Agenda and draft minutes

Disability Advisory & Access Forum - Wednesday, 3 March 2021 7.00 pm

Venue: Online only - Zoom

Contact: Lizzie RIch  01344 352253


No. Item


Census 2021


Jeremy May, Census Engagement Manager gave the group an overview of the census process and what accessibility measures were being put in place to support people with additional needs to complete the census. This was the first time it would be a digital first census, however paper copies would be available for anyone who needed it. Engagement will be focused on hard to reach groups and those who are under-represented and might need support to fill out the form.  Extra help would be available including online chat, video tutorials, Easy read / large print and braille. Field officers would also be knocking on doors to provide support if necessary. The census website was designed to be fully accessible.


Following questions, the following points were noted:

-        Communal establishments including hospitals and prisons will complete a census form and follow specific criteria including whether they are a resident or visitor. Staff at the location will help with the completion

-        Last year 97% of people in Bracknell Forest area completed the Census. The national target was 94% and it was hoped this could be replicated this year. Focus was on communities who might need additional support.

-        The Ark Trust confirmed they would be happy to distribute easy read guides to their 600 members and advertise via social media.



COVID Community Response


This was a partnership between the Ark, Involve and Bracknell Forest Council. An overview of key events since the beginning of the pandemic. A huge volunteering effort had taken place in Bracknell Forest which focused on minimising risk and supporting residents.

-        Initially 1800 calls were being taken every week with 4060 tasks were completed during the first lockdown. 907 volunteers were still active at the end of the lockdown period.

-        Data was shared of how many residents in each ward were being supported. The majority of residents helped were shielding. The most deliveries was to Priest wood and garth area.

-        47% of visits were medical in nature such as collecting prescriptions and samples.

-        Volunteers were also helping the vaccine hub in Waitrose.

-        It was expected that residents with long Covid and the clinically vulnerable would continue to need support.

-        It was noted that the partnership working meant there were some really good outcomes for vulnerable residents and they were supported by other local charities who were checking in and supporting residents.

-        Volunteers were thanked for giving up their time and the support they had given the communities.



Equalities Scheme


Sam Wood, Community Engagement and Equalities Officer and Harjit Hunjan, Head of Community Engagement and Equalities, presented to the group on the new Equalities scheme which was currently being developed. Several workshops had been held with staff to gain their views. The Council were also interested in hearing from members of protected groups on what they thought should be included in the new scheme. Following questions, it was noted that there would be some public consultation and the feedback would be summarised. The link to complete the consultation would be circulated to the group when it became available.



Any Other Business

·        COVID vaccinations – questions to feed into community engagement team


Forum members gave feedback regarding the Coronavirus vaccination scheme community engagement work and arrangements were praised for the organisation. It was noted that vaccinations were available at local venues and that there would be enough suppliers to vaccinate everyone eventually. Waitrose had donated use of the venue available until December 2021 so that booster vaccinations could be given to residents if necessary next winter.


It was questioned whether local groups knew that lateral flow testing was available and the group confirmed that they were aware. The Ark confirmed that their volunteers were using the testing sites, and all volunteers had been offered tests. It was noted that those with disabilities were not using the lateral flow testing currently as they had been recommended not leaving their homes.  It was noted there was currently the ability to provide more lateral flow testing.



Items for Future Meetings

To note proposed items for discussion at the Panel’s next meeting and consider any additional items for discussion at future meetings.


 Items for future meetings

-        Blue badge allocation would be reviewed by the Overview and Scrutiny panel and it was hoped the group could input.

-        How can we support mental and physical health recovery for disabled people including learning disabilities following the end of pandemic restrictions?

-        How to help young people with disabilities into work especially following the easing of restrictions.

-        What strategies can be put in place to help people coming out of shielding.