per year.

Therefore, if museums are seen as text-based, academic places this can be difficult for people to visit.  Therefore, it is important for museums to consider what interpretation they have in terms of audio guides, audio/visual, graphics and interactives.

Don’t expect people to declare any struggles, as it is highly embarrassing to the person and reflective of past stigma.  Instead, focus on strengths. 

Guidance for text is available via https://www.musedcn.org.uk/2017/01/12/accessible-text-standards-uk/ 

DCN can also offer organisations support in relation to text and interpretation.

Dyslexia has been known for over 100 years, why do you think dyslexic narratives are so low in museum collections?

It’s important to recognise that there are curators and museum staff who are neurodivergent and there have been key research on the history of neurodiversity by Jess Starns, T.R. Miles and Professor Maggie Snowling.

Key articles include:  Prof Maggie Snowling ‘History of Dyslexia Project’ https://dyslexiclibrary.com/2017/11/23/ask-the-expert-maggie-snowling-and-the-history-of-dyslexia-project/

A Brief History of Dyslexia https://dyslexiahistory.web.ox.ac.uk/brief-history-dyslexia

I Am Dyslexic by Thom Davies. This is an excellent film which tells about people’s stories about diagnosis and their lives and occupation choices (contains flashing images)  https://youtu.be/ETlFiOjE8rI

Other Films about Dyslexia:

Don’t Call Me Stupid by Kara Tointon. 
This is an excellent film on Kara’s world with dyslexia.
Part 1: https://youtu.be/L7cfD0PMV84

Part 2: https://youtu.be/vTvsYXrVzfk

Part 3: https://youtu.be/Hajus7Mkzok

Dyslexia and Comedy:  Liz Miele https://youtu.be/lrB58XWpnX8


Becki Morris is a late-diagnosis neurodivergent (dyslexic/dyspraxic) and has worked within the field of neurodiversity for 9 years.  She has worked with Leicester University School of Museum Studies, the National Trust, Universal Music Group and various museums of all sizes and budgets in relation to neurodiversity.

Becki is a Trustee of AchieveAbility and was part of the advocacy group for Neurodiverse Voices: Opening the Doors to Employment (2018).  Becki has membership of the Dyslexia Adult Network which is a group of the major charities and advocates for adults with neurodiversity. She is a Trustee for StageText and Lead Volunteer for Dig-It, Tamworth an organisation supporting families and adults with dyslexia and other neurodivergent profiles.

Becki is part of the EMBED Consortium https://embed.org.uk/about and is a member of the All Parliamentary Party Group for Dyslexia.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Disability Collaborative Network

We have tips, case studies, information for inclusive practice in the service provision, working practice and workforce in museums and heritage organisations. These can be of any size, stakeholders and budget.

If you would like to subscribe to our newsletter, email us via info@musedcn.org.uk or DM us via our twitter handle @museumDCN


Disability Collaborative Network


Monday, 01 April 2019


The Disability Collaborative Network welcomed Equality and Diversity heads, Human Resources staff from Museums and Heritage Organisations to hear about an inclusive recruitment tool which supports employers and employees at all levels across the 9 Protective Characteristics. 

For the Heritage Sector, this means a person does not need to identify as disabled or neurodivergent, instead everyone in the organisation creates an online passport to identify any reasonable adjustments they would benefit from. It covers all of the 9 Protected Characteristics including childcare provision, carer responsibilities, chronic illness, temporary disability as well as developmental disability and neurodiversity.   

Data is collected anonymously and shows the growth of diversity in the workforce of the organisation and be collated overall to the sector.

ClearTalents At Work has enabled reductions in staff sickness by 1 day per employee per year. Both ClearTalents in Recruitment and ClearTalents At Work schemes have increased disclosure from 5% to 65%.

ClearTalents At Work supports DSE assessment. The passport has also been used as recruitment and retention (on boarding) tool for apprenticeships and traineeships.

If you would like to know more or would like to hear further information, do get in touch with info@musedcn.org.uk 


Further Information:


DCN was founded by museum professionals in 2015 as an online resource tool for museums and heritage organisations of all sizes, budgets and stakeholders in respect to standards, case studies and information regarding inclusive practice in service provision, workforce and working practice in the sector as a whole.  

Since 2015, we have expanded to connect across sectors, organisations, agencies and individuals in respect to collaboration and best practice for disabled and neurodivergent people.  This includes Central Government, Digital provision, Corporate, Third and Creative Sectors where we have membership of working groups to develop projects, supported initiatives and sharing knowledge with the Heritage Sector.

