Access to Work Tips
Over the last week, we’ve been approached by three separate HR professionals wanting to know more about Access to Work. It seems many organisations don’t know very much about this government scheme nor how to engage in it. Here is our insights and how we at B.I.T.T. Services can help.
What is Access to Work?
Access to Work is a government funded scheme to support individuals with a disability, long term illness or mental health condition to start or stay in work. This scheme sounds great – right? Someone presenting with a condition, such as Dyslexia, who is struggling in the workplace can receive support through the scheme. In addition, funds to pay for it! The problem seems to be though that not everyone knows about it.
What are reasonable adjustments?
We are asked ‘how do we kick start the process?’ Well, Step 1 is to talk and implement reasonable adjustments. Employers have an obligation to implement reasonable adjustments as per the Equality Act 2010. Unfortunately, there seems to be a lack of awareness within organisations as to what a reasonable adjustment actually is. Likewise, its seems many organisations are unclear as to how to have the conversation to understand the challenges.
An example of a reasonable adjustment could be providing someone with serve anxiety a permanent desk rather than a hot desk. Therefore, giving them a consistent setting and structure. If you want to know more about reasonable adjustments or how to have a conversation we at BITTS can a wealth of experience so get in touch.
What are Assessments & Elements?
Access to Work has two key parts – an assessment and elements. An assessment is around having a conversation (and potentially site visit) to understand the impact and providing recommendations on the elements. The elements are those provisions to be put in place. These elements supplement the already implemented reasonable adjustments in step 1. Elements may range from specialist assistive technology through to support services such as counseling.
Assuming more support is needed, above the implemented reasonable adjustments, the individual can apply online (or via phone). An application asks for details of the condition or disability (medical evidence of this maybe needed later). Employees are asked to describe why their condition makes it harder for them to do their job. Next, if they know, they need to provide details of what they need to make their job easier. The Access to Work advisor can then better understand if an assessment detailing recommendations is needed. Based on the information, they may be able to review and approve (or not) the elements (the things needed to make the job easier) and skip the assessment. If an assessment, along with site visit is needed, then the process can take around 6 weeks.
Who can provide the services once an application is approved?
Any appropriate service provider. The advisor may provide a view of recommended suppliers, however, the employer or individual can use their preferred supplier. Perhaps the employee may wish to use the supplier who provided them support during their studies and under DSA.
Assuming the application is approved, the employer or individual can then engage the supplier to kick start the elements. This could be arranging delivery of ergonomic equipment through to arranging training sessions for new Assistive Technology. Suppliers will invoice the employer (or sometimes the individual) directly and then they must engage Access to Work for the costs to be recouped.
How can B.I.T.T. Services help?
BITTS can provide a variety of the recommended elements. Visit our Access to Work page to understand more about these services. We can help by having the appropriate conversations with the individual prior to any Access to Work application. Based on our unrivaled knowledge of disabilities and mental health conditions we can have that open conversation, to actively listen and explore the impacts. Furthermore, we can then provide recommendations not only on reasonable adjustments but also any elements that should be listed in an Access to Work application.
So if you want to know more about:
- reasonable adjustments,
- how to have the conversation in the workplace
- implementation of elements or
- help with any part of the Access to Work process then get in touch.