Terms of reference

What we want to achieve

At the Department of Family and Community Services (FACS), we believe that our digital services and information should be available to everyone.

This means finding great ways to communicate with people from a wide range of backgrounds including those with a disability or barrier that might make it difficult for them to connect with us. 

FACS is currently investing in our websites and digital services to make them easier for all citizens in NSW to use.

To help us create the most user-friendly websites, we want to set up and run the FACS Digital Accessibility User Network. Network members will include people with a range of disabilities, learning needs and cognitive conditions such as dyslexia. This will help us understand the accessibility needs of the community, and make sure that we cater to these needs in all of our future web projects. 

At the moment, we are

  • planning a number of changes to our websites 
  • creating a range of new digital services 
  • writing a set of digital accessibility standards. 

An important part of this work is to seek the advice of real website users like you.

If you take part in our FACS Digital Accessibility User Network, you’ll also have the opportunity to help us make sure these new websites and our Digital Accessibility Standards meet your needs. 

What is the Digital Accessibility User Network? 

The FACS Digital Accessibility User Network will be a group of people that meets from time to time

This network will be a list of people with different accessibility needs that we can call on to attend meetings and also take part in user testing. 

What will the meetings be like?

The meetings will be held at a central Sydney location, usually once a month. We’ll make sure that the location is fully accessible and that network members get plenty of notice about the date and time. 

At these meetings, we will discuss general aspects of accessibility and the projects we are working on. As a member of the network, we may ask for your feedback on a particular issue or website. We may ask for your feedback on our FACS Digital Accessibility Standards. Or we may ask you to do particular tasks on a website that we are building. 

All of this will take part in a group setting, where there will be discussion and interaction. 

The meetings will be provided with the required level of accessibility, depending on the needs of the attendees. This might include sign language interpreters, printed materials in alternate formats or audio captioning services.

We will provide snacks and tea and coffee at these sessions, and everyone who takes part will receive a $50 voucher to thank them for their time.

We want to record the meetings for our future reference. We may film them, take photos or make audio recordings. We will also take notes. 

What will the user testing be like? 

The user testing will be quite targeted. It will be designed to help us work out if a web project we are developing meets the needs of our users. 

We may do the user testing at a location that is close to you, perhaps at a shared space like a workplace, college, school or neighbourhood house. Or, we may do this at a central location. 

We film this session so that we have a record of the feedback that you give us. The filming includes audio and we may also take photos. During the session, we take notes and then afterwards we write a report. We don’t publish the report. We just share it among our colleagues within FACS and with the people who work at the Information Access Group. 

We will provide snacks and tea and coffee at these sessions, and everyone who takes part will receive a $50 voucher to thank them for their time. 

How many people will take part? 

We want to set up and maintain a list of about 20 or 30 people that we can call on when we have new work or ideas to discuss but not everyone will be needed for every session. 

We will call on different people at different times depending on their type of disability and their experience with computers and assistive technology like screen readers, tablets and mobile phones. 

When we meet in the city, we’ll invite 10 people to come along. 

When we hold a user testing session, we’ll work with you in a one-on-one interview using a laptop. Or, you may prefer to work with us on your computer or device that’s set up the way you like it. 

Who will run the sessions? 

We are working with a business called the Information Access Group. They do a lot of work in accessibility and user testing. They are helping us to run the FACS Digital Accessibility User Network. Some people who work with FACS will also come along to learn from the people taking part in the user sessions.

What information will be recorded?

At the meetings and in the user testing, we will take notes.

If you agree, we will also record the sessions. This may include video, audio recording and photos to support our research. 

When you agree to take part in the Network, we will ask you to sign a consent form, saying that you want to take part and that you’re happy for us to take recordings and keep records. 

After each session, the Information Access Group will write up the notes into a short report. You can ask us for copies of this report if you want to. 

All personal information will be treated confidentially – including your name and phone number. 

We won’t share your information without your permission, unless we are required to do this by law. However, the Information Access Group and some members of the digital team at FACS will have access to your information. 

If you’d like to know more about how we will treat your information, you can read the FACS Privacy Notice online. An Easy Read version of that Notice is available

By taking part in the FACS Digital Accessibility User Network, you will be giving us valuable information about how people use our digital services. This will help us to make sure that our digital services are suitable for a wide range of users, and that they are easy to use. 

What to do if you’d like to take part

If you’d like to take part, please visit our website at the following link: FACS Digital Accessibility User Network application form

There, you’ll find a short form to fill in. 

This form will ask you about: 

  • your personal details such as your name and phone number 
  • your type of disability, mental health condition or learning need 
  • your level of experience using computers and assistive technology.

You don’t have to have a great deal of computer experience to make a great contribution to our work. We ask this question so we can test our sites with people of varying degrees of computer experience. 

We are encouraging people with a range of disabilities learning needs and cognitive conditions and from a diverse range of backgrounds to apply. This includes people: 

  • of all ages 
  • from all cultures
  • who speak languages other than English
  • who are gay, lesbian, transgender or bisexual
  • are from Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander communities
  • are from all socio-economic backgrounds.

No one will be excluded from our Network, but there are some rules about what’s expected of you – and of us. We explain these on page 7 and 8. 

How will we choose who takes part? 

Each meeting or user testing session will have a different purpose, and the way we choose who takes part will change each time. 

For example, we may be interested in testing a website with someone who has lots of experience using screen reader software such as JAWS or NVDA. 

Or, we may be interested in testing a website with people who have specific learning needs, such as dyslexia or intellectual disability. 

For each session, we will contact the people on our list that can help us with our specific testing needs. 

For the meeting in central Sydney, we may want to have a more general conversation with a larger group of people. If this is the case, we’ll invite people with a wider range of disability, mental health issues or learning needs. 

What will be expected of you? 

If you agree to take part, we’ll expect you to turn up. 

And we expect you to turn up on time. 

If you come to one of our meetings or user testing sessions, we’ll expect you to take part in the testing or discussion – you need to contribute. 

You’ll need to respect the people who are running the group, and everyone else who comes along. 

You’ll need to be fair and polite in discussions. 

What will be expected of us?

We’ll make sure that the meetings or testing sessions run on time. 

We’ll make sure that everyone is included in the discussion. 

We’ll keep your personal information private and confidential. 

We’ll make sure that the right levels of accessibility are in place – such as audio translation or captioning services etc.

We’ll ask you if you’re happy to have your involvement recorded using video, audio or photos.

Want to know more?

To apply to take part in the User Network, please go online and complete the form. You can find it here: FACS Digital Accessibility User Network application form

If you have any questions, you can contact the team at the Information Access Group.

The first meeting will be held in central Sydney later in July. The Information Access Group will pay reasonable travel costs for people who have special needs. And they can cover the cost of a support worker if this is essential to your attendance at the event.

(03) 9585 2299