Becki Morris, Director of Disability Collaborative Network C.I.C.
Email: becki.morris@musedcn.org.uk  Mob:  07455 896213   


For further information regarding ClearTalents go to https://cleartalents.info/

Contact Claire Jones Claire.jones@cleartalents.com 07825 166 136

DCN Review of the Year 2018

Disability Co-operative Network

2018 has been another busy year for DCN in raising the profile of inclusive practice and social barriers to engaging with cultural heritage.  We work to raise the profile and creating opportunities to collaborate and sharing knowledge through strategy, signposting and low-cost practice. This has included delivering talks at events, developing working relationships across sectors, mentoring, signposting and workshops.

We have supported reports for inclusive practice in the workplace including AchieveAbility’s Neurodiverse Voices: Opening the Doors to Employment  https://www.achieveability.org.uk/files/1518955206/wac-report_2017_interactive-2.pdf  as well as attended the report launch of the Westminster Commission on Autism report on ‘fake therapies for autism’ and appeared on Ambitious about Autism Jack Welch’s podcast Episode 11: Autism in Museums with Claire Madge and Mark Barrett.
This link directs to all episodes to Ambitious about Autism podcasts https://bit.ly/2Iz3tQk

DCN has also appeared in ‘I Am Dyslexic’ a crowd-funded film on personal narratives from dyslexic adults on their own journeys through their careers to school-aged children Here is the link: https://youtu.be/ETlFiOjE8rI

We have also been part of talks in relation to the Government Digital Service on website accessibility link for resources and tools here https://bit.ly/2QrTPne and have attended London Accessibility Meet up on inclusive design in technology. We continue to have good relationships with organisations and forums in relation to inclusive technology in particular open source software and tools.

We’ve spoken at a number of events about our work including Cambridge and Oxford Universities, MAP conference on language on the importance of cross-sectoral, intersectional practice and strategy in relation to inclusive practice.  We have also spoken at conferences including ACAS regarding inclusive practice in the workplace.  We have also delivered workshops for a number of agencies including West Midlands Museum Development Annual Conference ‘Solve to Evolve’ and Cultural Inclusion Conference by Every Child Should.

We’ve delivered workshops for West Midlands Museum Development conference and Cultural Inclusion conference, Access for All Areas (Shared Care Scotland) in Scotland on barriers to text and practical advice in reducing barriers to engagement.

We’ve also launched our first informal meet up for Disability Confident scheme in partnership with the Natural History Museum where we had representatives from the V&A, DDCMS, Tate and as well as us and NHM.

Our next event is on the topic of Accessible and Changing Places toilets on 18 January, where we will host with Tate Modern and will have talks and discussions in respect to design, function and need of accessible and Changing Places toilets with families and individuals who as part of the 250,000 who need them.  Link for tickets are here: https://bit.ly/2SB0Ym7

During 2018 we have supported museums of all budgets in encouraging and developing community consultation groups with respect to access strategy and development.

We are part of a working group in relation to inclusive practice in the workplace as well as our own Neurodiverse Museum Professionals Network and Disabled Staff Network and have been in discussions with relevant policyholders, organisations and champions.

DCN is developing projects collaborating with relevant partners for 2019 with respect to service provision and workforce.

We will be regularly updating our website with free resources, information and case studies in 2019. We will also be sharing some exciting news in 2019.

If you are interested in our work and would like to be involved, do email us via info@musedcn.org.uk and keep regularly updated by following @museumDCN


New Law on Website Accessibility (inc. NHLF projects)

Disability Co-operative Network

New law to replace EU Directive on Website Accessibility

  • Are you planning a digital project which involves an app or a website?
  • Are you funded by Government (local authority, national etc).
  • Are you aware that the EU Directive on website accessibility is now UK Law?

What is happening?

There is now a law for website accessibility in the UK.  These are called ‘The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No.2) Accessibility Regulations 2018’ and implement the EU Directive on the accessibility of public sector websites and mobile applications.

If you are an organisation which is funded by Government (National, Local Government), it is expected that your website should reach WCAG 2.1 AA or European Equivalent EN 301 549.

The Government Digital Service have provided resources and sharing opportunities to support organisations to do this. These resources have links to meet ups and information, which you can find on this post.
We at DCN are also here to support you in setting up user groups and help you create and implement your access into your organisation.

Further information Government Digital Service:  https://gds.blog.gov.uk/2018/09/24/how-were-helping-public-sector-websites-meet-accessibility-requirements/

Government Digital Service:  What does Accessibility Mean?

