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Scottish Digital Government

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  1. Digital Government Transformation
    4 Topics
  2. Service Design
    4 Topics
  3. Agile Development
    2 Topics
  4. Digital Identity
    6 Topics
  5. Connecting Scotland
    2 Topics
  6. Government Cloud and Applications
    6 Topics
  7. Local Government
    3 Topics
  8. Digital Health and Social Care
    3 Topics
  9. Digital Democracy
    1 Topic
Lesson 2, Topic 3
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Neatebox – Making Scottish Government More Accessible

digitalscotland July 26, 2021
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Neatebox is one of the rising stars of Scotland’s tech community.

Their award-winning and free app WelcoMe provides a personalised accessibility profile which improves the interactions between customer service teams and disabled people.

It enables staff to be aware of the requirements of their visitors in advance of their arrival, raising the confidence of both the visitor and customer service team member and helps to build lasting relationships.

Accessibility for Government

Physical accessibility of Government, such as wheelchair ramps for venues, are now well understood best practices, but digital accessibility tends to focus only on web sites. For example check out the section.

Neatebox bridges these two worlds – Utilizing digital technology to make physical venues more accessible.

Businesses have been quick to agree with the importance of this dynamic. In Durham the Simon Berry Optometrist has adopted WelcoMe, where the app informs venue staff of customer needs and provides a reminder to enable them to prepare adjustments. The system also offers tips and in-the-moment training to staff to help provide the best support for disabled visitors.

For the Scottish public sector Neatebox boasts the flagship venue as an early adopter.

As they report here the Scottish Parliament is one of the first venues to utilize WelcoMe for this purpose, enabling disabled people to set up a personal profile and request assistance in advance.

The Parliament is then notified of the request and receives advice to aid the interaction with visitors depending on their needs. Using beacon technology placed around the building, the Parliament is notified when the visitor requiring assistance has arrived at the Parliament allowing us to provide a personalised service that is tailored to the individual.

The app complements the work that the Parliament has already done to ensure that it is open and accessible to all, including a range of access facilities, from portable seating, wheelchairs for loan and audio / multi-media tour handsets in a variety of languages, including BSL.

Another great example is the ‘Welcome Aboard‘ project, for making rail travel more accessible and which uses an existing smartphone app that works for both passengers and staff, providing two-way communication and a ‘check-in’ feature that alerts staff to a passenger’s arrival at the station.

Bridging the Digital Divide

A broader context for this solution can be seen through campaigns intended to ‘bridge the digital divide’, such as this initiative from the Good Things Foundation.

While of course providing more broadband access for every one is one core component of this goal, what Neatebox demonstrates is that there are multiple facets to digital accessibility, and governments seeking to achieve a wholly inclusive digital nation, especially to improve the visitor experience to their own venues, should be conscious of and embrace this full spectrum.