Disability

What are the protected characteristics?

The characteristics that are protected by the Equality Act 2010 are:

  • age
  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • marriage or civil partnership (in employment only)
  • pregnancy and maternity
  • race
  • religion or belief
  • sex
  • sexual orientation

The protected characteristic in this section will focus on Disability.

Reasonable Adjustment Passports

What are reasonable Adjustments?

Does my employer have to do them, can they refuse?

Watch the video aimed at information to employers, it answers these questions and more.

These are something campaigners feel can improve the lives of thousands of teachers. The national statistic is that 20% of the population, on average is disabled, yet less than 1% of teachers register for fear their employers will treat them negatively or think they can no longer do their job.

The equality act 2010 is there to help stop this from happening. The most common complex cases I have throughout the District are often linked to an aspect of ill health or disability. Up to 1 in 10 disabled teachers leave the profession for good each year, startling statistics.

One way to help this is something called an adjustment passport. I am going to campaign in Barnsley Schools across all formats to introduce a model Adjustment Passport and Policy. You can click on the link below to view the versions I am currently considering.

Source: TUC

If you change your job or you have a new manager, you should provide a copy of this to them so that they understand what adjustments have been made for you. If you’re in the same role and your health condition remains the same, new managers should accept the adjustments outlined in the passport. The agreement may need to be reviewed and amended at a later date, but this shouldn’t happen until you’ve both worked together for a reasonable period of time. If your health condition or impairment changes or if you have moved to a new role, department, site, store, desk etc or there are other changes to your job which mean that the adjustment may no longer be appropriate, then the adjustments may be reviewed straight away.

Adjustment passports aren’t stored or recorded centrally, therefore it’s your responsibility to keep it safe and provide it when necessary. Your manager should also keep a copy for their own records which will be held securely in your personnel file.

If a review date is specified in this adjustment passport, you should put this in your calendar and let your manager know when the date arrives. But please speak to your manager at any time if you believe your situation or needs have changed and it needs to be reviewed earlier.

This organisation recognises that disabled people themselves have the best understanding of what adjustments are most likely to be effective and appropriate for them, and is committed to listening to staff and ensuring that reasonable adjustments are effective so that barriers can be removed to provide equal opportunities for disabled workers and to remove the disadvantages they can face. Managers should refer to the relevant policy guidance for more information on how to manage the process of putting in place reasonable adjustments effectively.


Disability Confident employer scheme and guidance

Click on the link below to find out more, lets encourage our employers to be part of this scheme.

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/disability-confident-campaign

Barnsley Council has signed up, well done.

Disability Confident helps businesses:

  • draw from the widest possible pool of talent
  • secure and retain high quality staff who are skilled, loyal and hard working
  • save time and money on the costs of recruitment and training by reducing staff turnover
  • keep valuable skills and experience
  • reduce the levels and costs of sickness absences
  • improve employee morale and commitment by demonstrating that they treat all employees fairly

Have individual schools, colleges, academies? Should we be promoting this considering SEND pupils are core to their provision? Click the link below to find out more:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/777866/disability-confident-list-of-employers.csv/preview

Further Information Regarding Adjustments.

The following website gives a wealth of advice regarding disabilities and adjustments that both employees and employers may find useful guidance.

https://www.remploy.co.uk/employers

DISABILITY ACCESS

Source: House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee: Building for Equality: Disability and the Built Environment Ninth Report of Session 2016–17 Report, together with formal minutes relating to the report Ordered by the House of Commons to be printed 19 April 2017

Disability in the UK 13. In 2011 the Census found that around 11.5 million people in the UK (18 per cent of the population) had a long-term health problem or disability that limited their day-to-day activities either a lot or a little. In England and Wales four per cent of people aged 0 to 15, nine per cent of people aged 16 to 49, 24 per cent of people aged 50 to 64 and 54 per cent of people aged 65 or over had a long-term health problem or disability that limited their day-to-day activities either a lot or a little.

The following information is sourced from:

DISABILITY AND THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT,
Simon Ungar

Table: Environmental barriers which impede mobility in urban areas, in rank order

RankBarrier
1High kerbs and/or lack of dropped kerbs
2Steep gradients or ramps
3Uneven paving slabs
4Rough or cobbled surfaces
5Slippery surfaces
6Narrow pavements
7Street furniture poorly placed, restricting access
8Congested pavements
9Steps without adjacent ramp
10Dropped kerbs on roads not adjacent to each other
11Difficult camber on pavement
12Deep gutters along roadside, impeding crossing
13Busy roads
14Lack of resting places on slopes and ramps
15Handrails not provided on ramps
16Insufficient designated road-crossing places
17Drains near to dropped kerbs
18Cars parked adjacent to dropped kerbs
19Raised manhole covers at road-crossing points
20Poor pathway maintenance leading to problems of fouling by dogs and litter

Although not covered in these examples, another subtle type of barrier can be identified. This refers to those places where access has been provided, but the mode of access makes the wheelchair user feel like a second-class citizen. Examples of these are special entrances for disabled people which are away from the main entrance to the building (e.g. at the goods entrance) or where the disabled person must ring a bell in order to gain access to a building.

Once inside a public building, a range of other barriers may additionally come into play. Counters in banks and post offices are designed for the height of a standing adult making it impossible for the wheelchair user to be served on an equal basis with others. The height of fixtures also applies to a large number of other items: lift buttons, cash machines, telephones, door handles etc. Inaccessible toilets are a major concern; it is inadequate to provide access to a theatre or cinema if the wheelchair user cannot relieve his or herself during the course of the evening. Such arrangements either make it impossible for the wheelchair user to access these places, or else require him or her to enlist the help of a non-disabled person.

Another major problem is access to transportation. For those with adapted private vehicles, access often depends on the provision of accessible parking places. In the U.K., very little public transport is accessible, for instance most busses have steps at the entrance, narrow aisles and no provision of space for a wheelchair.

Note: categories 1-8 were mentioned by more than 50% of respondents 
Source: Matthews and Vujakovic (1995).

I have been part of the disability community most of my life, the biggest barrier faced is access to facilities and the lack of knowledge when planning trips whether a building or services are access friendly.

I believe a kite mark, adopted and used throughout the country, similar to the food standards agency is required. It is not a new idea and has been championed by various groups, including in the above report’s recommendations on page 20.

Action, persistence and pressure is needed to push this recommendation into a reality. When 18% of the population is accounted for, wouldn’t you also think it would be in parliaments best interest to bring on board these voters?

I am going to complete research and send out a survey monkey questionnaire to find out how this issue affects Educators and their every day life in work, planning trips, excursions and it been a possible barrier for self declaring disability.