This is a guide on arranging "accessible" meetings, and is, in short, fucking hilarious.
The checklist at the beginning gives an idea of what we'll encounter:
A variety of food including food traditional to Black and other minority ethnic communities
Curry, and fried chicken and watermelon at BCC meetings? Wicked, count me in!
First, we start with the usual wheel-chair friendly bollocks:
The venue has either ramped, level or lift access to all meeting areas.
All door widths are at least 860mm wide. (900mm is preferred)(I think this is fatty-friendly as well?)
Then it gets a bit more ridiculous:
Public transport is within an appropriate distance, eg 500m to a bus route.
Yeah, good luck with that in Bristol.
Then a bit more PC creeps in:
Cultural and religious requirements are taken into account. Ensure meetings or refreshment areas are not in areas with bars serving alcohol.
Nice to see that the religious nutters have BCC by the bollocks, as usual.
Ensure that there is are clear signs informing people with a hearing impairment that there is a loop system and how to use it.
So presumably there is an implication there has to be a "loop system" installed in every meeting venue?
Do not use all capital letters on signs because this makes the sign inaccessible to visually impaired people. Use lower case eg Toilet, Exit, etc.
Really? Really? Are you sure about that, BCC? Because to me, it just sound like steaming bullshit. So now you're saying visually impaired people can't cope anywhere that has all capital letters?
Ensure signs are no higher than 1400-1700mm.
Oh yeah, for the wheelchairs. The specific measurements though, imply you should carry a tape measure to every meeting.
Then it just turns farcical:
It is good practice to provide picture signs where possible, eg for fire escapes. Use pictures of both men and women in picture signs.
Seriously, men and women? So the "man" symbol on a sign isn't enough to just mean "person"? For fuck's sake.
Signs should be placed on seats near the front to reserve places for Deaf people and people with Usher Syndrome. This will enable them to easily access the interpreter.
Usher Syndrome? Is that like "Bride or Groom"? Oh, OK. But of course, they can't be "grouped" with deaf people, can they?
Where appropriate ensure translated signs are provided. As good practice, a welcome sign in different languages makes a positive statement that the service welcomes Black and ethnic minority people.
So does this mean you should have translators for the meeting as well? Or just translate the signs? Seems a bit pointless really.
Allow spaces for wheelchair users, and disperse amongst the other seating.
Oh, of course, you couldn't have them all sitting together, could you? That would be disablist.
Provide a variety of seating including back/neck support and padded chairs.
Seriously? I don't think I've ever been to a conference centre in the real world that has these kind of facilities.
Some cultural groups may require separate seating arrangements for men and women..
Yeah, medieval ones. Fuck 'em, they can sort that out between themeselves, surely?
Allocate rooms/areas for plenary sessions, workshops, refreshments, rest area/room, creche, exhibitions and registration.
Since we're not American, this really does just mean somewhere people can go for a rest, doesn't it. Christ on a bike.
The Equalities and Social Inclusion Team have loop system available, free of charge
They're called something even better now, the Equalities and Community Cohesion Team. You couldn't make this shit up, could you? And pray tell, what the fuck the name change was in aid of? What did it achieve?
Buffets are inaccessible to people with a visual impairment and some other Disabled people, offer one to one assistance.
Would you like some cheese? Maybe some ham? Simper, simper.
Consult with representatives of your targeted audience or the Equalities Team to ensure the programme includes an equalities perspective.
Ahhh, so that's basically what this team does. Sounds very valuable, and not at all a waste of taxpayer's money.
Then it starts to get even less "equal".
Ensure all Disabled participants can claim and be paid travel expenses in cash at the event.
Fucking hell. So not only are travel expenses seemingly only paid to Disabled people and not able-bodied people, but they get it in cash!! When does BCC pay anyone anything in cash?!?
The personal assistant should be introduced at the beginning of the meeting and should wear a name badge or a badge saying ‘personal assistant’. Invite Disabled people to use the personal assistant if she/he needs help in getting refreshments or removing empty coffee cups, holding papers, or needs someone to push their wheel chair.
I think "Personal Bitch" would be more appropriate.
Ensure that non-disabled people at the event are aware not to use the personal assistant.
But it's only the Disabled people's bitch. Know that, evil able-bodied people.
Ensure that tea, coffee, herbal teas, de-caffeinated coffee, and water/juice is available to participants throughout the event. Artificial sweeteners, as an alternative to sugar, should also be available.
Seriously, when was the last time you saw anything other than a tea urn and a coffee urn at a meeting? Herbal tea is presumably for the Equalities Team.
Publicity information for participants should be in clear, simple English and use positive images. People will be more likely to attend if they see themselves reflected in photographs and images. For example, include Disabled people, Black and other minority ethnic people, and women etc.
Ahhhh so that's the thinking behind every photo on every council bit of literature.
This, people, is what Bristol City Council see as "worthy" expenditure of your Council Tax. Paying for people to do this, and think up policies like this.
Fucking hell. Somehow the planned 3.5% increase in Council Tax seems just that little bit more with it, doesn't it.
Give me strength.