Partnership working improves accessible voting options in the West Midlands
The Beacon Centre for the Blind has been working with the City of Wolverhampton Council for a number of years to improve the accessibility of elections for Wolverhampton residents. Prior to the new Elections Act accessibility requirements, we had already developed sight loss awareness training for their officials and discussed opportunities to make communications accessible for all.
The new Elections Act was an opportunity to take this work further and bring in new partners to ensure everyone can have the support and information they need to vote. In recent months we have been working together to create accessible information and communications, improve their website accessibility and ensure that all voting locations are as accessible as possible.
Becky Green, Beacon’s Engagement & Lifestyle Manager
“It has been a fantastic opportunity for us to work with the City of Wolverhampton Council in recent months. We have made recommendations and supported the authority to ensure voting is accessible to Visually Impaired people within our community. This has included making improvements to the accessibility of polling stations and making information readily available to VI people in preparation for voting.”
Laura Noonan, Electoral Services and Scrutiny Manager
“It has been an incredibly valuable experience to work with the Beacon Centre and our other partners to improve the voting experience of people with disabilities. By involving them upfront in our planning we have been able to put in place a range of improvements that we know will make a difference as they have been designed by people who understand the needs of people with sight loss, people who are D/deaf or hard of hearing and people with learning disabilities. We will continue to work with all groups after the election to build on the improvements and we would greatly welcome feedback from voters who visit our polling stations on 4 May 2023 to cast their vote in the local elections. You can find out more and contact us at Wolverhampton.gov.uk/elections”
The Beacon Centre and the City of Wolverhampton Council are happy to share their experiences and communications with other local authority areas, email Becky Green for more information.