Dr Howard Leicester MBE

Howard Leicester

I am a researcher in the field of health informatics and a campaigner for accessible information.  Whilst I work to make information accessible in many fields including academia, local government, publishing, politics and civic engagement, public agencies and utilities, I have a particular interest in the field of health and social care. I was awarded an MBE for my work in this field in the 2017 New Year Honours list.

Prince Charles shakes Howard's hand
Howard receiving his MBE from HRH Prince Charles

I am driven partly by wishing to improve my own situation (I have a genetic condition leading to progressive sensory loss in both sight and hearing).  But I am also excited by the possibilities for true inclusion in a world of smart devices and pervasive media and keen to address the waste and injustice when a large part of the population - due to specific disabilities, sensory loss, dexterity challenges, poor literacy, learning difficulties, age or infirmity - is excluded from this information revolution at a very basic level.

I play an advisory role on accessibility for a number of public and voluntary bodies, both as an informatics specialist and as a champion for the patient perspective.  In that capacity I have made significant contributions to the NHS Accessible Information Standard and to the British Standards Institution’s standard for web accessibility.  I continue to campaign in this field.  I outlined the achievements so far and the work still to be done in my MBE acceptance speech in March 2017 (see below).

I offer professional advice on these same issues and am a partner in developing RoboNHS – a simple software solution to translate NHS communications into accessible formats.