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Share National – Accessibility. From Compliance to Confidence

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Policy Theme

Ethical and secure use of emerging technologies and data

Date & Time


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Join us for this exciting two-day event, when a diverse range of expert speakers will host, debate and challenge thinking about what it is to be truly accessible. Take away practical steps for your organisation by learning from personal experience about how and why it is vital to be confident you’re doing what is needed to be accessible.

Throughout the event we’ll get to the heart of the matter to unpack what is needed to make sure we are all inclusive and make usability front and centre of our thinking.

To view the recorded sessions please visit the links below:

Share National – Accessibility. From Compliance to Confidence event


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  1. Agenda Session 1
    1. 10:00 am |
      Welcome & Introduction

      Tony Colson, Chair

    2. 10:05 am |
      Socitm's Welcome

      Martin Ferguson, Director of Policy & Research, Socitm

      The rapid changes in society, triggered by the pandemic, and the responses of the public sector have had a seismic impact on equality and inclusion. Whilst remote working and automation, stood up in days rather than months, has proved a success, what does this mean for communities and the most vulnerable when it comes to being included on this journey?

      Headlines about the gaps in inclusion and equality of access to basic needs – housing, care, jobs, food, education, etc. – have become commonplace, while centrally-driven, mechanistic policy responses have created a persistent and growing impasse.

      Over the next two days we’ll hear from those working on the front line of local, place-based delivery to create trusted, evidence-based support for those most in need.

      We’ll learn from experienced practitioners about how vital the public sector is in addressing inequality and how we must be confident in inclusion and access to information if we are to enable these gaps to be closed.

    3. 10:15 am |
      Our disability Inclusion story – embedding accessibility and inclusion into our DNA

      Hector Minto, Accessibility Evangelist, Microsoft

      With more than 1 billion people with disabilities in the world, Microsoft believes that accessibility is essential to delivering on our mission to “empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.” However, our mission doesn’t begin and end with the products we create and the services we offer. It extends to the culture of our workplace and weaving accessibility into the fabric of our company—from hiring people with disabilities, to creating inclusive marketing, and awarding our Accessibility in Action digital badge. Hector will share Microsoft’s journey so far on accessibility, vignettes from customers and partners and introduce the Microsoft Accessibility Evolution Model.

    4. 10:45 am |
      How accessibility affects people in the real world

      Oliver Emberton, Silktide

      How do you use your phone when you’re blind? How do you browse the web with just your mouth? This talk will show you how accessibility makes this possible, and why your organisation’s accessibility matters more than you might imagine.

    5. 11:00 am |
      Networking break & learn a new skill

      Grab a tea or coffee, take a breather and the opportunity to virtually mingle and network. We’re also delighted to offer you chance to learn a new skill, by taking part in a British Sign Language bitesize session. This will be delivered by Rezene Woldeyesus at Love Language – who specialise in sign language services including interpreting, training, and media.

    6. 11:30 am |
      Employability Support (Breakout room 1)

      Zoe Bates, Sense

      Join this fascinating workshop and discover the support available for councils to help some of the most vulnerable residents find employment. Led by Employability Co-ordinator from Sense, Zoe Bates who herself is registered blind, the session will include insights on how to support CV writing, filling in application forms, access to work issues and employability skills, as well as mock interviews and interview preparation. You will also have chance to understand from a blind person’s point of view, the issues they face when accessing information and what can be done to make sure you feel confident, you’re meeting their needs.  

    7. 11:30 am |
      How can we get services to people in their chosen language? (Breakout room 2)

      Gareth Morlais, Welsh Language Technology Specialist, Welsh Government

      In a world with 7,000 or so languages, many of whom have few or no digital resources, the discussion will be about how we can get services to people in their chosen language.

      Sut allwn ni gael gwasanaethau i bobl yn eu dewis nhw o iaith?
      Mae Gareth Morlais yn arbenigwr technoleg iaith Gymraeg yn Llywodraeth Cymru

      Mewn byd sydd â 7,000 o ieithoedd – a llawer ohonynt heb adnoddau digidol – bydd y drafodaeth yn edrych ar sut allwn ni gael gwasanaethau i bobl yn eu dewis nhw o iaith.

    8. 12:00 pm |
      How we’re approaching web accessibility at Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council (Breakout room 1)

      Anne Jones, Web Officer, Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council  

      Council websites are now required to be WCAG 2.1 AA, in order to comply with Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018.

      Making your council website accessible though can be challenging:

      • You may be just a small team, with very little budget
      • You may work with colleagues who are not be fully on board with web accessibility; they may not understand why it matters
      • Your website may rely on third party applications which aren’t completely accessible

      In this session, I’d like to share how our approach to making our site accessible, before opening up a discussion to find out what other organisations are doing, so as a group we can come up with suggestions for best practice.

