Disability Employment Policy

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All feedback is welcomed from internal and external sources. Please email your comments to l.m.wilson@leedsmet.ac.uk.


Faculty or Service Area: Human Resources
Name of policy owner: Ian Clarke
Original policy document: None.
Creation date: 2007/06/27
Purpose of the policy being assessed:
This is a new policy is a draft policy on employing, supporting and working with disabled staff which meets objective 7.1 of Leeds Met’s Equality Action Plan 2006-09: clarify, aggregate and publicise policies, procedures and support mechanisms for disabled staff.

This policy introduces new practices and procedures that will enhance and bring coherence to existing procedures within the University for the benefit of disabled staff, their managers and work colleagues, and those who are in a position of providing support.

The policy is complemented by a Code of Good Practice and a Toolkit for Managers.

Developed/written by Ian Clarke with Task Group and input from various staff including the Disability Action Group.

This policy will be implemented by all Managers, Human Resources, Occupational Health, Disability Support and Equality and Diversity.

New applicants to post in the university who have a disability as well as those who acquire a disability in post in the University.

Customer groups affected by the policy: Staff
Relevant protected characteristics affected by the policy: Age, Disability
Examples of how these protected characteristics are affected by policy with evidence, justification and course of action:
This is a new policy and is yet to be approved. However, if the policy is approved and resources allocated to support the policy, then it will operate consistently across the University.

Once approved the policy will be monitored for consistency accross the university. Both quantitative and qualitative data will be collected in the first year to ensure that the policy is consistently applied.

The policy brings together good practice in Human Resources, Occupational Health etc and adds good practice from other HE institutions and those suggested by staff in the University.

Below is an extract from the annual monitoring report of the diverse workforce profile of the University at 1 August 2006, with comparative data from previous years.

"TRENT software now allows one of four options to be selected, not known; declined to specify; disabled and not disabled. Until an audit of all staff is undertaken, it is currently only meaningful to report on data regarding the number of staff declaring a disability. Once an audit is undertaken, it will be possible to establish the extent to which data is not known or where staff have declined to specify (an audit in 2004 had the effect of reducing the number of staff for whom disability information was not recorded from 9.6% of the workforce to 5.6%)."

The table in the supporting evidence represents the year on year overall percentage of staff declaring a disability.

When considering the University’s disability profile, it should be borne in mind that there are difficulties with reporting on this diversity area. In particular, research by the Disability Rights Commission suggests that 50% of people who qualified as disabled under the DDA did not describe themselves as disabled. Staff may also be reluctant to declare their disability for fear it may affect their appointment or promotion prospects.

Although the University compares favourably with the HE Sector average of 2.2% and the large Public Sector average of 2.3%, it is disappointing to note that the proportion of staff at the University declaring a disability has slightly decreased over the period under consideration. The University also remains considerably below the national average for the employment of disabled people (approximately 10% of people of working age with a disability are in employment.

It is, however, positive to note that the proportion of senior staff (professors and management) declaring a disability is similar to the overall University percentage at 2.4%. However, none of the 12 people recruited externally to this population during the period 1 August 2005 to 31 July 2006 have declared a disability.

There are figures available on the numbers of disabled staff in the university. However, there are issues of disclosure and it is likely that some staff are reluctant to declare a disability. It is expected that through the implementation of this policy, staff will be encouraged to disclose and be appropriately supported.

Both quantitative and qualitative data will be collected during the first year and thereafter to monitor the effectiveness of the new policy. It is expected that the figures will increase as a result of the new definition of disability as well as the effective implementation of the policy.

The Task Group who help devise the policy consisted of staff with a range of disabilities. Also, the Disability Action Group were consulted as were the Disability Strategy Group. The Staff Unions forum and HR staff were also consulted on the policy. We also have a register of interest for people who want to input on Diversity and Equality issues and some of these staff with a specific interest in disability were also consulted specialist inserters in particular disabilities.

Other staff consulted on specific issues related to the policy were:

Liz Mackay & Tim Briggs – Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy, ergonomics etc Dianne Wild and Liz Webster – diabetes Brian Chappell and Steve Mera – epilepsy Louise Potter – Osteopathy Chris Richold - Estates Chris Domeracki – Estates June Copeman – Dietetics

                        Eating Disorders

Colin Martin - Dyslexia Alison Ross – Speech and Language therapy John Reaney – Hearing impairment


These are only potential negative impacts of the policy

Age: There could be a danger of none or partial disclosure from older employees who feel their age and potential cost of support bars them from fully disclosing.

Disability: Anecdotal evidence of potential for non professional conduct in relation to staff absences due to disability. For instance, it is not uncommon for some staff to inappropriately question or make comments on another member of staff’s absence.

There is potential for the harassment of staff based upon the positive action and/or the reasonable adjustment put in place to meet their needs. This is sometimes thrown into sharp focus if the disability is invisible.

There is also potential for limited application of policy. A disability can affect all aspects of a person’s life so a holistic approach needs to be taken by the organisation. For instance, transport, purchasing etc needs to have an awareness of the impact of the policy and to routinely have a disability dimension.

These issues should feature in the outcomes of Impact Assessments of these areas. It may also be evident through the collection of both qualitative and quantative data during the early stages of monitoring the effectiveness of the policy.

Supporting evidence: None.
Feedback from Equality Forums and other interested parties:
Feedback on this impact assessment is still being recieved - please email your thoughts to l.m.wilson@leedsmet.ac.uk.
Recommendations:
Clear dissemination of policy to all staff and managers. Profile of Disability Discrimination Act raised through continuous staff development. There will be a need to raise awareness of the new definitions of disability under the DDA.

All staff in Human Resources will be clear about policy and professionalism related to the policy. Equality and Diversity attendance at HR meetings to regularly highlight role of policy.

The Disability Action Group will routinely monitor the policy and contribute to further Impact Assessment updates.

Again, through the monitoring of both qualitative and quantative data in the first years of operation, we will eliminate any adverse effects of the policy.

The monitoring of the number of disabled staff needs undertaking regularly. The number of disabled people applying and the number of staff in post disclosing a disability should increase with the full implementation of the policy. This will be done by gathering both qualitative and quantative data on the implementation of the policy during the first year.

Consultation open: Feedback on this impact assessment is welcome, but it is not officially under consultation at this time.
Review date: A review date will be set after all feedback has been received and recommendations have been made and implemented.
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