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First Council Elections For Accessible ICT Coalition

The OneVoice for Accessible ICT Coalition has elected its first formal controlling council, as it works towards its goal of becoming lead facilitator for the digital inclusion and accessible ICT sectors in the UK.

Nigel Lewis, chief executive officer of technology access charity AbilityNet and chair of OneVoice, told E-Access Bulletin that the group aims to become a hub through which organisations from all sectors can share information and best practice on inclusive ICT.

“One of the key roles OneVoice will play is to be a facilitator between all of the organisations and other groups working in the digital inclusion space”, Lewis said. “We can help join people and groups together … I think there’s a real need for that, because there are too many people doing great stuff in isolation.”

As well as engaging with digital inclusion groups, businesses, government and other organisations, the long-term goals of OneVoice will include helping to embed inclusion in the training of IT professionals, and assisting organisations in delivering inclusive systems, Lewis said.

Following elections at the coalition’s first AGM in May, OneVoice has a council of seven members: Nigel Lewis; Graeme Whippy of Lloyds TSB IT Accessibility Group; John Lamb of Ability Magazine; Peter Abrahams of Bloor Research; Fiona Miller of BT, Ian Lyons of Shaw Trust, and Howard Lester, an independent disability consultant.

OneVoice is now looking to secure funding to help pursue its goals. At the recent AGM it was agreed that a fee structure for membership will be introduced, and OneVoice will also be looking for seeded project funding as well.

Current members include BT, AbilityNet, the Business Disability Forum, disability campaigning network RADAR, technology industry body Intellect, inclusive technology advisory service JISC TechDis, and Lloyds Banking Group.

The recent AGM and council elections signalled a “seminal moment” for OneVoice, said Lewis. “We’ve done a lot through the current members and their goodwill and time, and I think this is the moment we can make a real step change. There seems to be a definite will to make that happen as I talk to more and more people – current members and potential members as well. This year should see a real change for OneVoice.”

For more information on OneVoice, see:
http://www.onevoiceict.org/home .

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