Ok, how long have I got?

There are key dates to consider in relation to this law:
You, as an organisation need to comply from 23 September 2019.
All existing public sector websites (this includes any externally funded community projects by a Government funded i.e. public sector organisation) by 22 September 2020.  All mobile applications by 22 June 2021.

What’s coveredDeadline to comply with the regulations
New public sector websites (published after 22 September 2018)22 September 2019
All other public sector websites22 September 2020
Public sector mobile applications22 June 2021

Source: https://gds.blog.gov.uk/2018/09/24/how-were-helping-public-sector-websites-meet-accessibility-requirements/

What do I have to do?

Meet the accessibility standard and provide an access statement (there will be a template for this in early 2019).

Scroll to ‘How to do this and how GDS can help’ via this link https://bit.ly/2qrL4ya on information regarding procurement and evaluation.

Check your website:  Does it reach the AA standard?
There are resources on this post to help you.  Also it is important test your website via a user group.

We at DCN can support you with developing user groups and there are companies such as Ability Net and those listed in resources that can help you.

Write an access statement for your website.

There will be a template available in early 2019.  Subscribe to https://gds.blog.gov.uk/subscribe/ for further details.

I’ve used a consultant, and it says some does, some doesn’t.  What shall I do?

Your organisation needs to provide an access statement to tell the web visitor the areas that don’t meet AA standard and where they can get tools and information in order to make it to AA.

Ensure that your digital project has accessibility from the pre-planning and throughout the project, enabling time to test with users. See link: https://www.gov.uk/service-manual/technology/testing-for-accessibility

What happens if I don’t?

There are opportunities here to develop your website offer to increase engagement to your organisation.  Your organisation may be in breach of the Equality Act 2010.

There are specific tasks that are low cost and simple such as captioning and use of accessibility settings on social media: https://www.musedcn.org.uk/2017/11/19/captioning-your-films-and-videos-stagetext/ and using captions on Youtube https://www.musedcn.org.uk/2018/06/07/how-to-be-more-accessible-on-social-media-snapchat-vimeo/

Organisations using tweetdeck:  https://9to5mac.com/2018/07/03/tweetdeck-image-descriptions/

Using podcasts? Each podcast should have a script, remember to transcribe this as part of your online offer.
There is also new software that transcribes audio information which is available online.  Ensure to check for accuracy.

Resources: Government Resources for Accessibility

Join the government accessibility google group

Over 800 civil servants with an interest in accessibility from over 50 government departments, agencies and organisations:

Accessibility community

> Accessibility Community Google Group

Upcoming accessibility regulations

Accessibility requirements for public sector websites and apps

Read the accessibility guidance in the Service Manual


Making your service accessible: an introduction


  1. Meet level AA of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) as a minimum

Understanding WCAG 2.0

Testing for accessibility

  1. Work on the most commonly used assistive technologies

Testing with assistive technologies

  1. Include people with disabilities in user research

Running research sessions with people with disabilities

A team responsibility

What each role does in a service team

US Gov: Accessibility for teams

Guidance for User Researchers

Find user research participants

Write a recruitment brief

Getting users’ consent for research

Choose a location for user research

Doing user research remotely by phone or video call

Using moderated usability testing

User research in discovery

User research in alpha

User research in beta

User research in live

Home Office Poster: Researching Access Needs – who to include when?

Guidance for Content Designers and Publishers

Writing for user interfaces

Writing for GOV.UK

Writing content for everyone (Blog)

How to create content that works well with screen readers (Blog)

How to make PDFs more accessible

Why GOV.UK content should be published in HTML and not PDF (Blog)

Guidance for Designers and Developers

Accessibility for developers: an introduction

Using progressive enhancement

Design Patterns

Improving accessibility with accessibility acceptance criteria (Blog)

What to do when

How the discovery phase works

How the alpha phase works

How the beta phase works

How the live phase works

Home Office Blog: Working together to achieve accessibility

Internal services

Services for government users

Getting help

Accessibility community

Understand common access needs early

Understanding disabilities and impairments: user profiles

GDS Accessibility Blog: Accessibility and Me Series

Home Office Posters: Dos and don’ts on designing for accessibility

Resources to help you design, build and test accessible interfaces

Design System

Introducing the GOV.UK Design System

GOV.UK Design System

Testing a website

How do automated accessibility checkers compare?

