Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Quiet hour rolled out to Service NSW Centres

People across NSW who may be sensitive to light or overstimulated by sound can now complete government transactions in a more comfortable environment with the rollout of Quiet Hour to more than 110 Service NSW Service Centres to support those with low-sensory needs.

Under the new arrangements, for a set time each week, participating Service Centres will turn down lighting where possible, music, and ticket announcements.

“We need to create a more inclusive environment and it’s important that everyone, regardless of their background or circumstance, knows they are welcome in a NSW Service Centre. Quiet Hour will provide a more calming and supportive environment for those who have low-sensory needs,” said Minister for Customer Service and Digital Government, Jihad Dib.

“For people who require limited distractions, such as Autistic people, Quiet Hour will allow them to complete their driver’s knowledge test and access other services in a quieter, calmer environment.

“A Service Centre should be available to everyone who needs it, and Quiet Hour is one of many programs Service NSW has rolled out in recent times to improve the overall accessibility of government services.”

Staff will also encourage customers to put their mobile phones on silent mode and minimise conversations with other customers during that time. 

Each Service Centre has worked with local community groups to build awareness of Quiet Hour and help shape the program.

Collaboration on the program’s implementation was undertaken with disability organisations such as Autism Friendly. Businesses like Coles, Kmart and Woolworths with stores which have already implemented successful Quiet Hour programs were also consulted on the program.

“Quiet Hour is a simple service we can offer to help everyone feel welcome when they need to interact with the government. This can be useful for people who find light and sound overwhelming,” said Minister for Disability Inclusion, Kate Washington.

“The feedback from the first Service Centres to offer a Quiet Hour was overwhelmingly positive so it’s wonderful to see the idea being adopted by almost every centre across the State.”

Service NSW surveyed Service Centres which have already been participating in Quiet Hour and found nearly 97% of people felt the service was successful at their centre. 

About 60% of transactions completed by people specifically attending Quiet Hour were for driver knowledge tests or other computer-based examinations. 

Service NSW has provided disability awareness training for staff to assist customers living with disabilities and their carers.

People are encouraged to visit the Service NSW website for a full timetable of when their nearest Service Centre is offering the service as well as other accessibility facilities available at their local centre, including mobility parking and public transport access.

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