Responses to the Speaker's Conference (on Parliamentary Representation): Final Report of Session 2009-10 - Speaker's Conference (on Parliamentary Representation) Contents

Appendix 2: The Director of Facilities, House of Lords' response

Further to the very interesting and helpful report of the Speaker's Conference on Parliamentary Representation, I thought it would be useful if I wrote to outline what we are doing to aid disabled members of the House of Lords.

There are a variety of small adjustments taking place in a range of locations such as the addition of stair nosings, new handrails and ancillary items on doors as well as the enabling of fire evacuation lifts for wheelchair users. There has also been a survey of light fittings and an upgrade is in progress. Formal listed building consent is awaited for a new handrail at Lord Speaker's entrance and the extension of the handrail to the Peers' Gallery. Projects for the coming year include improving door opening pressures, fitting of further handrails and numerous improvements to WCs including replacing most taps with lever mixer taps.

In respect of procedure in the Chamber, I can report that one deaf member uses a palantype which provides a written version of actual speeches in the Chamber; a blind member uses a Braille reader; and another member has permission for another member to finish her speech (and for this to be properly reflected in Hansard as her speech— I am also working with a voice recognition specialist to investigate whether "VR in reverse" is possible—i.e. for the software to finish a member's speech in their voice should they become unable to do so due to a medical condition.

Finally, I am very pleased to report good progress in the development of Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (PEEPs) for all our members with disabilities.

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