Imperial is committed to providing dedicated support to its staff and students in order to ensure they maximise their potential and progress regardless of their disability.
Support at Imperial
Declaring a disability
You make Imperial. Having more accurate data about our staff and students enables the College to check we have the right policies and services in place. Disclosing a disability also means we can start the process of putting in place any reasonable adjustments that you might need.
The College encourages staff to inform their line manager of their disability or disabilities and to record these disabilities on ICIS. ICIS is the College's online employee self service system. It is recommended that you review and update your personal details, including disability, at least once a year.
Your staff record is confidential. ICIS access is only given to specifically authorised persons who must follow Imperial's data protection policy and codes of practice.
Students can declare their disability:
- as part of their UCAS application
- to the Disability Advisory Service
- to their department
- by updating their student record
The Disability Advisory Service has developed information about declaration and confidentiality specifically for students.
Support for staff
The Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Centre can provide information, advice and guidance for disabled staff and their managers. This includes reasonable adjustments and support available within and outside the College. All discussions are held in confidence.
The Centre had produced the following guidance documents:
Access to Work
Access to Work is a government scheme that contributes towards the financial cost of reasonable adjustments. We have a full guide to Access to Work for staff to learn more about the scheme and how to apply.
The Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Centre has a process to screen and assess staff who think they may have dyslexia or other specific learning differences.
Staying Well Plan
A personal Staying Well (SWELL) Plan can be used to proactively manage health and wellbeing.
We encourage staff and their managers to use the College Staying Well (SWELL) Plan template (Word) to help discuss adjustments and plans that could be put in place.
Personal Emergency Egress Plan
A Personal Emergency Egress Plan (PEEP) is a plan to help you safely exit the building during an emergency. The PEEP should be developed jointly between yourself and your line manager. The Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Centre has worked with Estates Operations to develop template PEEPs.
Support for students
Disability Advisory Service
The College has a dedicated Disability Advisory Service. This provides flexible and tailored advice and support for disabled students.
The Disability Advisory Service also acts as the first point of contact for prospective students or their parents, seeking information about disability support for students within College. Their service is both confidential (information about you is only passed on to other people in the university with your agreement) and individual in that any support is tailored to what you need.
Each academic department has a Departmental Disability Officer. These individuals are the first point of contact within a department for students. They can facilitate a student's support within the department, for example, applying for special exam arrangements.
Imperial College Union
The Imperial College Union has several Liberation & Community Officers. Two of these Officers are dedicated to Disabilities and Mental Health. They work to represent the needs of students and improve student experience and support at Imperial.
Examples of disabilities
As defined by the Equality Act 2010, a disability is any condition which impairs a person’s ability to carry out day-to-day activity for twelve months or more. Disabilities can be physical or mental, visible or invisible. Mental ill health is an unreported but common issue.
Examples of disabilities
This list is not comprehensive and is only meant as short guide:
- sensory impairments, such as those affecting sight or hearing
- physical impairments or illnesses that affect mobility, dexterity, or control of movement, e.g. prolonged use of a wheelchair or crutches, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, or stroke
- developmental conditions, such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, or autistic spectrum disorders (ASD)
- depression, anxiety, eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, bipolar affective disorders, as well as personality disorders and some self-harming behaviours
- progressive diseases, such as motor neurone disease, muscular dystrophy, forms of dementia, and lupus
- illnesses with impairments with fluctuating or recurring effects such as myalgic encephalitis [ME], chronic fatigue syndrome [CFS], fibromyalgia, sickle cell anaemia, epilepsy, and diabetes
- facial disfigurements
- HIV infection (from the point of diagnosis even where there is no adverse effect on day-to-day living)
- cancer (from the point of diagnosis even where there is no adverse effect on day-to-day living)
- other long-term illnesses that significantly impairs a person’s ability to function, physically and/or mentally. This can be due to the effects of the illness or the effects or demands of treatment, e.g. needing to attend hospital or taking debilitating or time-consuming treatment.
Under the Equality Act 2010, some specific impairments are excluded from the definition of disability. These include:
- addictions, other than as a result of the substance being medicinally prescribed, e.g. alcoholism, drug dependency, or smoking addiction
- deliberately inflicted disfigurements such as tattoos which have not been removed, skin piercing, and something attached through such piercing
- seasonal allergic rhinitis (e.g. hay fever), except where it aggravates the effect of another impairment such as unstable asthma or severe chronic irreversible airflow limitation
- problems with standard vision, corrected by contact lenses or spectacles.
What is the College doing?
Imperial is a Disability Confident Leader - this means we are committed to recruiting and supporting disabled staff, and ensuring they can thrive. Disability Confident gives the College a framework. Our Disability Action Committee oversees disability equality work and efforts to improve accessibility throughout the College.
The College is also working with AccessAble to provide accessibility information for all our campuses. This information is not only useful for our College community, but AccessAble can be a valuable tool for those visiting the College.