Category Archives: policies


Accessibility policy

This version agreed by the Board Spring 2010

Next review due 2013


AACT aims to provide a website that is accessible to everyone. We design the site with usability and accessibility in mind.

If you have any problems accessing any information on the site please contact us.


Adjusting text size

 All font sizes are relative, with the exception of graphical text, and text size can be increased or decreased by following these steps:

  • For Microsoft Internet Explorer, go to the ‘View’ menu, select ‘Text Size’ and then the option that suits you.
  • For Mozilla Firefox, go to the ‘View’, select ‘Text Size’ and then either ‘Increase’ or ‘Decrease’ until the text is the size you require.
  • For Apple Safari: Use the Safari > Preferences > Appearance options in the browser menu.



All images have descriptive alternative text, with the exception of images that are used for aesthetic reasons only. Those images have null ALT text.



Colours have been chosen to give good contrast and to aid accessibility by colour-blind users.



This website is built using code compliant with W3C standards for XHTML 1.0 Strict and Cascading Style Sheets. You can check each of our pages for conformance by clicking the W3C buttons at the bottom of the particular page. If you find we have made a mistake please let us know by contacting us.


[There is one exception to adherence to XHTML Strict standards – we use the target attribute to allow some external webpages to open in a new window. Practical trials showed that this seems to be the lesser of two evils in trying to create an environment which is not muddling for users.]



We use PDF format for some information on our site. You will need Adobe reader (or another PDF viewer) to view PDF documents. Download the more recent version of Adobe reader here.


Testing for compliance

Testing for compliance with WAIG standards is not an exact science and we do not currently have the confidence to declare conformance to a specific level. We do test our website for accessibility using various utilities (such as Wave3.0 and those indicating colour contrast) as listed by W3C. We try it out on as many browsers and platforms as seems practical. From time to time we ask users with various accessibility needs to try the site for us.


Contact us

If you have any questions or comments, please contact us.


Useful Links

The following have useful advice and information about web accessibility.


Our thanks to the UK Government’s Companies House and Oxfam websites which inspired us to include this accessibility statement following their examples.

Safeguarding and child protection policy

Safeguarding and child protection policy

Policy statement

AACT acknowledges it has a responsibility for the safety of children. It also recognises that good safeguarding and child protection policies and procedures are of benefit to everyone involved with AACT’s work, as they can help protect them from erroneous or malicious allegations.


AACT is committed to practices which protect children from harm. The people covered by the policy include not only any employees but also those contracted to do work for the charity and those standing in a voluntary capacity. All those who have unsupervised access to or contact with children (both in person or remotely through electronic media) are required to:


• recognise and accept their responsibilities

• develop awareness of the issues which can cause children harm

• report concerns following the procedure below.


AACT will endeavour to safeguard children by:

  • adopting safeguarding and child protection procedures and a code of practice for all who work on behalf of the organisation
  • reporting concerns to the authorities
  • following carefully procedures for recruitment and selection of employees, contractors and volunteers.


AACT acknowledges the help it has received from the several other charities who, through their websites, have provided us with education and material to use in our policy, in particular the AMRSB.




It is AACT’s policy that:


1. All those working on behalf of AACT accept responsibility for the welfare of children who come into contact with AACT in connection with its tasks and functions, and that they will report any concerns about a child or somebody else’s behaviour, using the procedures laid down.


2. There is a Designated Safeguarding Person (DSP) within AACT who will take action following any expression of concern and the lines of responsibility in respect of child protection are clear. They may be contacted through the telephone numbers given on the website or by email to


3. The DSP knows how to make appropriate referrals to statutory child protection agencies.


4. All those who are involved with children on behalf of AACT should adhere to the Code of Practice in relation to children.


5. Information relating to any allegation or disclosure will be clearly recorded as soon as possible, and there is a procedure setting out who should record information and the time-scales for passing it on.


6. The Children Act 1989 states that the “welfare of the child is paramount”. This means that considerations of confidentiality which might apply to other situations should not be allowed to over-ride the right of children to be protected from harm. However, every effort should be made to ensure that confidentiality is maintained for all concerned when an allegation has been made and is being investigated, see appendix C.


7. AACT’s policy on duty of care to children will be referred to or included in recruitment, training, moderation and policy materials where appropriate, and the policies are openly and widely available to everyone and actively promoted within the organisation.


8. A culture of mutual respect between children and those who represent AACT in all its activities will be encouraged, with adults modelling good practice in this context.


9. All volunteers and anyone in paid or unpaid work on behalf of AACT with unsupervised access to children will be vetted appropriately.


