Process for identifying and implementing Reasonable Adjustments
Please Note: An individual is under no obligation to disclose the nature of their disability, however, it is important to explain that their disclosure would assist their department in offering the most effective reasonable support available.
Upon identifying that a staff member has/or may have a disability (common examples are at interview, through one to one meetings, SRDS, or when reviewing job descriptions) you will need to discuss this with the individual to seek their views on:
- how their impairment affects their day to day activities;
- what, if any, adjustments in relation to the above might help them in performing their role;
- what, if any, adjustments may help to remove any substantial disadvantage.
It is recommended that managers speak to the individual face to face when suggesting it may be helpful to meet to discuss the issue.
Prepare for the meeting
Encourage the individual to consider the following before the meeting:
What is causing them difficulty e.g.:
- Physical surroundings;
- Ability to perform an element of their job;
- Ability to participate in training/meetings.
How this may be addressed e.g.:
- Adjusting the way things are done;
- Adjusting physical features of the workplace;
- Providing extra equipment.
It is important to advise that, as a manager, you may need to seek confidential advice from Human Resources, in relation to this matter, to enable you to determine the most effective intervention/support for the individual.
Advise that if they would find it supportive they may bring a companion along to this meeting i.e. a work colleague or trade union representative.
Meet & Explore
- Explore with the staff member what impact they feel that their impairment has on their ability to undertake their role;
- Seek their views on what changes to working practices, premises or auxiliary aids would support them in undertaking their role;
- Give a full and fair consideration to all potential reasonable adjustments, in order to decide what will be implemented and how (e.g. what action is required, by whom and within what timescale);
- If you are uncertain whether an adjustment is reasonable, seek advice from Human Resources. For further information about see the Reasonable Adjustment guidance;
- A Risk Assessment may also help to identify potential support or risks and ways in which they can be mitigated or removed. Please click here for a Risk Assessment Form.
Some situations* may requires input from other sources:
- Human Resources;
- Workplace Health & Wellbeing to seek medical advice about the effects of the condition and his/her abilities e.g. via a management referral;
- Health & Safety;
- External bodies that may be able to offer assistance (e.g. Macmillan Cancer, Access to Work).
*For instance cases where an individual has recently developed a condition and is unsure of its impact or where an individual has been on long-term sickness and a return to work plan needs to be agreed.
Implementation of reasonable adjustments
It is essential that you discuss with the individual, what reasonable adjustment will be implemented, who it would be appropriate to inform and to what extent. It is also important to agree, if appropriate, what information the individual wishes to share in relation to their health condition. This may include those who will have a role in ensuring that the adjustment is carried out e.g. potentially affected work colleagues. It is essential that the staff member’s wishes regarding confidentiality should be adhered to.
- Reasonable adjustments often are simple without cost implications. Where a cost does apply, this should not be passed onto the employee. Advice on funding reasonable adjustments may be sought from Human Resources.
- For further information, see Funding the Cost of 'Reasonable Adjustments.
- To help to manage expectations, keep the individual updated of the progress of the implementation of the reasonable adjustments.
- A record should be maintained as to what adjustments were considered and the reasons for any decisions taken.
Review reasonable adjustments
- Review the impact of any reasonable adjustments at a set timescale to ensure they continue to be appropriate. SRDS reviews, regular one to one meetings and return to work discussions/interviews after sickness absence, can also be useful points to check on arrangements.
- Give consideration of any potential impact that an employee´s disability may have on their ability to: undertake/get involved in new initiatives/ways of working; attend/participate in meetings, training etc.
- Managers may need to occasionally consider making new reasonable adjustments, or take existing reasonable adjustments into account as new situations emerge.
- Before altering or removing an adjustment, e.g. due to changes in the employee´s work etc, the manager should meet with the individual to explore the impact of any proposed change and the options available. Depending upon the scope of the proposed change it may be appropriate to work through the above process.