18F Accessibility Guide: Checklist

BBC: Accessibility and Testing with Assistive Technology

Creating the UK government’s accessibility empathy lab (blog)

Technology requirements

Technology Code of Practice

> Make things accessible

Learn more about accessibility

GDS Accessibility Blog

> What we mean when we talk about accessibility

> Consider the range of people that will use your product or service

Accessibility Community: Community Resources

Accessibility resources

Sign up for accessibility workshops

Cross-government events and training in the User-Centred Design Community: Accessibility

Come to the government accessibility meetups

The meetups happen every 3 – 4 months and are promoted in the Google Group

Write ups of previous events


Jess Starns is included in the Disability Power 100 list 2018

Dyspraxic Me

Jess Starns, founder of ‘Dyspraxic Me’ was announced as one of the most influential people with a disability in the UK at a reception at the South Bank Centre last night (Wednesday 17 October).

The Shaw Trust Disability Power 100 List is an annual publication of the 100 most influential disabled people in the UK. More than 700 nominations were received for the 100 places. The Disability Power 100 List is compiled by an independent judging panel, chaired by Kate Nash OBE. Kate is the world’s leading authority in ‘Networkology’ – the science behind the growth of workplace networks and resource groups. In 2007 she was awarded an OBE for services to disabled people. In 2013 she was appointed Ambassador to Disability Rights UK.

Jess set up Dyspraxic Me in 2013 as she couldn’t find any suitable support for young adults with dyspraxia offered practical help to develop skills – so she created the resource that she needed.

In November 2013 Jess received support from Fixers (ITV CSR programme) to make a resource book for other young adults with dyspraxia so they could set up their own support networks. Since then Jess has organised almost monthly workshops in London with practical and fun activities. Attendees can meet other people with dyspraxia and learn a wide variety of skills including cooking, sports, ballet, vlogging, and training to develop assertiveness and social skills.

Jess organises every aspect of the workshops from booking venues and finding experts to deliver the sessions, to updating the website, evaluating the events, and managing the budgets. Jess fundraises and has raised over £13,000 so far. She also organises a yearly Dyspraxia Awareness Week in October, and in November last year 2017 ‘Dyspraxic Me’ became a registered charity. Her work has already been recognised by Downing Street with a Points of Light Award.

Jess works at the British Museum as the Youth Volunteer Coordinator and is passionate about making museums inclusive. She is currently combining these interests with her masters degree in Inclusive Arts Practice. For her MA she’s researching how we interpret and curate the history of labelling people with specific learning difficulties (neurodiversity)

Jess, said “You don’t need to know everything, you just need to know how to find out the answer.”

Nick Bell, Interim Chief Executive of Shaw Trust – a charity helping to transform the lives of young people and adults across the UK and internationally, said: “Congratulations to Jess Starns. The judges were beyond impressed by the standard of nominations but selected the most influential people who are proving that disability or impairment is not a barrier to success. One of our aims for the Disability Power 100 list is to demonstrate to young people that they can achieve their ambitions. At Shaw Trust we work with government, local authorities and employers to support people overcome barriers which hold them back from achieving their potential.”

The full Shaw Trust Disability Power 100 List can be found on www.disabilitypower100.com

Glaring injustice: Scope launches campaign for equality as half of disabled people feel excluded from society

  • Half of disabled working age adults (49 per cent) feel excluded from society [1]
  • Two in five (41 per cent) of working age disabled people don’t feel valued by society [2]
  • Less than half (42 per cent) think the UK is a good place for disabled people [3]
  • Scope launches Disability Gamechanger campaign calling on everyone to show support
  • Premier League team to wear Scope-branded shirts this weekend to highlight campaign

Disability charity Scope has launched a campaign for equality and is urging everyone to show their support after new research revealed half of disabled people feel excluded from society.[1]

The findings have been published today in a report by Scope which reveals how undervalued and disconnected from society many disabled people feel. Based on Opinium polling of 2,000 working age disabled adults, the research reveals:

  • Two in five (41%) working age disabled people don’t feel valued by society [2]
  • Less than half (42 per cent) think the UK is a good place for disabled people [3]
  • Half of working age disabled adults (49 per cent) feel excluded from society because of their impairment or condition [1]

Further research carried out by BritainThinks for Scope identified five priority areas that need to be improved – public attitudes; employment; care, support and social connections; transport; and access to digital technology; [6]

The report contains five key recommendations to enable disabled people to have an equal chance to live the lives they choose:

