Disability Action Plan 2014–2017

>> Download DPEM Disability Action Plan (.pdf 877kb)


Foreword

In 2008 the Department of Police and Emergency Management (DPEM) completed the first Disability Action Plan, and I am pleased that we have now finalised a new Plan. The Plan acknowledges the work that has been completed to ensure equal access to services provided by the DPEM, and gives us the opportunity to review and address ways that we can improve.

DPEM acknowledges the rights of people with disability and is committed to removing any barriers in this area. This Action Plan provides a mechanism to ensure all employees of DPEM understand and respect the rights of people with disability, and to ensure our service to the community continues to be provided in accordance with State and Federal legislation.

Darren Hine
Commissioner of Police
Secretary, Department of Police and Emergency Management


Background

In 2005 the Tasmanian Government established a whole-of-government policy for people with disability. This policy commenced with the Disability Framework for Action 2005-2010 which emphasised the needs of people with disability. Every agency supported the initiative and reviewed their organisation with a view to recognising the needs of people with disability. The Tasmanian Government approach endorses the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which prompted the introduction of the National Disability Strategy.

To assist with the understanding and development of the requirements under the strategy, the DPEM prepared a Disability Action Plan in 2008, which has been regularly reviewed. Since then, the Government has released the Disability Framework for Action 2013-2017. The DPEM established a Disability Working Group (DWG) to assist in tailoring business to address the requirements of people with disability. Membership of the DWG has recently been refreshed to assist in the preparation of a new plan, with representatives from key areas within DPEM invited to participate. The DWG meets regularly and advises the Corporate Management Group (CMG) on progress of the Disability Action Plan. The DPEM reports annually on the status of the Disability Action Plan to the Premier’s Disability Advisory Council (PDAC).

The Australian Bureau of Statistics states that just less than one in five Australians have a disability. It follows that services will at some stage be required and DPEM is committed to ensuring that services are available and accessible.

The Mission of DPEM is “to deliver quality policing and emergency management services.” The mission statement recognises that our services will be available for all Tasmanians, including people with disability. Our Values of Integrity, Equity and Accountability also relate to the way we do our business. This supports the approach of the DPEM to enhance our reputation as a progressive, inclusive organisation that strives for success with a focus on access and inclusion.

In addition, DPEM expects excellence in service delivery, and our Service Charter further supports this requirement. The Service Charter focus on ‘Sensitivity, Excellence, Response, Values, Integrity, Commitment, and Effective’ ensures this occurs.

The definition of a person with disability used in the DPEM plan is that which is used in the Tasmanian Disability Framework for Action 2013-2017 and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities:

Persons with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.

Ownership of the Disability Action Plan rests with the Human Resources Command of Tasmania Police, and ownership is supported by the DWG. The plan is a living document, which will be updated as we achieve benchmarks, or identify new barriers.


Agency Policy Statement

In August 2013 the Commissioner of Police, as Secretary, endorsed the DPEM Disability Access and Inclusion Policy, which reflects the commitment to the Disability Framework for Action 2013-2017. The policy statement of the DPEM is:

‘… to deliver quality policing and emergency management services to people with disabilities, their families and carers, ensuring that they have equal access to the full range of services, information, and facilities provided by the Department.’


Organisational context

The Department of Police and Emergency Management (DPEM) is a diverse service delivery organisation comprising of Police Officers and State Service employees in the Tasmania Police Service. Other agencies attached to DPEM are the Tasmania State Emergency Service (SES), Forensic Science Service Tasmania (FSST) and the Tasmania Fire Service (TFS). In the case of TFS and SES employees include a large number of volunteers.

The TFS have developed a separate Disability Action Plan for their agency however, and references within this plan do not include the TFS.

DPEM provides policing and emergency management assistance within Tasmania whilst FSST provides a comprehensive range of laboratory-based forensic science services to support the Tasmanian criminal justice system.

DPEM has an overall establishment of approximately 1500 employees. A recent State Service Management Office (SSMO) demographic survey indicated that 5.94% of DPEM state service respondents disclosed a disability. Of this number, 7 employees indicated that they required workplace adjustment in order to perform their duties. It should be noted that this is a State Service survey and no similar demographic detail is held in relation to Tasmania Police members.

Disability awareness training is provided to all employees and volunteers as part of the Equity and Diversity program. In the case of police trainees, it is included in the recruit training curriculum, and presentations are made by representatives and service providers from the Disability Services sector. Equity and Diversity training presentations are regularly scheduled and an electronic Learning Management System (e-LMS) course on this topic is available to all employees. The training includes a component of disability awareness and promotes the DPEM Disability Access and Inclusion Policy. Equity and Diversity training is delivered to all new employees and refresher training is required to be undertaken regularly; with all police professional development courses including a component of this training.

