Political Parties Must Do More to Produce Information in Accessible Formats

In the latest poll by Disability Equality Scotland, the majority of respondents (85%) felt that political parties do not do enough to make their manifestos available in accessible formats.

A manifesto is a publication issued by a political party before a General Election. It contains the set of policies that the party stands for and would wish to implement if elected to govern. 

The Electoral Commission published a report entitled “Elections for Everyone”, which highlights the challenges disabled people face during an election and what improvements can be made to make elections more inclusive and accessible for all. 

The report recommends that when political parties publish their manifestos, they should make sure accessible formats are available at the same time. Examples of accessible formats include: Easy Read, Audio, BSL, Braille, Clear Print, Plain Text.

However, the recent poll by Disability Equality Scotland highlights that far more must be done by political parties to ensure they are producing information that is available in a format that is accessible and engages with disabled voters. 

Below is a summary of the poll results, along with a series comments:

Poll

In the run-up to elections, do you think that political parties do enough to make their manifestos available in accessible formats?

Yes – 15% (12 respondents) No – 85% (70 respondents)

Comments: 

“Leaflets are poorly designed other than the SNP who use good colour contrast and clear key messages. The other parties have poor contrast, busy leaflets and flyers and poor layouts.”

“Having asked for some last week I was disappointed to get a standard reply. Had to wait about four days to get directed to a link. It was am apologetic email but obvious to me that accessible formats were a late thought. Too late if people were looking for a postal vote…”

Two General Elections ago I contacted my political party to ask for their manifesto in an Easy Read version. They got back to me after the election to say that there had been an Easy Read manifesto and gave me the link. They didn’t make that clear though during the election campaign and by the time they told me it was too late. The link should be printed on the leaflets that come through the door.”

“Have not received any accessible information (Braille) from any of the Political Parties. Have requested same but received nothing. This has been the state of play for about the last 3 General Elections – It is as if the Vote of Disabled People is not important.”

“The manifestos should be available sooner to allow time to absorb the information and so that organisations that analyse content for specific topics, such as disability, can produce helpful summaries most relevant to my concerns.”

“It is difficult to know where people can find copies of their manifestos.”

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