Accessible Information Standard – What it means in Practice

From 1st August 2016, all NHS and publicly funded social care programs are required to abide by the Accessible Information Standard. The Standard was introduced to offer guidance around best practice for communication support to service users with a disability or sensory impairment, ensuring they receive the right care and support.

The end-goal of the Standard is to promote equality and to eliminate discrimination faced by those who it protects, but it also shines a light on the areas of the language industry that require improvement.

While providing spoken language support is out of the scope of the Accessible Information Standard the role that language services play in implementing it successfully in healthcare and social care settings is vital.

We celebrate cultural diversity by providing spoken language support, but do we offer enough support for those with sensory impairments?

What It Means in Practice

The Accessible Information Standard calls for large-scale changes to the NHS to become more accommodating to patients with a sensory impairment and calls for changes to be made throughout the sector.

  • A standardised approach which meets the communication needs of patients with sensory impairments.
  • Information distributed by the NHS and partner social care services must become more accessible and be included in the standardised approach.
  • Translation of documents and guides into formats which can be easily accessed and understood by patients and carers.
  • Providing interpreters to patients who require them to provide communication support, i.e. sign language interpreters.

All proposed actions put forward in the standard are there to ensure that patients can make informed decisions on their well-being and treatment and do not feel excluded from any discussions.

Accessing Information Through British Sign Language

An essential part of the Accessible information framework is providing British Sign Language interpreters to deaf patients. With an approximately 9 million deaf people in the UK, this is no small feat.

But this is where the language industry can begin to provide our support.

By choosing to partner with regional specialist BSL agencies, we have guaranteed high-quality interpreting for our clients by ensuring trained specialists attend every BSL booking that we cover, and all interpreters have full DBS clearance.

How We Can Help

To ensure those with sensory impairments and learning difficulties are included in essential communication, we offer a number of services to ensure no one is excluded from receiving the vital care and support that they are entitled to. Alongside the BSL support, we provide:

  • Audiobooks
  • Braille translations
  • Moon print
  • Large print and easy read documents.

Being able to correctly understand information has never been more pressing than during the current COVID-19 outbreak, as the information prescribed by government bodies is essential in preserving public health.

In line with the AIS, we have produced a number of documents which provide equitable information and guidance on COVID-19 in the form of a signed video especially created in conjunction with Communication Plus, and easy-read guides which provide information on social distancing and what to do if you display symptoms of COVID-19.

If you would like to find out more about how Word360 can support your organisation in meeting the Accessible Information Standard, contact us on 0121 554 1981 or email at





Written by Portia C

About the author