    9. 12:00 pm |
      Involving users to create accessible user experiences (Breakout room 2)

      Kevin White, Head of Digital Accessibility, Scottish Government 

      The Scottish Government is committed to increasing democratic engagement, and there’s a requirement to reflect this in the design of services. Including users in the design process is a key part of this. For disabled people this is doubly important as poor design can lead to complete exclusion not just a poor experience. This workshop will cover why this is vital and explore ways to be more inclusive to disabled people when creating digital services.

    10. 12:30 pm |
      Networking lunch

      Grab some refreshments, network with fellow delegates and digest the morning’s talking points.

    11. 1:00 pm |
      Accessibility experts discuss compliance Vs confidence

      Tony Colson, Chair, Sense | Helen Olsen-Bedford, | Amanda Lee-Ajala, City of London | Andrew Booth, London Borough of Merton

      Chaired by Tony Colson, director of IT at Sense, always an incredibly popular part of our events, the panel discussion will round the day off. There’s bound to be lots of opinions, take outs and talking points during this session. Make sure you put your questions to them.

    12. 2:00 pm |
      Summary and close of day one

      Tony Colson, Chair

  2. Agenda Session 2
    1. 10:00 am |
      Chair’s opening remarks and reflection on day one

      Tony Colson, Director of IT, Sense

    2. 10:05 am |
      Accessible smart cities – join our panel of global experts to learn how tech can make our cities more accessible to all, and why that matters to our cities of the future

      Graeme Neill, Smart Cities World (chair) | Faith La Grange, Microsoft | Joanna Wooten | Rene Perkins, CityMaaS

      For the first time in history more than 50 percent of the world’s population live in urban areas. By 2050, nearly 70 percent of the global population will live in cities or other urban areas – more than 6 billion people. As technology and data play an ever-increasing role in Smart City evolution, we have the opportunity to improve life for people with disabilities. However, there is also a risk of widening inequality if we don’t have the right input, oversight and accessible design approach. In a forward thinking panel, we discuss the opportunities for accessible tech to not only improve, but transform, place based experiences for people with disabilities and the wider community.

    3. 10:25 am |
      The Accessibility Challenge: Correcting documents

      Kim Erbo Christensen, Country Manager, Dania Software | Rob Griffiths, Digital Service Team Leader, Wrexham Council 

      Meet Kim Erbo Christensen from Dania Software as he reports on the Socitm document accessibility campaign that ran throughout January. Joining Kim on stage will be Digital Service Team Leader, Rob Griffiths, from Wrexham Council, as he shares his own first-hand experience remediating documents with Accessibility Fixer and how to replicate the success of Wrexham.

    4. 10:45 am |
      How the public sector can reap the benefits of securing their digital communications, whilst making it accessible to all.

      Rick Goud, CIO, Zivver

      • COVID-19 has accelerated the need for digital communication, but regular security has been left behind, creating new challenges.
      • Understand how secure digital communication can lower costs, increase efficiency and improve stakeholder satisfaction.
      • Learn from a use case: how a Dutch healthcare organisation effectively enabled secure email for the visually impaired and blind.
      • See what is needed for a successful implementation, while ensuring you can future proof your digital communication needs.

    5. 11:05 am |
      Networking break & learn a new skill

      Grab a tea or coffee, take a breather and the opportunity to virtually mingle and network. We’re also delighted to offer you chance to learn a new skill, by taking part in a British Sign Language bitesize session. This will be delivered by Rezene Woldeyesus at Love Language – who specialise in sign language services including interpreting, training, and media.

    6. 11:30 am |
      The Practical Challenges of website accessibility (Breakout room 1)

      Oliver Emberton & Lee Percox, Silktide

      Everyone knows to “be accessible”, but what does that mean for the people who have to actually do it? In this workshop we’ll join you to discuss some of the common problems public sector organisations face, and how to solve them.

    7. 12:00 pm |
      Document Accessibility: Knowledge sharing with peers

      Kim Erbo Christensen, Country Manager, Dania Software

      Participate in this roundtable and share your experiences on how your organisation works with document accessibility and what you do to ensure compliance. Concrete learnings will be shared from the councils that participated in the Socitm AccessibilityFixer-campaign, amongst others, Wrexham, Epsom and Ewell, and South Ayrshire.

    8. 12:30 pm |
      Networking lunch

      Grab a bite to eat and mingle with fellow delegates and business leaders while digesting the morning’s talking points.

    9. 1:00 pm |
      Procuring accessible products; using buying power to drive change (Breakout room 1)

      Kevin White, Scottish Government

      Whether it is an enterprise level product or a campaign website, accessibility is often included as part of the requirements. So why are there still so many inaccessible digital services? This workshop will outline why this is a problem and explore how we as purchasers can improve things.

    10. 1:30 pm |
      Conference closes with chair’s summary

      Tony Colson, Chair

Who can join our events?

Our events are open to everyone to help drive innovation and modernising of public services.

Our events are included in our membership and partnership packages. A fee may apply for non-members. Please see event details for more information.

Event Pricing

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Members: Free

Non-members: £99

Private sector: contact

Any Questions?

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We are happy to answer all of your questions.
Please get in touch with Lauren Sheppard