Paul Smyth awarded MBE for work on inclusion

13 January 2020

Four disabled people who have made a contribution to the development of assistive technology were among those featuring in the New Year’s honours list.

BATA council member Paul Smyth has been awarded an MBE for services to disability inclusion and financial services.

Paul is the founder and leader of the Digital Accessibility team at Barclays, setting the enterprise-wide accessibility strategy, standards and programmes that support their ambition of becoming the most accessible FTSE company.

He also plays a key role in ensuring Barclays uses inclusive technology to enable and empower all people to bank, work and reach their full potential. His responsibilities involve supporting digital teams to embed accessibility into Barclays’ services and culture through effective governance, partnering, training and tools.

He is passionate about raising awareness, access and opportunity for people with disabilities both in the workplace and in contributing to society in general. Paul is active in sharing with and shaping the accessibility profession through thought leadership, external outreach and community engagement activities - influencing supply chains and driving innovation.

Robert Smith is a businessman who helped to design a wheelchair for children in Bangladesh with cerebral palsy that would 'grow' with them. 

He is a keen sportsman and has represented paralympics GB in the T52 wheelchair event. He receives an MBE for his services to disabled people and to international trade through his company Active Hands, which makes gripping devices.

Linda Ling is managing director of Fleximobility and secretary general of the Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle Converters' Association. She was awarded an MBE for the thirty years she has worked to improve services for people with disabilities.

In her present role she is involved with the Association’s Technical Working Group and is a technical author for meetings. She has also been a lobbyist in Brussels, representing the interests of wheelchair accessible vehicle manufacturers and users.

Eric Dickson former chair of Blyth and District Talking Newspaper received a British Empire Medal for services to blind and visually impaired people in South East Northumberland. In addition to running the service, Dickson devised a method of adapting the memory sticks used to distribute talking newspapers to identify which way they should be inserted into a USB slot.