Malika Azzouz and Grace Potter
This team is being nominated for its exemplary work in bringing new external voices into the Department for Transport’s (DfT) decision making and raising the profile and urgency of the response to the needs of accessibility groups.
The work was undertaken as part of DfT’s objective to proactively engage industry and stakeholders to ultimately benefit passengers and the public within a Covid-19 setting.
Within the DfT External Affairs team, Malika and Grace led strategic engagement with disability stakeholders and accessibility groups to integrate views into policy-making. Activity took place with a backdrop of Covid-19 response, as the team and DfT were dealing with additional challenges of both staff and stakeholders working remotely, and rapidly changing external factors.
They ensured diversity and inclusion were integral to the Covid response, building a network of accessibility stakeholders, both transport specific and more broadly. Through dialogue, they ascertained a need to work with operators on face-covering messaging ensuring disabled people’s views were represented. They planned and delivered a roundtable event between Ministers and 11 accessibility stakeholders representing a range of different disabilities and accessibility needs including; Age UK, Alzheimer’s, Transport for All, Scope, Mind, Action on Hearing Loss, Guide Dogs UK, National Autistic Society, Leonard Cheshire, Disability Rights UK and Carers UK.
Activity served as a useful way to gather views and develop improved ways of working, as well as show stakeholders they were being heard at the highest level, whilst policy was being developed, not just advising stakeholders of policies once they were finalised.
This was an innovative way of working with a stakeholder group, utilising technology to facilitate a resource effective digital round table - including Q&A - from a large group of people, and the team worked hard to ensure discussion was well-managed and ran smoothly.