  • Attitudes: The Government’s disability strategy group should have an explicit objective to improve attitudes and reduce prejudice towards disabled people
  • Work: Ensure disabled people can access specialist employment support on a voluntary basis, without it being a condition of receiving out-of-work benefits, and removing sanctions for disabled people.
  • Social care: Stabilise the existing system of support, social care must be reformed to meet the needs and aspirations of disabled people so that care and support better enables the ability to have a family life, work, engage with communities, and socialise. This can only happen if disabled people are involved at every stage of service design.
  • Public transport: Public transport systems need to be reformed to ensure that disabled passengers are treated fairly and equally. Alongside improvements to accessibility, disabled people should be able to travel without fear of negative attitudes from staff and other passengers and have access to straightforward routes for recourse if things go wrong.
  • Digital: Close the digital divide which exists today and ensure the next wave of digital innovation – what some are calling the Fourth Industrial Revolution – includes disabled people as a core consumer group.

Scope is calling on everyone – businesses, politicians and the public – to become Disability Gamechangers and share what they are doing to create equality for disabled people. Anyone working to challenge stigma and negative attitudes is a Disability Gamechanger. Change requires action at all levels in society and everyone can play their part.

To mark the campaign launch, Scope’s partner Virgin Media has donated its multi-million pound shirt sponsorship of Southampton Football Club to Scope for Saturday’s match (August 25) against Leicester City FC. Instead of the usual Virgin Media logo, the home team will wear a kit sporting the Scope logo.

Scope has also released a 60-second film charting the story of equality and human rights movements across the decades to inspire everyone to join the campaign. By working with others to build on the rich history of the disability rights movement, Scope wants the next chapter of the story to be about making equality for disabled people a reality.


The video is narrated by the charity’s Patron, TV presenter and award-winning disability rights campaigner Sophie Morgan, who was paralysed from the chest down in a car crash aged 18.

Anna Bird, Executive Director of Policy and Research at disability charity Scope, said:
“It’s a glaring injustice that half of disabled people feel excluded from our society.
“In the past century, we’ve seen action lead to dramatic changes in our society, but there is still a long way to go until all disabled people have an equal chance to live the lives they choose, free from barriers and low expectations.
“From poor attitudes to lack of focus from Government, and from being overlooked in the workplace to being humiliated on public transport, life for many disabled people is still much tougher than it needs to be. It’s time that changed.”This report and campaign are a call to action to anyone who supports disability equality. We’re urging everyone – Government, businesses, disabled people and non-disabled people – to become Disability Gamechangers and work together to achieve equality and fairness for disabled people.”


For more information please contact Laura Burnip in the Scope press office on 020 7619 7200 or email laura.burnip@scope.org.uk

For out-of-hours press enquiries please call 0784 3467 948.


1-5. Opinium research

Scope commissioned Opinium to conduct 2,000 online interviews with UK working age adults with long-term impairments or conditions between May 18 and 30 2018. A quota sampling method was used and the survey was conducted online.

6. BritainThinks research

BritainThinks conducted ethnographic interviews, qualitative workshops and an online community with over 60 disabled adults living in England and Wales between January and May 2018. A wide range of different impairment types were represented throughout the research.

Notes to Editors:

We’re Scope, the disability equality charity. We won’t stop until we achieve a society where all disabled people enjoy equality and fairness. For more information go to www.scope.org.uk


Sensing Culture: Resources and Information supporting blind or partially sighted visitors


Sensing Culture has been a three-year multi-partner project with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) as the lead partner, and funded by £438,900 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) with one mission at its heart – to remove the barriers that prevent blind and partially sighted people (BPS) from accessing their heritage.

It was born from an identified need within access organisations’, as well as the heritage sector at large, that more could and should be done to facilitate good museum experiences for people who experience sight loss.

Link to information, case studies and films here: https://www.sensingculture.org.uk/

AROUND THE TOILET: A research project report about what makes a safe and accessible toilet space (2018)

cropped sinks in public toilets

This new report was published in May 2018 and written as part of the AHRC funded Connected Communities project: ‘Around the Toilet’.

Around the Toilet has key findings taken in collaboration with groups of people between April 2015 to February 2018 in what makes an accessible toilet space.

The original consultation group consisted of people who identified as trans, queer and disabled, carers, parents, workers and people whose religious beliefs impacted on toilet use. As well as urban planners and architects in the context of environmental design.