10. It is part of AACT’s acceptance of its responsibility of duty of care towards children that anybody who encounters child protection concerns in the context of their work on behalf of AACT will be supported when they report their concerns in good faith.



Code of Practice

AACT expects that all those in paid or unpaid work on its behalf will be aware of this Code of Practice and adhere to its principles in their approach to all children.


1. It is important not to have physical contact with children and this should be avoided.


2. It is not good practice to take children alone in a car on journeys, however short.


3. Do not make suggestive or inappropriate remarks to or about a child, even in fun, as this could be misinterpreted.


4. It is important not to deter children from making a ‘disclosure’ of abuse through fear of not being believed, and to listen to what they have to say. Guidance on handling a disclosure is set out in Appendix C. If this gives rise to a child protection concern it is important to follow AACT’s procedure for reporting such concerns, and not to attempt to investigate the concern yourself.


5. Remember that those who abuse children can be of any age (even other children), gender, ethnic background etc, and it is important not to allow personal preconceptions about people to prevent appropriate action taking place.


6. Good practice includes valuing and respecting children as individuals, and the adult modelling of appropriate conduct – which will always exclude bullying, shouting, racism, sectarianism or sexism.


Designated safeguarding person

AACT has appointed a Designated Safeguarding Person (DSP) who is responsible for dealing with any concerns about the protection of children.  Contact details are available on the website. The role of the DSP is to


1. Know which outside child protection agency to contact in the event of a child protection concern coming to the notice of AACT.


2. Provide information and advice on child protection within AACT.


3. Ensure that appropriate information is available at the time of referral and that the referral is confirmed in writing under confidential cover.


4. Liaise with local children’s social care services and other agencies, as appropriate.


5. Keep relevant people within AACT informed about any action taken and any further action required; for example, disciplinary action against a member.


6. Ensure that a proper record is kept of any referral and action taken, and that this is kept safely and in confidence.


7. Advise AACT of safeguarding and child protection training needs.

Procedure for reporting concerns

People could have their suspicion or concern raised in a number of ways, the most likely of which are:


  1. the conduct of a member of AACT or someone working, volunteering or contracting for AACT


  1. a child “disclosing” abuse


  1. bruising or evidence of physical hurt


  1. unusual behaviour by a child.


If someone has such concerns they should be reported to the DSP.


Concerns about a specific child should be reported immediately by telephone to the DSP and confirmed in writing within 24 hours. Delay could prejudice the welfare of a child.


If the concerns relate to the conduct of a member of AACT these should be reported by phone to the DSP immediately. Steps will be taken to fully support anyone who in good faith reports his or her concerns about a colleague and every effort will be made to maintain confidentiality for all parties whilst the allegation is considered.


The DSP will consider the report and either refer this immediately to the authorities or, after taking appropriate advice (which may include discussing the circumstances on a confidential basis with the NSPCC), decide not to refer the concerns to the authorities but keep a full record of the concerns.


Note for volunteers and contractors

AACT is a small charity, currently with no premises or staff of its own. All our work is done in partnership with other organizations and our contact with beneficiaries and the public will occur on others’ premises and normally under the supervision of a member of the partner organization. In these cases it is important that you follow any safeguarding policies in place at the host organization, for example reporting any concerns to their designated person. If this is impossible in practice, then AACT’s Designated Safeguarding Person should be contacted.


AACT also tends not to have long-term persistent contact with the same individuals. It is quite possible therefore that you will not ‘officially’ know that someone you are talking with is classified as a vulnerable adult. If you have any concerns about the safety of an individual you should report them as outlined below, whether or not you are certain of their ‘official’ vulnerable status, leaving it to professionals in the field to decide on further action.




Definitions of abuse


1. Physical Abuse

Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. It may be the result of a deliberate act, but could also be caused through the omission or failure to act to protect.


2. Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional ill-treatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve making a child feel or believe that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. Some level o emotional abuse is involved in all types of ill treatment of a child, though it may occur alone.


3. Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, whether or not the child is aware of, or consents to, what is happening. It may involve physical contact, including rape or oral sex, or non penetrative acts such as fondling. Boys and girls can be sexually abused by males and/or females, and by other young people. It also includes non-contact activities such as involving children in watching or taking part in the making of pornographic material, or encouraging children to behave in inappropriate ways.


4. Neglect

Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. It may involve failing to provide adequate food, shelter and clothing, or failing to ensure that a child gets appropriate medical care or treatment.





