My Department aims to ensure that the needs of all its customers, including people with disabilities, are met and that the rights of equal treatment are upheld in the delivery of services.
In accordance with Section 26(2) of the Disability Act 2005, I have appointed two Access Officers who are responsible for providing, or arranging for, assistance and guidance to persons with disabilities accessing services provided by my Department and generally to act as a point of contact for people wishing to access such services.
In addition to the Access Officers, Department officials are available in all regions to provide assistance to applicants who have questions or concerns on any scheme operated by the Department. My officials have a detailed knowledge of the relevant schemes and services and are in a position to respond to customer queries.
An audio version of the Department’s Explanatory Handbook for Cross Compliance requirements is available on the Department’s website under the Farmer Schemes and Payments/Cross Compliance area. The Department’s website also has the “BrowseAloud” facility to read web pages aloud for people with literacy and visual impairments.
I wish to assure the Deputy that any queries from persons with literacy or learning difficulties relating to access to any schemes and services are handled in a confidential and professional manner.
Based on the volume of requests for assistance in recent years, I consider the measures in place in my Department are appropriate and adequate to deal with queries of this nature.