Six Principles of Inclusive Communication
Following these six principles will help you deliver services more effectively and support people with communication support needs.
You may already consider some of these things, but using the principles together will help you think about all aspects of inclusive communication.
Communication accessibility and physical accessibility are equally important
All people who use public services have the right to access them on an equal basis.
To make your services fully accessible means considering communication accessibility as well as physical accessibility in the traditional sense.
Every community or group will include people with different communication support needs
You should presume that every group you are working with, or expect to work with, includes people with communication support needs. This includes members of the public and your colleagues.
Inclusive communication should be considered at all times, whether providing information or planning an event, meeting or activity. Good communication practice will help you reach your target audience more effectively and allow people to access services on an equal basis.
Communication is a two-way process of understanding others and expressing yourself
Quality service delivery is when the service provider and person who uses the service understand each other, and the person who is using the service is able to express their needs and choices effectively.
Everyone communicates differently. When somebody has communication support needs, it may take more effort and time to ensure that service provider and person who is using the service understand each other.
You need to:
- Match your communication to the needs of the people who use services
- Recognise and respond to the variety of ways that individuals may express themselves
Be flexible in the way your service is provided
In order to match the way you communicate to the needs of all the people who use services do not take a ‘one size fits all’ approach.
It is important to consider how changes to the way services are delivered will affect the people who use them. A ‘one size fits all’ approach will not work, as one system will not meet the needs of all the people who use services.
Effective user involvement will include the participation of people with different communication support needs
To help you identify the full implications of service changes for all members of the community, involve people who use these services, including people with communication support needs, from the beginning of the change process.
Services delivered around the needs of the people who use them will be more cost effective, user friendly and fit for purpose.
It is important that people with communication support needs have the opportunity to participate in the change process in the same way that others can.
Small, simple changes to the way you communicate will make a big difference to your service delivery. Some changes may take longer, but will deliver positive outcomes, resulting in cost efficiencies and an increase in user satisfaction.
Source: Principles of Inclusive Communication www.gov.scot/Publications/2011/09/14082209/9