Recruitment and selection procedures


AACT has adopted appropriate recruitment and selection procedures for volunteers and consultants in the context of safeguarding and child protection and these include the following:


1. A clear definition of any role so that the most suitable appointee can be identified.


2. Identification of key selection criteria.


3. Confirmation of the identity of the applicant.


4. Requirement to declare previous convictions and obtain CRB disclosure for those candidates whose work will bring them into contact with children or who will have a management responsibility in relation to those whose work does bring them into such contact.


5. A clear guarantee that disclosed information will be treated in confidence and not used against applicants unfairly, including adherence to the Criminal Records Bureau code of practice.


6. Use of several selection techniques to maximise the chance of safe recruitment, eg interview, references, checks.


7. At least one representative from AACT meeting personally with every applicant, and an exploration of their attitudes towards working with children.





Responding appropriately to a child making an allegation of abuse


1. Stay calm.


2. Listen carefully to what is said.


3. Find an appropriate early opportunity to explain that it is likely that the information will need to be shared with others – do not promise to keep secrets.


4. Tell the child that the matter will only be disclosed to those who need to know about it.


5. Allow the child to continue at her/his own pace.


6. Ask questions for clarification only, and at all times avoid asking questions that suggest a particular answer.


7. Reassure the child that they have done the right thing in telling you.


8. Tell them what you will do next, and with whom the information will be shared.


9. As soon as possible, record in writing what was said/communicated, using the child’s own words. Note the date, time, any names mentioned and to whom the information was given and ensure that the record is signed and dated.


10. It is important to remember that the person who first encounters a case of alleged abuse is not responsible for deciding whether abuse has occurred. That is a task for the professional child protection agencies, following a referral from the Designated Safeguarding Person in the organisation.

Data protection policy

This version agreed by the Board Autumn 2010

Next review due 2013


AACT recognises its obligations to beneficiaries, staff, volunteers and others with whom it does business to process data reasonably and fairly.


Access-ability Communications Technology Ltd (AACT) is a data controller under the meaning of the UK’s Data Protection Act.


This policy applies to information relating to identifiable individuals. Its purpose is to enable AACT to

  • comply with the law in respect of the data it holds about individuals
  • follow good practice;
  • protect AACT’s supporters, staff and other individuals
  • protect the organisation.


AACT will

  • not only comply with the law but also monitor good practice guidelines from main charitable umbrella bodies and follow these where appropriate
  • respect individuals’ rights
  • be open and honest with individuals whose data is held
  • provide training and support for staff and volunteers who handle personal data, so that they can act confidently and consistently


AACT’s first priority is to avoid causing harm to individuals.  This means

  • keeping information securely in the right hands
  • holding good quality information.


AACT will have a designated Data Protection Officer with the following responsibilities

  • Keeping informed about changes in the law relating to Data Protection
  • Regularly checking at least one of the main voluntary sector organisations to obtain updates in good practice guidance
  • Briefing the board on Data Protection responsibilities
  • Reviewing Data Protection and related policies
  • Advising other staff on Data Protection issues
  • Ensuring that Data Protection induction and training takes place
  • Notification and any other responsibilities under the UK’s Data Protection Act as required
  • Handling subject access requests
  • Approving unusual or controversial disclosures of personal data
  • Approving contracts with Data Processors
  • Ensuring accuracy of data held, for example by an annual audit of filing systems
  • Maintaining and publishing the method for Data Subject Access


All staff, volunteers and sub-contractors where relevant are required to read, understand and accept any policies and procedures that relate to the personal data AACT holds.


Confidentiality applies to a wider range of information than covered by Data Protection. In cases where someone will be working with confidential information for AACT they will be required to sign a confidentiality statement.

Our privacy statement


We have a legal duty under the Data Protection Act to prevent your information falling into the wrong hands.  We must also ensure that the data we hold is accurate, adequate, relevant and not excessive.


Normally the only information we hold comes directly from you.  Whenever we collect information from you, we will make it clear which information is required in order to provide you with the information, service or goods you need.  You do not have to provide us with any additional information unless you choose to.  We store your information securely on a computer system, we restrict access to those who have a need to know, and we train people in handling the information securely.


AACT is a mainly voluntary organization, but we do run projects which may have paid workers, for example from another charity, university or a self-employed person. We may pass your personal details to these people if (and only if) it is relevant to the work they are contracted to do with or for us. Such people will be required to agree to AACT’s confidentiality and data protection policies.


You have the right to a copy of all the information we hold about you (apart from a very few things which we may be obliged to withhold because they concern other people as well as you). To obtain a copy write to the Data Protection Officer at AACT.  There is a charge of £10 for a copy of your data (as permitted by law).  We aim to reply as promptly as we can and, in any case, within the legal maximum of 40 days.


