I’d love to be able to say that the States is completely accessible, but the truth is that’s still quite a work in progress.
But I am confident that the team supporting the States will do all they can to make sure that everybody who is elected is fully able to participate in States’ business.
If you come and watch the States in action, you’ll already see people with headsets to amplify the sound, or people who bring in a cushion, or who occasionally stand at the back or walk about, because of a bad back or leg. A small room next to the Royal Court has been equipped with a mini-fridge and a radio, so that parents can feed their infant children and still follow the debate.
However, the Royal Court itself is a pretty unforgiving room, and most of these adjustments are imperfect, especially for people with physical impairments. In the long term, the best solution will be to move the parliament to a purpose-built chamber, like almost every other parliament in the world – or even to somewhere like St James, as we did during the early stages of the pandemic.
For now, though, I’d encourage you to discuss any reasonable adjustments you might need – either during the campaign period or if you are elected – with the Election team upfront, so that you all come to a common understanding of what’s needed and what’s feasible. Some parts of political life can easily be made more accessible, while others are more of a challenge. But you should always feel able to ask for the reasonable adjustments you need to do your work.
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