HARTLEPOOL Borough Council has launched a policy to ensure its actions are understood.

The policy is designed to ensure equal access to all council buildings and services.

It includes using plain English when communicating with the public, and clear print on letters and forms, as recommended by the Royal National Institute for the Blind.

There will be regular meetings with interest groups, to ensure services continue to be accessible to minority groups.

Free services such as translation, people trained in sign language and Braille will be advertised, and adverts prepared for the talking newspaper.

Development control manager Richard Teece said: "We have a commitment to providing a quality service across the board, and that is why we are determined to make sure that the needs of all people can be properly met.

"We would particularly draw people's attention to the availability of special assistance where this may be necessary."

The policy also states that all planning applications with be dealt with by a specific officer