Currently our website does not automatically collect data about users (such as IP addresses), nor does it set any cookies. This may change in the future, and our policy will be publicized on the website and this statement updated.

Fundraising policy

Fundraising Policy

(merged with the previously published Policy which was agreed in Spring 2010)

Reviewed by the Board at its Summer 2011 meeting

Next review due Summer 2012


  • The Board of Trustee Directors (the Board) will act as fundraising coordinator.
  • Fundraising will be targeted to fulfill the mission of the charity, to add value to the work of disability professionals by providing help, particularly with outside funding bodies. Leveraging funding in the area of those with communication difficulties is our priority in developing potential projects and funding applications.
  • There will be careful selection of potential funders to ensure AACT meets their requirements and charitable aims and bids will be individualized and targeted as appropriate.
  • Any proposal to seek funds must be agreed by the Board in advance of any approach to potential funders.
  • There will be active relationship building to enhance the benefit to both parties.
  • Any project must provide a fundraising plan to be agreed by the Board.
  • Any ongoing service must have a sustainable funding plan approved by the Board.
  • The admin team is responsible for raising the funds required for basic inescapable costs and for fundraising costs.
  • The Board will decide on a lead fundraiser for any project or service it wishes to take forward.


Much of the work of AACT is undertaken by volunteers, but we have in the past paid modest amounts to a professional fundraiser and may do so again if Trustees feel this is in the best interests of our beneficiaries.


We take notice of the guidelines put forward by the Institute of Fundraising ( and believe like them that fundraising activities should be undertaken with clarity and openness.


If you have suggestions for fundraising, or would like to comment on our fundraising in any way, please do get in touch.

Health and Safety Policy

This version agreed by the Board Autumn 2010

Next review Winter 2013-14 Board Meeting

We expect all those working or volunteering with AACT to have a mature, professional regard for the health and safety of others and of themselves.

As much of our work takes place in premises managed by other organisations, in particular our work in schools or on University of Reading campuses, the area Safety Policies of the relevant institution apply in those areas.

In the case of a volunteer, it is the responsibility of their main Contact to ensure they have received appropriate Health and Safety information during their induction (see website, section on working and volunteering with us). In the case of paid consultants (who may be self-employed, or employees of an external organisation), each consultant should ensure they understand the Health and Safety requirements of whatever area they are in. If they are unsure, they have a responsibility to contact AACT (see contact information on our website) to clarify Health and Safety issues.

Appended below is an example Risk Assessment form (based on one used when working at the University of Reading).

Pre-sessional checks: In the case of AACT working with an organisation augmenting their ‘normal’ work (e.g. in a school providing a class-like session) the host organisation will of course need to satisfy itself that the activity and area have been checked. In the case of AACT working on others’ premises to organise e.g. a one-off activity (e.g. in a partner museum or other public place) the AACT organiser should do a pre-sessional check (using the headings in the form below and with local staff as appropriate) to ensure that the spaces are set-up as expected for the event.

Event Name i-say tea Date 19 March 2011 Time 2-4.30
Location MERL Event organiser Annette Haworth Event safety controller Annette Haworth/Museum staff
Assessor Fred Date Permission given by Director of UMASCS

Section 1 – Identify hazards – consider all the activities within the social event and tick the boxes of significant hazards that apply

1. Fire hazards 7. Layout and traffic routes 13. Pressurised equipment 19. Inflatables 25. Seating arrangements 31. Confined space
2. Crowd control 8. Lighting levels 14. Noise and vibration 20. Other temporary structures 26. Welfare 32. Lone working
3. Slips, trips, housekeeping 9. Lighting systems 15. Environmental noise 21. Fairground equipment 27. Sanitation 33. Vehicles, driving
4. Fall of person 10. Heating and ventilation 16. Communication 22. Lasers 28. Food provision x 34. Machinery/lifting equipment
5. Fall of objects 11. Electrical equipment x 17. Violence to attendees or staff 23. Fireworks 29. Work with animals 35. Other – please specify
6. Manual handling 12. Use of portable tools 18. Marquees 24. Pyrotechnics 30. Chemicals, fumes dust


Section 2 – Who may be at risk – tick the boxes of all relevant persons at risk

Employees x Contractors Students x
Children Visitors x Special needs


Section 3 – Risk controls– For each hazard identified in Section 1 and for the persons identified in Section 2, complete this section

Hazard no. Hazard description Existing controls Risk level Further action needed
High Med Low


Use of PCs 


PCs will be used in the areas designed for visitors to use such equipment (ie ground floor of museum and St Andrews) x Usual care with leads in Reading room (which is designed for such use)


Food provision Food will be provided in the Studio which is set up for such provision x  Food is very simple, and bought and consumed immediately.Tea urn supplied by the museum and used in usual place with experienced person overseeing it.