DPEM has an Equity and Diversity Coordinator attached to Human Resources who is dedicated to discrimination and disability issues. The DPEM has an Equity and Diversity Policy which provides all employees with information in respect to discrimination matters, and further outlines procedures to address issues.

The Equity and Diversity Policy has a number of principles, which recognise the need of employees to balance work and family responsibilities, and promote flexible work practices that satisfy organisational and individual needs, including those people with disability and carers. DPEM is also committed to the implementation of the Tasmanian Carer Policy and Carer Action Plan, and will assist and provide necessary support and services for employees who are carers.

Relevant legislation includes the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Act 1998, Work Health and Safety Act 2012 and Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992.


Agency Action Plan: Key Areas

This Action Plan covers the following key areas.

  • Access to Services and Programs
  • Access to Employment Opportunities, Career Development, Retention and Recruitment
  • Access to Buildings, Facilities, Venues and Off-Premises Events
  • Access to Information (printed materials, websites, audio and video)

Consultation

DPEM has consulted widely to assist in the preparation of the Disability Action Plan. The DWG was responsible for reviewing current practices and standards, as well as consulting others in work areas and external users of the services of DPEM. Membership of the DWG was reviewed to involve areas which will have an active role in the Action Plan.

Representatives from PDAC also supported the DWG in preparation of the plan.

DPEM has also conducted an internal survey, and is considering an external survey to further assist in identifying barriers and exploring ways to overcome these barriers. All responses will be considered by the DWG.

Further, DPEM has Mental Health Liaison Officers appointed in geographical areas. These officers were consulted, and requested that they canvas appropriate persons within their areas.

External disability agencies were also consulted, including; the Brain Injury Association of Tasmania (BIAT), Multiple Sclerosis Society (MS), Mental Health Interagency Group, Places of Safety North West Regional Reference Group, Advocacy Tasmania, Mental Health Council of Tasmania, National Disability Services of Tasmania, Tasmanian Deaf Society, Life without Barriers, Speak Out Advocacy, Cerebral Palsy Tasmania and the Association for Children with Disabilities. These agencies were invited to comment on the action areas and their input was considered, where provided, in an effort to overcome barriers.


Resourcing the Plan

The initiatives in this plan are resourced within current organisational resources.


Monitoring and Reporting

The DWG will be responsible for monitoring the DPEM Disability Action Plan regularly. Terms of Reference were completed for the DWG and includes a requirement to meet at least quarterly.

Areas responsible (lead) for each action item will be required to report to the DWG regularly on the status of action items contained within the plan. Ongoing monitoring and reporting on achievements to PDAC will be the responsibility of the Human Resources Command, supported by the DWG.

DPEM reports to PDAC annually and progress on the plan will be reported through that mechanism. The next report is due to be submitted through the Secretary of DPEM to PDAC in September 2014.


Evaluation

The DWG will also be responsible for evaluating the efficiency of the plan, and assessing the effectiveness of action items in the removal of barriers for people with disability. Further evaluation will be conducted through annual reporting to PDAC and the subsequent report from PDAC to DPEM.


Action 1: Access to Services and Programs

DPEM is committed to ensuring that people with disability have equal access to the full range of services, information, and facilities provided by the Department. DPEM will ensure that all employees are provided with Equity and Diversity education and training, and all new employees will receive Equity and Diversity training. An on-line electronic Equity and Diversity course is also available.

Where we are at:

We have already:

  • Commenced the Vulnerable Persons Project, aimed at supporting vulnerable people living in the community
  • SES have developed Interim Evacuation Arrangements between Tasmania Police and the Tasmania Fire Service that specifically includes vulnerable persons, and commenced a permanent state-wide framework for evacuation
  • Utilised the e-LMS to include a session on “Mental Health First Aid in the Workplace” course
  • Introduced an in-service course called “Interviewing Vulnerable Witnesses” which aims to develop skills of detectives or those who regularly interview children or peoples with disability who have been victims of crime or witnessed violent crime
  • Fostered communication avenues between disability agencies and DPEM to ensure a free flow of information and mechanism to identify barriers
  • Conducted training regarding the new Mental Health Act 2013, and introduced an Electronic Learning component for this topic
  • A member of DPEM attended a ‘train-the-trainer’ course on Mental Health and Well Being in the Workplace. This member has conducted training sessions to employees, and further sessions are planned
  • Included a segment from ‘20 years 20 stories’ into the current Equity and Diversity training presentation; relating to accessible services

We will continue to:

  • Provide disability awareness training to all police recruits, new State Service employees and ensure regular updated training sessions are readily available for employees
  • Liaise with disability agency representatives to assist with contemporary education and training needs

Emerging issues:

  • Providing emergency warnings in diverse methods to capture all community members, including people with disability

Actions:

What we are going to do | Performance Indicator | Who (lead) | By When

  • Continue to provide training to all employees with Equity and Diversity training, which includes a component on interacting with people with disability
    • 100% of DPEM employees received E&D training at minimum every 5 years (Commander Human Resources) (Ongoing)
  • Review package to ensure that volunteers receive appropriate Equity and Diversity training on induction
    • Number of volunteers received E&D training (Commander Human Resources) (Dec 2014)
  • Implement an online feedback mechanism for people with disability to provide comment or suggestions on barriers within DPEM
    • Completed feedback mechanism (Commander Executive Support) (Aug 2014)
  • Include designated Mental Health Liaison Officers details on Tasmania Police website
    • Contact details added to site (Commander Executive Support) (Aug 2014)
  • Work with the community and disability groups to identify opportunities for DPEM to meet the needs of people with disability
    • Number of non-government organisations and government agencies consulted (Commander Human Resources) (Ongoing)
  • Review document ‘Guidelines For Interacting with People with Disabilities’ to ensure that the document is contemporary
    • Review completed (Commander Executive Support) (Aug 2014)
  • Review and update the Tasmania Police Manual in relation to interacting with people with disability, and include reference to interacting with children with disability
    • Review completed (Commander Executive Support) (Aug 2014)
  • Introduce SMS assist service for people who may have communication difficulties to contact police through mobile phone SMS
    • Service implemented (Commander Operations Support) (Nov 2014)
  • Provide training to all police trainees in relation to interacting with people with disability
    • 100% of police trainees received training (Commander Human Resources) (Ongoing)
  • Update the register of Disability Service providers maintained in Radio Dispatch Services to ensure contemporary and relevant
    • Regular revision (Commander Operations Support) (Jun 2014)
  • Develop positive working relationships with liaison groups representing people with disability
    • Number of annual consultations (Commanders Executive Support & Human Resources) (Ongoing)
  • Consultation with disability groups in the development and review of DPEM Disability Action Plan
    • Number of consultations held /organisations consulted with (Commander Human Resources) (Mar 14)
  • Report to Government in relation to the progress of the DPEM Disability Action Plan
    • Annual Reports completed (Commander Human Resources) (Ongoing)
  • Consider expansion of ‘Interviewing Vulnerable Witnesses’ program to include vulnerable suspects
    • Consideration completed (Commander Human Resources) (Feb 2015)
  • Consult with PDAC or relevant disability specialist in relation to proposed policy or programme changes considered that impact on people with disability
    • Number of consultations occurred (Commander Executive Support) (Ongoing)
  • Review internal DPEM Disability survey feedback and consider strategies to address issues relating to this action item where relevant
    • Number of issues addressed from survey (Commander Human Resources) (Sept 14)

Action 2: Access to Employment Opportunities, Career Development, Retention and Recruitment

DPEM employs a number of people who identify as having a disability. It is also accepted that there are employees who do not wish to declare disabilities, and the DPEM supports that decision. DPEM promotes a fair, inclusive, equitable and supportive workplace and will apply the appropriate measures towards an individual’s needs. Access to specific employment opportunities within DPEM remains limited to State Service employees.

Where we are at:

We have already:

  • Recognised that 5.94 % of the current State Service workforce identifies as having a disability
  • We have previously participated in the DPAC Disability Graduate Program, and we will continue to pursue such opportunities when circumstances allow

We will continue to:

  • Liaise with disability employment service providers when suitable positions within DPEM become available
  • Utilise the SSMO employing Graduates with Disabilities Program where possible

Emerging issues:

  • Challenging financial situation

Actions:

What we are going to do | Performance Indicator | Who (lead) | By When

  • Conduct a review of the State Service Induction Program to include Equity and Diversity Package
    • Completed Review of Induction package (Commander Human Resources) (Aug 2014)
  • Provide training to managers of people who identify with disability within DPEM
    • 100% of managers of people with a disability received specific training (Commander Human Resources) (As required)
  • Review information package which is available for potential applicants for State Service vacancies to ensure removal of barriers to the employment of people with disability
    • Review and update completed if necessary (Commander Human Resources) (Jun 2014)
  • Advise all commands and directorates of the requirement to develop Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans for staff who identify with disability
    • Plans completed (Commander Human Resources) (Sep 14)
  • Review internal DPEM Disability survey feedback and consider strategies to address issues relating to this action item where relevant
    • Number of issues addressed from survey (Commander Human Resources) (Sept 14)

Action 3: Access to Buildings, Facilities, Venues and Off-Premises Events

The DPEM is committed to ensuring that appropriate access to buildings is a priority. A Strategic Asset Management Plan (SAMP) was recently completed, and disability access remains a consideration for the Strategic Plan. New buildings recently completed which incorporate disability considerations are evidence of the commitment, for example; the Cygnet Police Station, Devonport Police Station and plans for the new Glenorchy Police Station.

