SCIE media statement

Best practice for organising accessible events for all - New SCIE digital resource, informed by service users

14 March 2012

I am not sure if you can make an event accessible to absolutely everyone. But there are a lot of things that can be done and can be seen to have been done, that show us that people have really tried to get it right.

Event attendee

Making a social care event accessible to all delegates, can be a daunting prospect. There’s new support for event-holders today with the launch of an online SCIE practical resource. The web pages are based directly on the views and experiences of people who use services. It aims to make any event, whatever the size and whoever the participants, inclusive, so that everyone can take part in the way that best suits them.

The online resource is split into three main sections:

Choosing a venue

Selecting a suitable venue for an event can be more complicated than it first appears. So the resource gives information on how to deal with issues such as background noise. Service users tell us that barriers to communication can be as simple as the sound of air conditioning and railways running nearby. Some hearing aids will tune into the background noise, and for people with a visual impairment who cannot pick up on non-verbal communication, background noise can be a big distraction.

Planning the event

This section contains a checklist, including issues that may appear simple but that need thorough planning. Take “choosing a date”. One factor to take into consideration is religious days. Service users gave us useful advice on this issue. One person said: “Use a faith calendar to plan events and avoid religious festivals. You can find a list of religious holidays and definitions at:

The event

The resource contains helpful tips on housekeeping, ground rules, introductions and greetings. One issue that is studied in detail is timing. It’s important to stick to time, but people who use service say that you must be aware that for many people who use services and disabled people, things can take a lot longer. Also, one big issue concerns cancellations. One service user advises: “Personal assistants, assistance on public transport etc. takes a long time to arrange; it can be expensive and often can't be cancelled at the last minute without penalties.”

SCIE’s Workforce Director, Stephen Goulder, says:

We’ve had some great feedback from people who use services and this online handbook is a good example of how SCIE is engaging with user groups to co-produce much of our work. Events can include one-to-one meetings, larger gatherings, conferences and so on. The resource covers all the different stages, from planning and support to evaluating the event once it has taken place.


Media contact

Steve Palmer | Press and Public Affairs Manager | Tel: 020 7766 7419 | Mob: 07739 458 192 | Email: