The Group was formed within the BSI-CPIN under the guidance of Michelle Valentine – Director of Disability Forward Ltd. and Disability Committee member of the Equality and Human Rights Commission. Michelle says,
"When I joined BSI, I realised that there were a lot of knowledgeable people providing input to standards." The voice of disabled experts seemed not to be present, however, so I decided to work with the BSI-CPIN to set up the Disabled Expert Reference Group. I want to see the group providing opportunities for disabled professionals who have the relevant experience and knowledge to input into the standards process, and who also bring to that the added dimension of being disabled and being committed to a disability equality perspective'.
Waqas Chauhdry is one of the members. He is a London-based management consultant specialising in disability equality. His aim is to further the understanding of practical issues and is particularly interested in making websites accessible and usable for disabled people. He wants DERG to promote the understanding and adoption of BSI standards as a benchmarking tool in promoting disability equality to key public sector regulators. Waqas has contributed to BSI videos and articles about accessibility and standards..
Rory Heap, Equality and Diversity Manager for the National Offender Management Service (the government department NOMS) is another key member of DERG. He feels that the Group could influence international standards in such a way that would make it feasible to extend Part III of the DDA to manufacturers of everyday non-specialist products, such as TVs, domestic appliances, and ATM machines.
"I have a long-standing interest in and frustration with inaccessible systems/products/documents of all kinds. Disabled people encounter barriers, not only with large things, but also with the everyday, the mundane and ephemeral: these cause as much, if not more, frustration as the mega systems."