The Norwegian Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion: Personal Service Standards
Everyone should be assured of personal service so that they can receive equal access to services. The Norwegian standard NS 11030 states that when physical design is not enough then it is necessary to have first-class human assistance.
"This standard addresses access to public and private services. It provides a lot of good advice, including advice on how customers should be handled with respect. One should not simply make assumptions about their requirements. This concerns not just good business practice, but also good advice on how we can avoid discrimination," says Minister Solveig Horne at the Norwegian Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion.
In this context design for all means equal access to services and requirements relating to the personal provision of services, regardless of one's functional abilities. It shall be possible to use such services in different situations, with available technology, knowledge and materials. They must be adapted to suit technical aids such as hearing aids and wheelchairs. The standard gives equal weight to the terms "customer" and "user" and places emphasis on user involvement.
Purchasers must make demands on the developers and producers of services. They should take into account the various functional levels of users when planning their services. When undertaking procurement, equal emphasis shall be placed on design for all as on other criteria such as price.
The requirements relating to the provision of personal services concern services and situations which require personal contact, communications, information and customer services. Company processes involve planning and identification from the time the service in question is developed and implemented and up until it is evaluated.
"In the future I believe that we will have several standards which do not just relate to technical requirements, but also to functions and processes. Hopefully these standards will be incorporated to a much greater extent in our legislation," says Åse Kari Haugeto, Director at Deltasenteret (the National Centre for Participation and Accessibility).
In 2013 Norway ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Ratification of this convention involves a human rights commitment to comply with its provisions. The convention defines design for all as designing products, surroundings, programmes and services in such a way that, to the greatest extent possible, they can be used by everyone without any need for customisation or special design.
In 2009 Standards Norway presented a report showing that there are a limited number of standards which apply to the universal design of services. There was a great need for an overall standard containing common requirements. This report was followed up by a broadly composed standardisation committee which included The Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS), the Norwegian Association of the Blind, the Norwegian Association of the Disabled, the Enterprise Federation of Norway and Deltasenteret.
Original text in Norwegian: Siv Ellen Omland, Empower Communication
Picture: Nicolas Tourrenc