NHS Employers hosts virtual ‘Disability Summit’ event to highlight experiences of disability in the workplace

NHS Employers, the employers’ organisation hosted by the NHS Confederation, has held its first virtual ‘Disability Summit’ event, with the help of event technology provider, VenuIQ.

The event, which welcomed more than 300 virtual delegates, offered a safe space where staff with disabilities, leaders, managers, trade unions, HR and equality practitioners from across the health and social care sector, and beyond, shared their experiences of disability in the workplace.

Disability Summit 2021 logo

To help NHS Employers ensure the event was Disability Act compliant, VenuIQ implemented bespoke virtual event technology that could cater to both visually and hearing-impaired individuals. 

This included an integration with screen reading software, Browsealoud, to read aloud and translate event content for users, and the addition of British Sign Language [BSL] interpreters in the event live streams to enable delegates whose first language was BSL to fully engage with the event.

Gemma Critchley, event manager for the NHS Confederation, said: “This was our first time taking the Disability Summit virtual due to Covid restrictions, and it was vital for us to still ensure the event was fully accessible and Disability Act compliant.

“The VenuIQ team were extremely helpful and went above and beyond to understand and deliver on what we were trying to achieve.

“The attendees found the live and pre-recorded sessions easy to navigate, and the addition of the Browsealoud software and BSL interpreters meant visually and hearing-impaired delegates could fully participate in the event, despite it being delivered online.”

Oliver Rowe, co-founder of VenuIQ, said: “Throughout the pandemic, businesses around the globe looked for ways to ‘pivot’ their events to virtual, otherwise they risked having to cancel them altogether.

“The Disability Summit is an important annual event for NHS Employers and we wanted to help the team deliver the event as planned, but in a virtual capacity.

“As well implementing our suite of technology to provide a smooth running and engaging event for virtual delegates, we had the challenge of ensuring the activation was Disability Act compliant and took the needs of visually and hearing-impaired individuals into account.

“The success of this event is proof that, with the right technology, there is no reason why event organisers cannot provide full accessibility and a great event experience for individuals with disabilities, even when it is delivered as a completely virtual activation.”

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