Workplace adjustments process

A workplace adjustment is any adaptation made in the workplace to ensure equal access and opportunity for a disabled person.

As an employer, the College is both committed and legally obliged under the Equality Act 2010 to make reasonable adjustments to enable disabled staff to carry out their duties successfully.

The overall aim should be, as far as possible, to remove or reduce any disadvantage faced by a disabled member of staff.

Line managers are responsible for considering requests for workplace adjustments and for ensuring that appropriate adjustments are put in place, as soon as reasonably possible.

The Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Centre (EDIC) and Occupational Health can provide advice and are able to support discussions around workplace adjustments. However, after considering all the information, the line manager is ultimately responsible for the decision as to whether the adjustment(s) are reasonable and whether the adjustment(s) or an alternative can be implemented.

There are a number of ways in which workplace adjustments may be requested or recommended, as detailed below. Regardless of the route, it is recommended that the member of staff work with their line manager to create and agree a workplace adjustments Passport.

Workplace Adjustment Process accordion

There is no requirement for a member of staff or a manager to make a request for workplace adjustments via EDIC or Occupational Health.  A member of staff may discuss their needs directly with their line manager, and these may be considered and implemented without any extra support.

The line manager will need to consider the request with their member of staff and follow the workplace adjustments process for managers.

The line manager and/or the member of staff may contact EDIC at any point during this process if they require additional support with workplace adjustments.  The line manager may also request guidance through the process from their Strategic HR Partner/HR Partner.

There are a number of online resources to support this discussion and these are available through the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Centre (EDIC) webpage.

The member of staff and/or the line manager may contact EDIC directly for support with workplace adjustments. This is usually initiated via a form on the webpage.  EDIC will follow their process for Workplace adjustments 

If a member of staff approaches EDIC directly for support, they will be advised that their line manager will need to be included in the process to enable the request to progress.  This is because the decision about reasonable adjustments cannot be made in isolation from the line manager. The Strategic HR Partner/HR Partner may be contacted for guidance at any point.  

A management referral to Occupational Health will usually be initiated as part of the procedure for managing sickness absence, or because there has been a significant change in an individual’s health that is having or is likely to have an impact on their ability to undertake their work.

If a member of staff ‘self-refers’ to Occupational Health, they will be asked to speak to their line manager for a management referral before a report is produced. 

Depending on the nature of the referral and if it is likely to include consideration of reasonable adjustments, Occupational Health may consider that it would be more appropriate for the request to be supported by EDIC and may refer the member of staff and their line manager to EDIC for advice and guidance. 

To support the member of staff’s assessment, Occupational Health may contact the line manager to ask for additional information or to clarify anything that might not be clear.  Occupational Health may ask the member of staff for their consent to contact their GP for additional medical information. 

On completion of the assessment, the report will be provided to the member of staff and their line manager and may recommend that workplace adjustments are considered.

If the Occupational Health assessment has been requested as part of a formal College process e.g. sickness absence, the outcome of the report, including any suggested adjustments will be considered as part of that ongoing process.

Alternatively, if the assessment follows an independent management referral, the line manager must review the recommendations, including any workplace adjustments with their member of staff (see workplace adjustments process for managers). 

The line manager and the member of staff may seek advice from EDIC or HR Strategic Support.

A disabled member of staff may choose whether they want to request workplace adjustments via the routes set out in 1 to 3 above, or as part of a request for flexible working using the Flexible Working Policy.

If a member of staff submits a request for flexible working that is due to a disability, the flexible working policy and procedure should be followed, and any adjustments must be considered as part of the request. 

A member of HR Strategic support will usually provide guidance on the application of the Flexible Working Policy, but if additional advice about reasonable adjustments is needed, EDIC should be contacted.