Key Findings (from aroundthetoilet.com) include:

  • Toilet provision in the UK is currently inadequate for a wide range of people, due to both relational and functional flaws. We need more public toilets, more accessible designs, and different attitudes and ways of understanding the space and our fellow occupants.
  • Many trans and disabled people experience significant difficulties in accessing a safe, usable and comfortable toilet away from home.
  • Toilets labelled as ‘accessible’ are often in fact inaccessible for many disabled users for a range of reasons.
  • There is a lack of toilet research, particularly in the UK, which takes seriously trans people’s experiences of harassment and violence in binary gendered toilets.
  • There is a need for more all-gender toilet provision (sometimes known as ‘gender neutral’ toilets). This would benefit a range of people including: parents with children of a different gender; those who care for people of a different gender; some disabled people who have a personal assistant of a different gender; and some people whose gender is questioned in the toilet, including some trans and non-binary people (and, to a lesser extent, some cisgender people).
  • A ‘one size fits all’ approach to toilet design doesn’t work – there is no one toilet design to suit all users’ needs. Nevertheless, consideration of all users and moves towards improvement are crucial.

The report features potential solutions and designs, however as recommended in the report.  All designs must be in consultation with relevant agencies.

The full report is here:http://shura.shu.ac.uk/21258/1/Around%20the%20Toilet%20Report%20final%201.pdf



I Need Straws: The importance of the availability of plastic straws on request

There has been a great deal of discussion about banning single use plastic straws to reduce waste and toxins in our seas and oceans leading to environmental pollution.  A number of heritage organisations are now replacing plastic straws with paper straws in their cafes due to this reason.

By removing plastic straws we are excluding disabled people from being able to drink independently in our museum cafes.  Is this fair to exclude people, when there are other causes (wrapping, bags) too?

So, can we work together so our journals and magazines don’t arrive on our doorsteps wrapped in plastic?
Or can these be available online instead of printed?
For our meetings and conferences, can we print less?

Museum cafes have plastic straws available on request for people who need them.

Tourettes Hero, Jess Thom has written two excellent blog articles on the need for plastic straws in her day to day life.

Link: https://www.touretteshero.com/2018/03/19/the-straw-fan/  (read this article first)
Link: https://www.touretteshero.com/2018/07/11/ineedstraws/ (second article)

Penny Pepper, writer and Disability Activist has written for the Guardian on how plastic straws are vital to her and other disabled people.

BBC:  Plastic straw ban disadvantages disabled people, says Paralympian

Have you written a blog on how banning plastic straws will effect you? Do let us know via info@musedcn.org.uk



How to be more accessible on social media: Twitter, Snapchat, Vimeo

Disability Co-operative Network

These are a selection of tips for various social media platforms: Worth noting captions on Vimeo here and accessibility on snapchat.  If you know of anymore, do let us know via info@musedcn.org.uk

Guidance on various platforms




YouTube Captioning 

Auto-generating captions on Youtube are not accurate and therefore won’t be accessible to a number of audiences.
How to add your own captions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9cKgwnFIAw

This is another that is easy to follow: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJGiS83eQLk

Note: Stagetext have excellent guidance on how to produce captions for films which are available online.
You can find them here: https://www.musedcn.org.uk/2017/11/19/captioning-your-films-and-videos-stagetext/




Feeling The Future – Access To Arts and Culture For People with Visual Impairments Trizia Wells, Inclusion Manager at Eureka! The National Children’s Museum

Eureka Museum

Feeling the Future: Access to Arts and Culture for People with Visual Impairments tells how Eureka! has developed a series of sculpture workshops with partially sighted artist sculptor Lynn Cox and the artwork installation in February. There is also included Trizia’s recent visit to Bilbao in Spain with Traveleyes, which tells about tactile tours at the Bilbao’s Maritime Museum and Guggenheim Museum.

Link for the article is below:

First page of Feeling the Future Access to arts and Culture by Trizia Wells, Eureka
Feeling the Future – Access to Arts and Culture for People with Visual Impairments (click to download)

Global Accessibility Awareness Day: Live Art: Capturing Expressions with Tanya Raabe-Webber

Head and shoulders portrait of a person with Diversity written to the left side of the image


Click here for Tanya’s film about the event 

Join portrait artist Tanya Raabe-Webber in celebration of Global Accessibility Awareness Day. You’ll explore how talking with your subject and observing their movements can reveal their essence — even in the smallest motions. Then you’ll use iPad Pro, Apple Pencil and the Procreate app to capture the diversity of human expression, before playing your work back as animations.

