City of Sydney Case Study: Contributions to Inclusion Disability Action Plan
Since 2017, all local councils in New South Wales have been asked to define, develop, implement and maintain an Inclusion Disability Action Plan. The IDAP helps people with a range of disabilities have their needs met within the planning and execution of city infrastructure, the running of events and improvements to existing places and services.
Today, we look at the City of Sydney Inclusion Disability Action Plan and the contributions made by Briometrix.
The City of Sydney is actively working on their fourth Inclusion Disability Action Plan for the visitors to and citizens of the City of Sydney local council area. The 25-kilometre area is home to 224,000 residents and includes a bustling CBD and many of Australia’s most iconic tourist destinations.
The IDAP goals include but are not limited to improving the public domain, greater access to library services, improving the performance of public events in terms of attracting people with disabilities and creating a more user-friendly website.
Briometrix answered an RFQ successfully and was charged with aiding the City of Sydney achieve elements of their IDAP within assisting access to 6 key primary public places and the events often held there.
The over-arching plans for the City of Sydney approach to disability include the following strategic directions:
- Positive community attitudes and behaviours towards people with disability and carers.
- More liveable communities for people with disability and carers.
- A higher rate of meaningful employment of people with disability and carers through inclusive practices.
- Equitable access to mainstream services for people with disability through inclusive systems and processes.
You can download ‘A City for All: Inclusion (Disability) Action Plan 2017 to 2021’ for further details.
When working with Briometrix, this meant designing the project to:
- Cater to a wide and varied populace. The City of Sydney council area has a broad range of people who live, work and visit the area that require support. This includes catering to large scale events in 6 key areas to support the needs of a wide range of people with disabilities, cultural backgrounds and age groups.
- Meet budget constraints. Many councils, including City of Sydney, have budget constraints as well as a high level of accountability with budgetary spending. This means it is important to find elements large and small that can produce a disproportionate impact from initial investment to outcome.
- Remain nimble and able to change with the city and her people. A city like Sydney is always growing, building and adding new accessible elements. Data changes frequently and the City of Sydney recognised early on they needed a solution that could adapt with the city and its people. This includes changes to taxi ranks, inclusion of new lifts and ramps, accurate mapping of accessible toilets, demonstrating information such as gradients that may influence journey planning and more.
- Have proper representation. This includes encouraging input from the people living, working and visiting the area who have a vested interest in getting disability services as accurate and useful as possible.
- Manage the stakeholders effectively. City of Sydney has marshalled various departments, special interest groups, organisations, events teams and other councils to ensure the effectiveness of their IDAP. This also meant having people with disabilities as a central focus to planning, execution and giving feedback on proposals and plans in real time
- Put community at the heart of the plan. This meant not only physical barriers to accessibility, but also working with the best possible technology, community outreach initiatives and distribution models to cater for people with disability and interested family, carers, colleagues and friends
Briometrix has been asked to help connect Sydney’s public spaces, festivals and experiences to accessibility maps that cater to all.
Target areas are:
- Hyde Park in central Sydney
- Pirrama Park in Pyrmont
- Sydney Park in St Peters and Alexandria
- Glebe Foreshore Park
- Victoria Park (near Sydney University on Broadway)
The aim is to allow event organisers and people with disabilities the opportunity to map these areas with vital information.
This includes but is not limited to features such as accessible toilets, transport locations, entry and exit points and more.
It also includes looking at matching the capabilities of a person with disabilities, wheelchairs, movement aids, prams and other supports against the terrain leading to, from and within these designated areas.
These interactive maps will be available on the website but also via the smartphones for ease of use and to reach a wide audience of people.
This means empowering individuals and groups as well as event organisers with the sort of information needed to make events in Sydney, large and small, inclusive and accessible for everyone.
It is not only the technology that creates the ability. Much of the work is people powered.
“Using technology to service large-scale projects are the way of the future. So too is the feedback we receive. By using things like smartphones and websites with interactive mapping, you allow people access, participation and inclusion in the community. We look to our Advisory Panel for direct feedback. These are 10 disability community members we have specifically recruited to represent and drive these programs alongside us with practical advice from a lived experience perspective. We also monitor through NGOs and other programs to make it more robust. And we’re always keen for more feedback and advice. We love the feedback we receive via our website and email on what we can do to help make our IDAP a success. Plus, we report that feedback direct to the NSW Minister for Disability Services as part of our program’s accountability. Every bit helps build a stronger, effective and user-friendly city,” explained Ben Dowler, the Social Policy Officer and key convenor of the IDAP.
“The first step with any accessible mapping project for Briometrix is to recruit members of the wheelchair community to create the maps. Theory needs the practical and this is especially true of testing public spaces for disability access. When creating data and maps for people with disabilities to use, we’re all about user generated content. That way, it gives accurate data based on a wide variety of capability and health and fitness profiles for wheelchair users, the differences in wheelchairs and gets us honest, usable data. It also means that accessibility is driven by the people who need it the most. It’s great to be helping City of Sydney in their aims to create access while employing people with disabilities to make that happen,” said Natalie Verdon.
The City of Sydney is committed to implementing the precinct mapping project to assist people with disability best plan for their journey across the city.
To other councils looking at their Inclusion Disability Action Plan and/or accessibility needs, Ben had this to say:
“If you focus broadly on how you provide information, facilities, events as well as those vital feedback loops, you allow people with disabilities to participate with your city the way they want and on their terms.”
To businesses and interested parties, the potential is evident.
“With big festivals and events, accessibility is becoming more popular and vital. It adds an extra dimension to the experience of people with disabilities. And it means people aren’t choosing the way they experience Sydney, their hotel, events and other landmarks on whether or not their friend, family member or colleague with disability can participate. You can plan ahead. It has benefits for all kinds of people and businesses”.
To find out more about the program, head to:
To have your voice heard on accessibility in the City of Sydney, head to the City of Sydney website.
If you are a council or large-scale event organiser looking to see what Briometrix can do for you, contact Natalie Verdon on firstname.lastname@example.org.