Survey of Post Office accessibility
Post Offices must do more to provide a more accessible service for people with visual or hearing loss, a report by Consumer Focus Wales shows. Consumer Focus Wales, Action on Hearing Loss Cymru and Royal National Institute of Blind People Cymru have come together to look at the experiences of people with sight and hearing loss when accessing post office services in Wales.
The report, which has some relevance to libraries or any institution that welcomes the public, highlighted several key areas:
- Customer service
- Hearing loops
- Design and layout of the post office
- Private discussions
The report then identifies ways to improve:
For counter staff:
- how to identify a customer with sensory loss
- how to communicate effectively with someone with sensory loss
- information on all available specialist products for people with sight loss (eg Articles for the Blind).
For post office operators:
- best practice for décor and layout to help identify and reduce potential trip hazards and advise how to lessen the risks for people with sight loss, including lighting and use of barriers in queues
- information on tonal contrast, décor, surfaces and internal layout into planning guidance for new or refurbishing post offices, particularly as part of the programme of network transformation for anyone converting to, or starting up one of, the new Local or Main models
- ensure that planning guidance for new counters includes a requirement to install loop systems as standard and an assessment of whether full security windows are needed at every counter
- advice on purchasing, installing and maintaining loop systems (including portable loop systems for smaller premises) for existing post offices.
A full discussion of how improvements can be achieved can be found in the recommendations section of the main report. The full report is available as a PDF from Consumer Focus Wales.