Information policy

This version adopted by the Board Winter 2010-11

Next review due on or before Winter 2013-14


We aim to keep the information we hold relevant and fit for purpose.


In line with our purpose ‘to advance the education of the public’ as stated in our Memorandum of Association, we will publish suitably-reviewed information we have that is relevant to our mission where it is both practical and legal so to do.


We are also keen to ensure anyone with an interest in our mission can find out about our policies, ways of getting involved and what we are doing and will therefore publish relevant documentation.


To implement our policy we will


  • Obey all laws concerning the dissemination of information, in particular the UK’s Data Protection Act
  • State openly our attitude and practices as regards data related to a person
  • Regularly review the information that we hold and/or publish to check its currency, accuracy and legality
  • Publish information via our website or other electronic, publicly and widely accessible means
  • Keep our information securely
  • Treat sympathetically requests for information in other formats, subject to the practicality (including cost) of such provision

Policy on Equal Opportunities, Diversity and Harassment

Policy on Equal Opportunities, Diversity and Harassment

Adopted by the Winter 2010-11 Board meeting

Next review due on or before: Winter 2011-12


In line with its status as a charity set up to help inclusion within society, AACT confirms its commitment to a comprehensive policy of Equal Opportunities in which individuals are selected, developed, appraised and otherwise treated on the basis of their relevant merits and abilities and are given Equal Opportunities within the Charity.


The object of this policy is to ensure that:


no applicant, volunteer, trustee, director, member, student intern, supplier, provider, contractor or user of facilities shall be discriminated against on account (for example) of his or her sex, sexual orientation, gender identification, marital status, Civil Partnership status, family responsibilities, race (including colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins and citizenship), religion or belief, political belief, membership (or non-membership) of a Trades Union, disability (including HIV status), age or socio-economic background.


AACT opposes any form of discrimination on these stated grounds unless it can be objectively justified as genuine, substantial, reasonable and within the law.


Evidence of discriminatory behaviour (including harassment) will be treated as a potential disciplinary matter and could result in cessation of the individual’s association with the Charity.

The effective implementation of this policy can only be achieved by all those associated with AACT acting appropriately. The implementation of this policy will be aided by publishing it and by drawing attention to it in other communications as relevant.

Working with AACT

Working with AACT

Agreed by the Board Winter 2010-11. Next review due on or before: Winter 2013-14

AACT does not have its own employees. Rather, it is helped towards achieving its aims by people holding various other types of role. The aim of this short document is to list the Charity’s policies relating to: trustee-directors, volunteers, paid consultants, student interns, organizations.

The documents giving further information relating to each role are named here. They are published through the Charity’s website. While the roles differ, all outputs must relate directly to AACT’s mission and priorities. Anyone doing work for/on behalf of AACT should enter into an appropriate agreement including to abide by any relevant AACT policies.


Directors are elected by the members of the Company as detailed in the Memorandum and Articles, simultaneously becoming a trustee of the Charity. All must follow the agreed policies documented in Responsibilities and duties of Trustee-Directors.


The Charity and the Volunteer must abide by the policies documented in the Volunteer policy. Apart from ad hoc one-off help (e.g. help at a fundraising sale) there must be a Volunteer agreement in place which lists the activities the Volunteer will undertake. The agreement must have the approval of a Trustee-Director before any activity commences.

Paid consultants

Individual’s circumstances differ and there will be occasion when special contractual conditions will apply. However, the type of agreement we normally require with a self-employed consultant is shown in the Consultancy agreement template. The outcomes expected from the consultancy and the payment terms must be clearly agreed and the agreement signed by a Trustee-Director on behalf of AACT and by the Consultant before work commences.

Student interns

An individual associated with AACT may be prepared to take on a student intern. The situation will differ from that of a volunteer in that there will be some agreement with the student’s host institution (for example: on giving feedback on performance). Whether the individual concerned is prepared to spend the time on supervision, monitoring etc required is a matter for them but as in other cases, any agreement with both student and institution must be clearly understood and agreed by a Trustee-Director before commencement. Particular care will be exercised in making any agreement on accepting an intern to ensure all parties understand there is no payment associated with the role and to be clear that the student’s institution covers insurance issues appropriately.


We understand that organizations providing goods or services may have their own form of contract and we therefore do not have an AACT ‘standard’. Any contract must clearly state the goods or services to be provided, must be clear on matters such as insurance and must be agreed and signed by a Trustee-Director before commencement of delivery of any of the goods or services.