News23rd November 2013

Barclays Launches Accessibility Roadshow

Following widespread disquiet amongst the deaf community, it is good to see progress finally being made on banking accessibility.

by Sarah Lawrence

Following many years of offering a deaf ear to the needs of its Deaf and Hard of Hearing customers, Barclays Bank along with other financial institutions are finally starting to take action to respond more approriately to the needs of their customers. This week Barclays launched their accessibility roadshow as it sets out to become the most accessible in the UK. 

Barclays has launched a new accessibility road show that will tour the country to demonstrate how to make banking services more accessible for people with disabilities and the elderly.

The roadshow was launched at a special event last night, hosting guests from leading charities including Action on Hearing Loss, Royal National Institute for the Blind and Age UK at the bank’s Canary Wharf branch (2 Churchill Place) so that the bank can obtain crucial insights from these groups on how to best improve services.

Barclays is drawing on the expertise of disability charities, an approach which has so far helped the bank pioneer Talking ATMs, SignVideo, High-Vis Debit Cards and Digital Eagles who help older people to get online in partnership with Age UK.  The roadshow features an interactive display, bringing to life the ways in which Barclays can help make lives easier for people with access needs. It will be going on tour around the UK from early 2014.

Barclays was recently awarded overall winner of the Disability Standard Award by the Business Disability Forum, as well as an Exemplar Award from the Royal National Institute for the Blind. 

Ashok Vaswani, Chief Executive of Barclays Retail and Business Banking, said: "It’s really important that we think about creative ways to help all our customers, especially those who have specific access needs. By listening to leading charities, and getting their expertise we can pioneer new technology and services which empower our customers and staff."

"We are deeply honoured to be recognised with the exemplar award from RNIB for this work, and to be awarded the Business Disability Forum overall winner for 2013. However, we will continue to work hard to earn the respect of these charities, and we will encourage other banks and businesses to follow suit."

Brendan Roach, Senior Disability Consultant and Information and Advice Manager said, "The work Barclays has done to create a more accessible way of banking for people with disabilities is fantastic, and we are proud to present them with this award. Barclays truly impressed us by investing in improving their business which not only helps disabled employees and customers, but benefits everyone that works with them."

Last night’s event showcased the new interactive displays, encouraging guests and charity representatives to get involved, sharing their feedback on the road show initiative. The aim is to generate new ideas, and develop existing ones to the next level, meeting the needs of every customer and making their lives easier.

The roadshows are the next phase of Barclays’ accessibility journey. The aim is to visit 50 branches and raise awareness across both customers and colleagues of the services available and to create an opportunity at a local level to hear the views of our customers of what else they would like us to provide. We are now in the pilot week and this evening provided an opportunity to share our plans with key partners and get their feedback.

Barclays provides the following products and services as part of their accessibility offering:

  • High-Vis PDCs – brightly coloured debit cards with contrasting-coloured arrows, so that they stand out in wallets and customers can tell which way to insert them
  • SignVideo - technology that instantly connect customers to British Sign Language interpreters in branch, or at home
  • Talking ATMs – speak to customers to guide them through using a cash machine independently 
  • Digital Eagles - working with Age UK to assist customers in getting online and using technology safely, securely and smartly

Article by Sarah Lawrence

posted in Community / News

23rd November 2013