Disability Staff Network
The Disability Staff Network has recently formed and we are seeking to develop regular meetings to create a friendly staff group for disabled staff, staff with a long-term health condition, staff who care for disabled dependents and staff with an interest in disability. The Network hopes to provide an opportunity to exchange information, ideas and raise awareness about disability issues (including environmental, behavioural and institutional barriers) experienced by a range of people with physical, cognitive and mental health conditions at City University London in a confidential and safe space. Members of the network have been instrumental in encourage the University to sign up to “Time to Change” and the “Two Ticks” scheme.
Time to Change
Time to Change seeks to end mental health stigma and discrimination. City has signed the Time to Change pledge marking a commitment to supporting students and staff with mental health issues. The Time to Change campaign, run by charities Mind and Rethink, aims to increase understanding of the subject, to reduce stigma and ensure that anyone with a mental health issue feels comfortable seeking support.
Disability Confident Scheme
City is committed to the Disability Confident Scheme and we are committed to good practice with regards to the recruitment, employment, retention and career development of people with a disability.
The Disability Discrimination Act places specific responsibilities on employers relating to the recruitment and appointment process. The Act aims to ensure that a disabled person, who could be the best person for the job, is considered fairly. The Act seeks to ensure that a disability should not bar a person from employment unless it would genuinely prevent them from doing the job and there is nothing the employer can reasonably do to overcome difficulties resulting from the candidate’s disability.
When inviting candidates to attend an interview, the letter should ask individuals whether they require any special arrangements to be made in order for them to participate fully in the interview. This might include a signer for a candidate with a hearing impairment or an accessible venue for a wheelchair user.
The Act also imposes a duty on employers to make reasonable adjustments to their working arrangements and premises to prevent or reduce any substantial disadvantage that a disabled applicant would otherwise have. Reasonable adjustments to the job, to equipment or to the working environment, including accommodation, where practicable are simply a way of ‘levelling the playing field’ for disabled people. Many difficulties experienced by a disabled person can be overcome with simple adjustments and external funding may be available to support the costs of adaptations.
If there are any legitimate areas for concern over an otherwise suitable disabled applicant's abilities, these can be explored at interview. Such a discussion will centre around what adjustments to working arrangements might be helpful to assist the person to overcome any disadvantage that his/her disability would otherwise cause, thus enabling him/her to perform the job effectively. It will be only after such a discussion that the disabled applicant's ability to perform the job may be properly assessed, and the need for any adjustments to working practices properly considered. If it is decided that reasonable adjustments cannot be made the individual should be notified in writing of the reasons for the decision and given reasonable time to respond and request reconsideration.
The Department for Work and Pensions includes a Jobcentre Plus Disability Service, which provides information and advice to employers through Disability Employment Advisers (DEAs) and Access to Work (AtW). AtW can help in a number of ways, for example, it can help pay for:
- a communicator at a job interview for those with hearing impairments
- a support worker e.g. a reader at work, if a person is blind or has a visual impairment
- specialist equipment to suit a disabled person’s particular needs in work
- adaptations to premises or to existing equipment.