Join Tanya on:
Thursday 17 May  6:30 pm – 8:00 pm at Apple Regent Street, London

Follow the hashtag #TodayatApple
Global Accessibility Awareness Day twitter feed: #gaad

Further details and directions are here: https://t.co/dPUx4YZBS0


Disabled Young People from across the Globe gathered at the First ever  ‘Commonwealth Disabled Youth Roundtable event’ during CHOGM in London

Include Me Too

Include Me TOO, a national (United Kingdom-based) charity celebrated their 10th Anniversary this year during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2018 held in London. During the CHOGM Summit the charity organised the first ever  Commonwealth DisabledYouth Roundtable Event as part of the ‘Commonwealth Include Me 2’ joint project led by Include Me TOO with the Commonwealth Youth Council to increase the inclusion, rights and participation for disabled children and young people from the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth Youth Council (CYC) represents 1.2 billion young people from across 53 countries of the Commonwealth

The roundtable event took place at the House of Lords as an official side event for the Commonwealth Forums Summit 2018 and hosted by The Hon Baroness Uddin and The Hon Lord Holmes.

‘It was a privilege to host the first ever Commonwealth Disabled Youth Event on behalf of CHOMG, given that 60 percent of the Commonwealth population is under the age of 30 years. Include Me TOO were instrumental in bringing together youth delegates from different parts of the world to the House of Lords as the event marked a step in the right direction for disabled youth to have a seat around the table and discuss issues that matter to them.’  said The Hon Baroness Uddin 

‘I was delighted to attend the Commonwealth Disabled Youth Roundtable event in Parliament this week.  The presentations given by the young people from across the Commonwealth were excellent and packed with insight.  They provided great hope for the future.’ said the Hon Lord Chris Holmes

Disabled young people representing Uganda,Tanzania, India, Sri Lanka, Australia, Botswana, Bangladesh and United Kingdom presented in topics which mattered to them and their peers, highlighting key issues impacting on disabled young people from their respective Commonwealth member countries. The focus was upon the Global Sustainable Development Goals ensuing disabled persons are not left behind. The presentations covered:

  • inclusive and fair quality education which promotes lifelong learning opportunities for disabled persons
  • addressing additional disadvantages disabled girls and women experience in particular when working towards their inclusion in the Gender Equality agenda
  • disabled persons and employment, improving access, support and negative attitudes in the workplace
  • highlighting key barriers and challenges disabled children and young people experience in Commonwealth communities regarding their rights, participation and inclusion
  • the importance of planning and implementing an inclusive accessible society, inc suitable toileting and changing places, inclusive playgrounds, sport and leisure facilities, public services.

‘It was a real privilege to hear directly from young people across the Commonwealth on the challenges and issues they face as young people with disabilities. I was inspired and moved by their personal journeys and the work they are now doing to seek justice and equality in their home countries. There were lots of important lessons and reflections to take forward to the DFID-hosted Global Disability Summit in July this year’ said Richard Boden (Deputy Team Leader and Summit Policy Lead, Disability Inclusion Team – Department for International Development)

‘The Commonwealth roundtable event, presented young people as change makers who have a clear understanding of the issues which impact them and their peers and solutions to increase disability inclusion, rights and participation for all. We are looking forward to working with disabled youth from across the Commonwealth strengthening their voices and impact on local and global issues including the Global Goals to be achieved by 2030 as well as the Disability Summit taking place this July 2018 in London with DFID. We will be working with our young ambassadors, disabled young activists and partners to establish the Commonwealth Disabled Youth Roundtable as a key component for future CHOMG’s summits.   said Parmi Dheensa – Include Me TOO Executive Director

During Commonwealth Head of Government Meeting they agreed on several issues regarding disability rights and inclusion:

  • Full social, economic and political participation of all including disabled persons recognising it is essential for democracy and sustainable development
  • Quality education and learning guided by the principle to leave no one behind, they agreed to support marginalised groups, which includes children with disabilities to progress through secondary education and training through appropriate policies, advocacy and strategic partnerships.
  • Address the stigma around disability in all its forms ensuring no one is left behind
  • Encouraging all member countries to ratify and implement the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Include Me TOO look forward to continuing working with disabled young people from across the Commonwealth to ensure their voices are heard and the issues which affect them are present on the agendas and discussions encouraging progressive action for disability inclusion and implementation of disabled persons rights.


Are you a young person aged 8-18 with a life-limiting/life-threatening impairment (LL/LTI?) Interested in taking part in a two-day Arts Retreat & explore your experiences of disability & try and learn different art forms?

purple patch arts

Are you a young person aged 8-18 with a life-limiting/life-threatening impairment (LL/LTI?) Interested in taking part in a two-day Arts Retreat & explore your experiences of disability & try and learn different art forms?
For more information go to

Event: BDA: Promoting Neurodiversity in the Workplace: Networking for Success!

