Access to Work
If a member of staff has a health condition or disability, Access to Work can provide practical and financial support to help them overcome barriers to starting or keeping a job. Access to Work can also give practical advice to the College as an employer.
Access to Work information
What is Access to Work?
Access to Work is a government scheme run by Jobcentre Plus that contributes towards the financial cost of providing disability solutions as part of the College's legal duty to make “reasonable adjustments”. Employers have a legal duty to make “reasonable adjustments” for all their employees' disability needs under the Equality Act 2010.
Access to Work offers financial support in the form of a grant to help towards the additional employment costs incurred by disabled people in or entering paid employment. It aims to help overcome work related obstacles resulting from their disability. It is available to unemployed, employed, and self-employed people, and can apply to any job, full-time, part-time, permanent, or temporary.
How can Access to Work help disabled staff?
Access to Work can help pay towards the cost of support needed due to a health condition or disability, for example:
- aids and equipment in the workplace
- adapting equipment to make it easier to use
- funding towards additional travelling arrangements where unable to use public transport or drive your own vehicle
- an interpreter or other support at a job interview if you have difficulty communicating
- other practical help at work, such as a job coach or a sign-language interpreter
Who is eligible for Access to Work?
A member of staff can apply to Access to Work if they have a disability or health condition that has a long-term negative effect on your ability to do your job (long-term means lasting, or likely to last, for at least 12 months) and:
- are aged 16 or over
- live in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales)
- already working for the College, or;
- are about to start work for the College;
- have an interview for at the College or;
- are about to begin a work trial arranged through Jobcentre Plus.
How can Access to Work help the College as an employer?
The Access to Work programme is designed to encourage positive change for both the employee and the employer. Disability work solutions will create a healthier working environment, which encourages the highest productivity from an employee through improved access and application of their work.
How much funding for support can be expected?
There is no set amount for an Access to Work grant. How much you will receive will depend on your circumstances.
Access to Work can fund the following types of support:
- adaptations to the equipment you use
- special equipment
- fares to work if you can’t use public transport
- a support worker or job coach to help you in your workplace
- a support service if you have a mental health condition and you’re absent from work or finding it difficult to work
- disability awareness training for your colleagues
- a communicator at a job interview
- the cost of moving your equipment if you change location or job
As the College is a large employer with over 250 employees, the College via departments will have to pay the first £1,000 towards any equipment needs and 20 per cent of costs up to £10,000.
From 1 October 2015 Access to Work grant will be capped at £40, 800 per year.
The Access to Work Process
In the first instance you should speak to your line manager about your disability and any adjustments you feel would help you to carry out your role. If you would like to have an Access to Work assessment you will need to contact them directly as the person with a disability.
In order to make an application the member of staff with a disability will need to contact Access to Work directly, either by email or phone.
Access to Work Process
Contact Access to Work
The first thing is for you, as a member of staff, to directly contact the Access To Work. The Operational Support Unit that covers the College is the London unit:
Access to Work London
Telephone: 0345 268 8489
Textphone: 0345 608 8753
You will be assessed over the phone to see if you are eligible for the programme. If you are eligible, an application form (ATW1) will be sent to you and will need to be completed.
You will need to check the information and return the signed application (ATW1) to the Operational Support Unit.
On receipt of the returned application Access To Work will allocate an Adviser to your case. The Access to Work Adviser will contact you by telephone to assess your individual needs and discuss your circumstances. The Adviser will also need to talk to your employer; you can include the details of your manager and the Equality and Diversity Manager if you wish to. If, following this second conversation, it is decided a more technical assessment is required, the Adviser will arrange for a contracted external assessor to visit your place of work.
Report & Recommendations of Your Needs
After the assessment has taken place a confidential report will be sent to the Access To Work adviser suggesting suitable adjustments, equipment or support you may need, and providing details of costs and suppliers. You will then be sent two copies of this report, one for yourself and one for the College. You can tell Access To Work who you would like the report to be sent to in the College, it should ideally be your line manager. The adviser will contact you to discuss recommendations. After this discussion an approval letter detailing the agreed funding will be sent to both you and your employer.
Reimbursement to the College
The final stage will be the College purchasing the agreed solution and then claiming the agreed grant back from Access To Work on a claim form which will be sent with the approval letter. It is essential that all purchase orders, invoices, and receipts are kept for this final stage.