Old name, new purpose: why we’ve gone back to RNID

Running an accessible election campaign 

Illustration of a woman in a white blouse and blue pants conversing with a man in a suit with a badge, holding a paper.

Right now, deaf people and people with hearing loss are excluded from the democratic process, simply because it’s inaccessible. That’s more than 12 million potential voters you and your party are missing out on. 

By removing the barriers they face, you can better reach and engage with everyone in your constituency. Use our guidance below to run an inclusive campaign and act in an accessible way should you win.

How to make your online campaign inclusive  

Ensure all your constituents can access your online materials and meetings to increase the pool of your potential voters. Here’s how to make your video, online and digital content accessible for constituents who are deaf or have hearing loss. 

Ways to make social media accessible

  • Record videos or audio clips in a quiet place with low background noise.
  • Have any speakers in the video face the camera and make sure their faces are well lit, so people who lipread can follow what’s being said.
  • Using our guides above, caption all your videos. Automatic captions are often unreliable and inaccurate, so remember to check them before publishing your videos.
  • If captions aren’t available, provide a transcript of your video or audio clips. Include important background noise or sound effects – such as a doorbell ringing or music playing.
  • Avoid using abbreviations and too much jargon.
  • When posting images, remember to use ALT text. This describes what is happening in an image, so that people who use screen readers or can’t interpret images understand your content.

How to make your campaign deaf aware 

Use our communication tips

We’ve put together some tips on how best to communicate with your constituents while door-to-door canvassing.
Download our communication tips

Allocate a hearing loss champion for your campaign

Ensure there’s someone in your party or team who understands the impact of hearing loss. They can shine a light on your constituents’ perspectives and communication requirements, and provide party staff, campaigners and volunteers with deaf awareness tips.   

Consider deaf awareness training

This will give you and your staff the skills and confidence to communicate with deaf people and those with hearing loss. We offer five-star deaf awareness training packages for organisations.

How to make your in-person events accessible

From choosing a suitable venue to running your event on the day, here’s how to make your events and community surgeries accessible for those who are deaf or have hearing loss. 

Preparing communication support in advance

  • Checking requirements – in advance of your event, ask constituents about their accessibility requirements. This will give you enough time to book communication support.
  • Booking communication support – many deaf people and people with hearing loss will benefit from additional support so they can take part in your event. This may be a BSL interpreter, lip reader, note taker, or assistive equipment (personal listener or room loop). Find out more about types of communication support.

Choosing an accessible venue

  • Hearing loops – choose a venue that has a hearing loop system installed. This system amplifies speech while reducing background noise, helping hearing aid users to hear more clearly. Where possible, avoid a noisy environment.
  • Venue access – does your venue’s building entrance require people to use an intercom to gain access? Deaf constituents won’t be able to communicate via intercom, so consider how else they can enter. 
  • Room lighting and layout – make sure lighting is good enough for lip readers to see the speakers’ faces, so they can follow what’s being said. Check there is space for BSL interpreters to share the stage or podium. 
  • Seating – prioritise seating for constituents who are deaf or have hearing loss so they can see their communication support, such as BSL interpreters or speech-to-text reporter screens. 
  • Signage – display easy to read signs and venue maps so people don’t have to rely on audio announcements to find their way around.

Other things to consider when planning your event

  • Emergency measures – deaf constituents might not hear a fire alarm or audio announcements. Make sure emergency measures are accessible by having a clear and visible evacuation plan. 
  • Transcripts – consider preparing transcripts of your speech in advance, so constituents can read along during the event. 

Promoting your event

  • Digital promotional content – make sure your website and social media content is accessible by captioning your videos. Automatic captioning tools are not always accurate, so read them before publishing your content. 
  • Leaflets – British Sign Language is grammatically different to spoken English and will be the first language of some of your deaf constituents. Use plain written language whenever possible. 
  • Promote that your event is accessible – let constituents know their communication requirements have been considered so they feel confident to attend.

During your event

  • Identify support staff – make constituents aware of who is the event’s hearing loss champion and support staff, so they know who to speak to about their support requirements. 
  • Speaking to deaf constituents – when talking with a deaf person, remember to look and speak directly to them, not a BSL interpreter. This will also help with lipreading. 
  • Agenda – display a clear agenda at the beginning of your event and tick off each item as you proceed. 
  • Repeat questions – if someone in the audience asks a question, repeat what they have asked before responding. Hearing loop systems often use specific microphones to communicate sound – repeating the question allows hearing aid users to know what you’re responding to. 
  • Speak one at a time – communication support can’t pick up on different people speaking at the same time. Try not to speak over one another and do not rush, so constituents can follow the discussion. 
  • Schedule in breaks – sign language interpreters will need to swap over if interpreting for a long time. Ensure you build in time for them to change. 

Learn what your constituents want 

67% of people who are deaf, have hearing loss or tinnitus have experienced negative attitudes from the general public and often feel excluded from many aspects of public life.  

We’re calling on the next Government to improve the lives of our communities through our key demands, including:

  1. Working with the BSL community to transform their life chances 
  1. Improving access to high quality audiology services  
  1. Creating an NHS that meets everyone’s communications needs   
  1. Ensuring equal opportunities in the workplace   

‘Loud and Clear’ charity manifesto

Read more about our four key demands in our ‘Loud and Clear’ charity manifesto and help promote our communities’ needs if you’re elected.
Read our full manifesto

Page last updated: 3 June 2024

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