Accessible Information Standard

From July 2016, all organisations providing health or adult social care have to comply with the Accessible Information Standard in relation to direct patient/service user care or services.

Who the standard is for

The standard is for individuals (patients and service users and, where appropriate, the parents and carers of patients and service users) who have information and/or communication support needs which are related to or caused by a disability, impairment or sensory loss.

The Standard is, therefore, of particular relevance to individuals who have sensory loss (including people who are blind, d/Deaf or deafblind) and people who have a learning disability. However, it will also support people who have other ‘communication disabilities’ such as aphasia, autism or a mental health condition which affects their ability to communicate.

Individuals with any form or type of disability (or impairment) which affects their ability to read or receive information, to understand information, and/or to communicate, are within the scope of this standard.

Aim of the standard

The aim of the standard is to make sure that people who have a disability, impairment or sensory loss get information that they can access and understand, and any communication support that they need.

This includes making sure that people get information in different formats if they need it, for example in large print, braille, easy read or via email.

It also includes appropriate support to help individuals communicate, for example, support from a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter, deafblind manual interpreter or an advocate.

What you can expect from the Council

  • You should be asked if you have any communication needs, and asked how these needs can be met
  • Your needs should be recorded in a clear and set way
  • Your file or notes should highlight these communication needs so people are aware and know how to meet them
  • Information about your communication needs should be shared with other providers of NHS and adult social care, when they have consent or permission to do so
  • Information should be delivered to you in a way you can access and understand, with the option for communication support if needed


Aspects considered ‘out of scope’ for the standard include:

  • individuals’ preferences for being communicated with in a particular way, which do not relate to disability, impairment or sensory loss
  • individuals who may have difficulty in reading or understanding information for reasons other than a disability, impairment or sensory loss (for example, due to low literacy or dyslexia)
  • expected standards of health and social care websites
  • ‘Corporate’ communications produced/published by organisations which do not relate to direct patient/service user care or services, and do not directly affect individuals’ health or wellbeing
  • foreign language needs/provision of information in foreign languages – i.e. people who require information in a non-English language for reasons other than disability
  • implementation of the Equality Act 2010 more widely, i.e. those sections that do not relate to the provision of information or communication support. This exclusion includes other forms of support which may be needed by an individual due to a disability, impairment or sensory loss (for example ramps or accommodation of an assistance dog)
  • matters of consent and capacity, including support for decision-making, which are not related to information or communication support
  • standards for, and design of, signage