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UKAAF Report October 2017 by Richard West


Steve Tyler has had a career move, and is no longer working with RNIB. As a consequence of this, he has asked to step down from being a member of the Board of Trustee Directors of UKAAF. We have greatly valued Steve’s contribution to our work and will miss his insightful input. Fortunately, we have been lucky enough to have Alison Long of RNIB agree to be co-opted to the Board. As you will know, RNIB have provided UKAAF with significant resource over these (nearly) 10 years, both financial and human. This continues with Alison joining the Board as a replacement for Steve. Alison has been at RNIB for over 28 years, for most of that time heavily involved in children’s publishing services and product development. In her current role of Senior Manager for Reading Services, she manages RNIB Bookshare, Newsagent and Braille services.

UKAAF Future Plans

In the Spring Newsletter, I referred to our working towards being the UK Member body of the DAISY Consortium. We have had an exchange of correspondence with them and it is agreed in principle that we should assume this role. There is a meeting scheduled for November this year to take this matter further. There are a few admin points to clarify, but we are confident that this important change will take place very soon.

We have also had a discussion with Right to Read, with a view to establishing closer working with that organisation. We already have links with them as a result of UKAAF Board members also being involved with Right to Read, so we are optimistic that substantial progress can be made in the next few months.


We’re delighted to have approved revised versions of UKAAF’s suite of audio guidance documents. These include the Minimum Standards guidance and the three detailed guidance booklets on recording techniques, presentation skills and reading skills. They are published on the UKAAF website.


The UKAAF Braille Committees continue to work on a variety of matters to improve the use of UEB. Much of this relates to correct representation of maths and other complex material, but we also show below some information from other sources. This includes material to help people learn and practice their braille skills.

Making it easier to transcribe Maths

UKAAF has recently added a really useful document to its website giving comprehensive guidance on how to correctly create mathematical symbols in word so that braille software produces accurate mathematical braille. No more using of the letter x to represent multiply and dashes to represent subtract! The official title of the document is Generating Mathematical symbols using Math Autocorrect or Unicode.

The RNIB practice reading course of 40 different stories covering the adventures of Abi, a young blind girl are now all available in UEB and can be purchased in a single pack for £115

RNIB maths certificate course (UEB)

This distance learning course is designed for sighted learners who have completed the RNIB Certificate in contracted Unified English Braille and want to learn how to braille basic maths. It is five months of self-study and started in October

Royal Blind in Scotland have recently added two new on line courses to their learning hub which cover adaptations for the teaching of maths and science to blind and partially sighted pupils. They include additional photographic exemplification and quizzes to test understanding. There are two related booklets which are also available for free download.

NHS Guides

You may recall that at the UKAAF Conference in 2016, there was a presentation by NHS England regarding their standards for communicating with patients with impairments. While the following is not specifically a UKAAF matter, I thought BCAB Members might like to know of this information. Contact details are towards the end of this section of my report.

NHS England launches practical guides to help people with disabilities access GP online services

Practical guides to help disabled patients to access GP online services have been published by NHS England. Aimed at supporting people with sight loss, hearing loss, autism or learning disabilities, a series of new guides have been developed to help patients use GP services online such as book appointments, repeat their prescriptions and view medical records. Bespoke guides have also been published to help people access online services, such as how to sign up to online services, how to keep accounts secure and how to request access for a carer. The advice guides have been developed by NHS England’s Patient Online Access Needs Group with support from the charities Change, the National Autistic Society, RNIB, Sense, and Action on Hearing Loss.

NHS England is working to increase the number of services that can be accessed online by patients. Already more than 10 million people are registered for online services. Patient Online is offered in addition to traditional and face-to-face means of accessing GP services, providing more choice for patients. Dr Masood Nazir, national clinical lead for Patient Online at NHS England, said: “As a GP I am aware of the barriers faced by people with disabilities when accessing services. GP online services offered through Patient Online are particularly helpful for many people with disabilities, as they can use accessible technology such as screenreaders to independently book their appointments, order repeat prescriptions and review the information in their health record.

“We are striving to make GP online services as user-friendly and as accessible as possible and these new guides have been carefully developed with input from both patients and disability groups. Together, these resources will support many more people with disabilities to benefit from Patient Online.”

The free guides can be obtained through downloaded via NHS England’s website – or can be requested by Emailing: “>>

UKAAF AGM and Conference, 2018

Our planning continues for the 2018 conference. We have decided to book the conference facilities at RNIB Judd Street again as they have served us so well for a number of years. The date for your diary is Wednesday 13 June 2018. We may continue to consider other venues for 2019 and beyond, so let us know if you know of any accessible conference facilities. The theme for the conference is going to be employment and we’re already working through a list of potential speakers. If you or a colleague would like to propose a topic, please do get in touch.