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Subject:

Re: Accessibility Championship

From:

"Keir, Scott" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

psci-com: on public engagement with science

Date:

Thu, 2 Aug 2018 19:15:03 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Hello Dom 
 
Really good to hear that you are looking at this!  
 
At the RSS, I'm the staff lead for diversity and inclusion, and have been working with a working group of our members on this. The approach we are taking is very much that this should be everyone's responsibility, supported by a group of people who can advise, oversee, encourage etc. A few things that we have grappled with that you might find helpful: 
 
Scope:  
Something our working group discussed a lot was the scope of our interests - what forms of diversity and inclusion (eg just gender, just disability, or wider)?; diversity in our organisation or our membership or the wider statistical community?; statistical issues of diversity data? etc. We've decided to look at diversity and inclusion as a whole, starting with our own organisation and then working outwards: so, for example, the working group are looking at how we operate as an organisation and how we ensure that we reflect and respond to the diversity of our membership, but they are not getting involved in discussions about statistical methodologies relating to diversity. They might in time, or our wider organisation can, but not that group just yet. So a question for you could be, is the role of the Accessibility Champion too narrow, or narrow enough to get things done quickly and build further cases for change?  
 
Benchmarking and planning:  
We were keen to benchmark and measure progress. Happily, the Science Council and Royal Academy of Engineering started developing a progression framework for professional bodies to use as a benchmark and planning tool, at about the time that we set up our diversity and inclusion working group. We have been able to use that to review our work: 
https://sciencecouncil.org/professional-bodies/diversity-equality-and-inclusion/ 
 
The approach I took with was to use the framework to have a series of conversations with my colleagues - this was deliberately to encourage an 'everyone's responsibility' approach, and was very positive: helped us recognise what we were doing well already, what plans were already in place to make improvements, with lots of ideas suggested. It took more time than me just telling everyone what to do, but I think it is worth it in the long run.  
 
The next step for us is to come up with a strategy for the organisation (in draft now), and an action plan, and then involve our membership in those discussions. In parallel there's some things that have come up from our membership which we are looking to address. For the action plan, we'll be looking at what areas to focus on: there's a bit of cross-over between different areas, which we need to think about. So for you, an Accessibility Champion sounds very focused on improving disabled access to your activities: but what about ensuring that the marketing and wider communications show that you welcome diverse audiences, or what about access for staff or performers? 
 
Sources of expertise: 
Our working group is a source of expertise for us and was drawn from our wider membership. We've also been able to swap notes with and learn from lots of other organisations, including some that are at the same stage as us, and some that are ahead in terms of making progress, including via the Science Council/Royal Academy of Engineering framework groups. We are also starting to think about what we don't know, so we can work out ways to work that out. 
 
I'm also fortunate in that my partner worked for a disabled-led theatre company and now does some disability access consultancy work focusing on practical theatre access provision, so I've benefited a lot over the years through sofa chats. (Happy to put you in touch with him if that would be useful!) 
 
So, to try and answer the question you asked, I think if you scoped out the role of the Accessibility Champion to have a focus on accessibility but with some room for wriggle, and it was clear from an organisational policy/strategy that the whole organisation had responsibility for improvement, then that would address your concerns. 
 
I hope the RI can move forward with this - Happy to chat sometime if that would be of help.  
 
With best wishes 
 
Scott 
 
Scott Keir 
Head of Education and Statistical Literacy 
 
memcom professional association of the year 2018 
 
The Royal Statistical Society 
12 Errol Street, London EC1Y 8LX 
Direct dial: (44) 020 7614 3929 
Twitter: @scottmkeir 
www.rss.org.uk 
  
The RSS is a registered charity No. 306096 
 
-----Original Message----- 
From: psci-com: on public engagement with science <[log in to unmask]> On Behalf Of Dominic McDonald 
Sent: 02 August 2018 13:30 
To: [log in to unmask] 
Subject: [PSCI-COM] Accessibility Championship 
 
Good afternoon hive-mind 
 
Here at the Ri we have been doing some thinking about "Accessibility", and one of the ideas we are exploring is to have an "Accessibility Champion" who keeps up to date with current thinking and becomes our go-to person on such matters.  
 
This is a new thing for us so I was wondering if there is anyone out there who does things in this way and could share some of their experience. In particular, how do we delimit that person's role, giving it enough responsibility but avoiding everyone else in the organisation switching off from what becomes "The Accessibility Champion's Problem". 
 
All thoughts gratefully received! 
 
Dom 
 
Dom McDonald 
Head of Education 
Royal Institution, 21 Albemarle Street, London W1S 4BS 
e: [log in to unmask] 
T: 020 7670 2966 
www.rigb.org 
 
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