Communications Plan

1. Our Commitment to Public Awareness

The purpose of our Communications Plan is to promote awareness of our policies and procedures for ensuring that our services are accessible to all, including those with disabilities and to meet the language needs of the clients that we serve.

2. Policies and Procedures

Our Equality and Diversity Policy as well as the Communications Plan is contained within our Office Manual. Ultimate responsibility for implementing the policy rests with the Firm. The Firm has appointed a Equality and Diversity Manager, Mr Terence Walsh who is responsible for the operation of the Equality Diversity policy as well as the Communications Plan.

3. Identifying Diverse Needs

We seek to serve all Communities and treat everyone equally and with the same attention, courtesy and respect regardless.

We have identified several communities with the following needs:
(i) Language needs
(ii) Disability (including physical disabilities, sensory or learning difficulties)
(iii) Age
(iv) Special Needs (including long-term mental or physical health condition)

This list is not exhaustive and the Firm is committed to continue to review and update this for the betterment of the communities that we serve.

4. Ensuring Accessibility

Our client base includes those with differing cultural, ethnic and racial backgrounds. Due to the legal services we provide to our clients there is therefore often a need for interpreters to be involved from the inception of a case. We have an approved register of interpreters who we can engage with from the outset to ensure that we have a full understanding of the issues that a client is presented with.

For those clients with disabilities, the majority of our offices are on ground level and wheelchair accessible, the exception being the Blackpool office which is on the first floor. However, to ensure and combat any accessibility issues for any clients that are unable to visit our offices, we also offer appointments to clients at their home or at an alternative location wherever possible to do so.

For those with poor vision, any correspondence will utilise larger text fonts that are designed to be easier to read. All of the text on our website is black against a white background and is in a print ready format. Most browsers now have the ability to zoom in/zoom out.

For those with language needs, several of our employees are multilingual and where required translators can be acquired. In conjunction with the support from the Legal Aid Agency interpreters can also be instructed to communicate in relation to Legal Aid funded cases.

There are public car parks available at all office locations. The parking available at our Haslingden office is free and paid parking is available at our other offices, all offices have disabled parking bays nearby. Any further information is available upon request.

We will continue to review the situation throughout and any concerns or queries raised by clients or potential clients in this regard will be directed to the Firm’s appointed Equality and Diversity Manager.

5. Availability to the Public

We will ensure that our Equality and Diversity procedures are available to the public in the following ways:

(i) We will publish our Communications Plan on our website so that clients and prospective clients are aware of our policies and procedures and how to request further information in this regard. At first point of contact our fee-earners and receptionists will invite clients/potential clients to let us know whether they have any special requirements that need to be catered for or accommodated.

(ii) Our Client Care letters/Terms of Business will reference our Equality and Diversity policy.

(iii) We will ensure that all personnel, employees and directors, are sufficiently trained to deal with people with courtesy, politeness and consideration regardless of their background.

(iv) We will ensure that all personnel, employees and directors, take care to assess what clients can understand, and ask the client how they need to communicate rather than making assumptions about this based on their ethnic origin, age or disability.

(v) We will ensure that our premises and services are accessible to people with disabilities, as far as possible and attend clients at their home or at an alternative venue if required.

(vi) We will ask clients if there are any adjustments that need to be made to help them better access our services.

(vii) We will inform our LAA Contract Manager about any reasonable adjustments if our client requires correspondence in an alternative format from the LAA.

6. Review

We will carry out an annual review of this plan in conjunction with our Equality and Diversity Policy to check its effectiveness in action and whether any further training or adjustments need to be made to ensure that we are continuing to provide a quality service to our clients.