Brighton & Hove’s first Accessible City Strategy was agreed by councillors at a special Strategy, Finance & City Regeneration Committee on Friday 4 August.
The strategy outlines our vision to become a council that is welcoming and inclusive to all its residents and reaffirms our commitment to put accessibility at the heart of how we think, work, design and deliver our services.
It was developed with the guidance of disabled people’s organisations and disabled individuals within the council and the city, namely the Disability Panel and the Wider Reference Group.
The strategy builds on our existing work, while acknowledging that we must seek opportunities to go above and beyond the legal minimum wherever possible to achieve our aims.
Through the process of developing the strategy, we identified three council-wide strategic themes for our future actions:
- Engagement − We want to increase and improve our communication with disabled residents, service users, visitors, customers and tenants.
- Data − We want to improve the collection, analysis and application of data regarding disabled residents to better understand their access and experience of services.
- Policy and practice − We want to identify, review and co-produce key policies, plans and strategies, embedding inclusive-design principles to remove barriers, better understand their impact and improve outcomes for disabled people.
All actions connect across our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion strategies, and are embedded in various cross-council directorate and council plans.
The guiding principles of this 5-year strategy include following a social model of disability, which says that people are disabled by barriers in society, rather than by their impairment or difference.
It also includes considerations for neurodiversity, mental health, non-visible disabilities and the intersectionality of disabled people in the city.
We recognise that disabled people can hold multiple identities which creates additional layers of exclusion, and this is crucial to being able to effectively improve accessibility.
All council services have been involved in developing the strategy and have set up action plans that will be subjected to regular internal and external oversight, monitoring and review.
We acknowledge the work we have to do, and there is significant and consistent commitment across the council services to learn, reflect and do better.
A city everyone can enjoy
Councillor Leslie Pumm, Chair of the Equalities, Community Safety & Human Rights Committee, said:
“I’m proud that Brighton & Hove now has a clear and ambitious Accessible City Strategy in place, making it the first council in England to take such a holistic, integrated and council-wide approach to accessibility.
“I am very thankful to all disability groups and colleagues with lived experience, who helped us challenge and review our existing policies, practice, and services.
“Residents want to see action and so do we. The Inclusive City Strategy will set us on the right path towards lasting change and city everyone can enjoy, no matter their accessibility requirements.”
- Read the full report to the special Strategy, Finance & City Regeneration Group (agenda item 44) on 4 August.