Access to public services

What it is

NALA believes that all citizens should have fair and equal access to all public services, that are delivered in a literacy-friendly way. It involves the organisation including and respecting its staff and customers. It encourages commitment to delivering services in a literacy-friendly way by removing literacy-related barriers to access, participation and achievement.


What it involves

Being literacy-friendly means removing any literacy-related barriers that could make it difficult for people to access the service, or participate in the activities that the organisation provides. This means adjusting certain ways of working in relation to customer service, staff recruitment and staffing policies, staff training and development and health and safety or data protection.


What it achieves/outcomes

In everyday terms, a literacy-friendly organisation enables the public with literacy and numeracy difficulties to:

  • access and participate in its services,
  • communicate effectively with it, in different ways,
  • apply for positions for which they have an aptitude and relevant experience,
  • be included in consultations,
  • be treated fairly in light of their general performance and interaction with others,
  • understand and apply internal policies and procedures, and
  • receive effective training to help them carry out their jobs to the best of their ability.

To remove unnecessary literacy-related barriers, it is important firstly to review and, if necessary, adapt your organisation’s overall policies and procedures. Your organisation should then look at its communications and staff training and development practices.


Key achievements

NALA supports organisations to follow a five-step process to address literacy and numeracy issues coherently.  These steps are outlined in our Right from the Start Guide.

From 2008 - 2009 NALA worked with the Fingal Centre to examine these issues in a community centre context. More recently NALA worked with the Social Inclusion Unit in South Dublin County Council where we undertook a literacy audit with three sections. Currently we are working with STEP, an intellectual disability service in St. John of Gods, to do a literacy audit.