Where we are at:

We have already:

  • Conducted an audit of all buildings and facilities utilised by DPEM to determine accessibility issues. The audit list has then been prioritised for works needing to be done

We will continue to:

  • As finances allow, make necessary improvements to buildings and facilities
    from the prioritised works list

Emerging issues:

  • Financial restrictions
  • Changes to building standards in line with evolving requirements

Actions:

What we are going to do | Performance Indicator | Who (lead) | By When

  • Review the audit of DPEM buildings and prioritise a list of buildings requiring changes to enable access
    • Completed prioritised list (Manager Asset Management Services) (May 2014)
  • Ensure conformity with Building Disability Standards for all new DPEM buildings, including renovations and upgrades
    • All new buildings/renovations conform (Manager Asset Management Services) (Ongoing)
  • Renew advice to all areas about utilising the ‘Good Access Counter Card’
    • Display of cards in DPEM public access areas (Commander Human Resources) (Jun 2014)
  • Advise relevant HR staff of the availability of funding from Australian Government Employment Assistance Fund for workplace accommodation requirements
    • Advice completed (Commander Human Resources) (Jul 14)
  • Ensure procurement policies and practices relating to facilities and equipment are accessible for all employees
    • Accessible policy (Manager Asset Management Services) (Sep 14)
  • Review internal DPEM Disability survey feedback and consider strategies to address issues relating to this action item where relevant
    • Number of issues addressed from survey (Commander Human Resources) (Sept 14)

Action 4: Access to Information (printed materials, websites, audio and video)

DPEM strives to ensure that the whole of the community is able to access information, and to adequately communicate with DPEM, including people with disability. Audits of the DPEM website have been conducted, and this will continue to occur to ensure contemporary requirements are met to the extent possible. Relevant staff have previously undertaken web accessibility training and will continue to receive refresher training when the opportunity arises.

Where we are at:

We have already:

  • Launched a Facebook page which allows audio and video messages and are a major contributor to the broadcasting of emergency messages and to the Whole of Government TasALERT website
  • Investigated Auslan interpreters and how to access them in an emergency to provide sign language operators
  • Launched a YouTube channel to enable the uploading of video and media conferences during major incidents, including Auslan interpreters
  • Launched a SoundCloud account to enable the uploading of audio from major media conferences and public announcements/warnings
  • Signed up to TwitterAlerts, with account verified to allow critical time sensitive updates to be sent to subscribers as a push notification
  • Updated the ‘Contact Us’ section on the Tasmania Police website to include the National Relay Service icon and make the information more obvious

We will continue to:

  • Consider contemporary methods of communicating and disseminating information to people with disability
  • Investigate alternative internet service providers in a bid to achieve Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 compliance
  • Participate in the Whole of Government Web Accessibility Working Group. The objectives of this group include auditing to establish a baseline of the accessibility of our websites.
  • Investigate the redevelopment of websites to achieve the WCAG 2.0 level AA standard when redeveloped or refurbished, and updating ICT and design procurement policies to include WCAG 2.0 Level AA compliance for web services and products (a standard policy for use across the Tasmanian Government will be developed by the working group)
  • Monitor a State Emergency Management Advisory Group project investigating closed captioning during emergencies

Emerging issues:

  • Resourcing an alternative service provider to achieve WCAG 2.0 compliance

Actions:

What we are going to do | Performance Indicator | Who (lead) | By When

  • Continue to investigate alternative internet service providers in a bid to achieve WCAG 2.0 level AA compliance standard
    • Conforms with contemporary standards (Commander Executive Support Director SES) (Ongoing)
  • Broadcast audio messages to support visual warnings or information on website
    • Implementation (Commander Executive Support) (Ongoing)
  • Review internal DPEM Disability survey feedback and consider strategies to address issues relating to this action item where relevant
    • Number of issues addressed from survey (Commander Human Resources) (Sept 14)

More Information

For further information about the DPEM Disability Action Plan 2014-2017 please contact:

Equity and Diversity Coordinator, Human Resources
Department of Police and Emergency Management
Phone (03) 6173 2152