British Dyslexia Association

Date: 28th June 2018, 9.30am – 4pm

Venue:  BRE, Bucknalls Lane, Watford, WD25 9NH  (There is limited parking onsite)

Information about this informative event:
The British Dyslexia Association with Dyslexia Science, Engineering and Technology, are delighted to announce an Adult Conference and Organisational Member’s Day, hosted by BRE.  All are welcome to this informative day!

This conference will explore how individuals can celebrate and accentuate their Neurodiverse talents and explore how those in the workplace can develop Neurodiverse friendly practices.

Our experts include so far:

  • Margaret Malpas, MBE, Vice-President of the BDA. and author of  “Self Fulfilment with Dyslexia: A Blueprint for Success”. Margaret will present on Networking for Success!
  • Katherine Hewlett from Achievability, presenting on Westminster Achievability Commission Report on Dyslexia and Recruitment.
  • Joanne Gregory, BDA Quality Mark Manager will present on The Dyslexia Friendly Workplace and the Dyslexia Aware Award for employers.
  • Aidan Ridyard: Successful and renowned Architect, Aidan will explore how his journey with dyslexia has evolved throughout his life and professional career, his talk ‘Volere Volare… To want to fly’ celebrates positive dyslexia and will be truly inspirational!
  • Masterclass on ‘Neurodiversity and Assessment in the workplace’: This session will give an overview on creating a neurodiverse working environment and will address the procedures around assessing for dyslexia, a fantastic overview of the key issues.

New Report launched (28 March) from Westminster Commission on Autism

Disability Co-operative Network

This new report was launched on 28 March and in collaboration with autistic people, organisations and charities in relation to fake cures often distributed on social media.  These ‘cures’ are rightfully causing concern so the Westminster Commission on Autism has produced a short report on recommendations to Government to support people and families.
Link to the report is here: https://t.co/yGZCyrnGmr


Report Launch: Neurodiverse voices: Opening Doors to Employment – WACReport

achieveability logo

This is a groundbreaking report by the Westminster AchieveAbility Commission.  We are proud to be associated and quoted with this important report for all sectors but particularly for us the Heritage, Arts and Cultural Sector.  It is also very timely with the recent release of which is timely to the ‘Making A Shift Report: Disabled people and the Arts and Cultural Sector Workforce in England: Understanding trends, barriers and

Link to the full WAC report is here: http://www.achieveability.org.uk/main/policy/wac-report-is-released

NEWS RELEASE Monday 22nd January 2018


Neurodiverse Voices:Opening Doors to Employment

Ground-breaking report on systemic barriers to employment

A ground-breaking report is being launched TODAY on Monday January 22nd by the Westminster AchieveAbility Commission (WAC) and then released into the public domain.

Over the period of a year, WAC has gathered evidence on systemic barriers to employment for millions of potential employees who are neurodivergent (i.e. dyslexic, dyspraxic, autistic and/or with Attention Deficit Disorder). This significant study from the Westminster AchieveAbility Commission on Recruitment is aligned with the government’s stated aim of increasing the number of people with disabilities in employment, set out in the Improving Lives Green Paper (2016) and Command Paper (2017). There could be no better time to highlight the abilities and workplace support needs of the large neurodivergent population and point to better recruitment and retention practices, for the benefit of the national economy.

The resulting data has highlighted a widespread lack of awareness, failures in government support and workplace discrimination – but also many examples of good practice as most neurodivergent people are able and skilled – it is recruitment processes that disable them. All of this has fed into the Commission’s report.
The report launch on January 22nd will be followed by a second event, also in Westminster, on Thursday 25th
to celebrate the creativity of the neurodivergent community.

WAC recommendations include widespread awareness training, accessibility of written employment information and an end to inappropriate testing as part of the selection process. We call for the improvement of government support programmes and disability initiatives.


  • 43% of survey respondents felt discouraged from applying by job application
  • 52% claimed to have experienced discrimination during interview or selection
  • 73% did not disclose their condition during interview – of those that did, 58%
    regretted it, feeling this led to discrimination.
  • On-line job applications which don’t allow assistive technology and use of spellcheckers bar neurodivergent applicants from accessing jobs.
  • Employers are breaking the law (Equality Act 2010) when they fail to implement reasonable adjustments for disabled people

“My first few staff reports started with the words “this officer will never be suitable for promotion as he is dyslexic.”
“Employers cannot make reasonable adjustments if they do not begin from the premise of acceptance.”
“All psychometric tests are impossible for me, however in many cases I know I would be very good at the job and that these test don’t reflect my capabilities.”