Annual Report of the Information Commissioner 2016


Welcome to the Customer Communications Toolkit for the Public Service - A Universal Design Approach. The guidance in this toolkit is to inform the design of customer communication in the Public Service. It is based on a Universal Design approach promoted by the Centre for Excellence in Universal Design (CEUD) at the National Disability Authority (NDA).

Universal Design is about creating an environment that can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people, regardless of their age, size, ability or disability.

(In part synopsis from the Disability Act 2005)

In this toolkit you will find sections on the design of Written, Verbal and Digital Communication. It is intended that this toolkit be used in the public service for planning, training and informing contractors. The toolkit sections contain selected statements, examples, tips, checklists and links to learn more. Parts from relevant sections can be used separately and can be made available at service locations. The last section has Question Sets to help check your customer service communication.

Development of communication designs should be guided by an awareness of the following sequence about how people interact with information:

  1. Access (approach and perceive)
  2. Understand (comprehend and decide)
  3. Use (act/react and perform)

Also, it is important to consider that the context of the physical and social environment affects how people use information to perform an activity.

This toolkit complements the Plain English Style Guide for the Public Service developed by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in partnership with the National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA).

Learn more

Visit the website for the Centre for Excellence in Universal Design

The National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA) provides Plain English Guidelines.

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