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Staff Disability Network: plans for 2020

Staff Disability Network

This year promises to be a busy year for our Staff Disability Network, the inclusive support network for colleagues with disabilities, impairments and mental health conditions (and their allies).

The Network has identified five key themes to work towards over the course of the year. Each theme seeks to bring improvement to the University in one way or another, from improving working conditions to raising awareness of what it's really like to live and work with a disability.

Disability Passport/Tailored Adjustments Document     

The Network has been liaising with UCU, HR and the Business Disability Forum to support a ‘Disability Passport' for the University of Reading. This would take the form of a record of workplace adjustments agreed between an employee and their line manager, for better transparency on actions taken to improve working conditions.

Disability Confidence Scheme   

An aspiration  is for the University to take part in the Disability Confidence government scheme. The network is supporting HR and Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, Dr Allan Laville, to sign up as ‘Disability Committed’ and prepare for a Level 2 Disability Confident Employer self-assessment. 

Line Management Training - Disability Awareness          

The Network is especially keen to support the delivery of disability awareness training. They can provide feedback on training content and suggest appropriate resources and specialist trainers where possible.

The University holds institutional membership to the Business Disability Forum and the Network encourages all colleagues - and especially line managers - to register and make use of its resources.

Estates and the Built Environment         

Buildings access will play a large part in the Network's discussions this year. The Network has provided feedback on campus improvement plans, and will continue to do so for future projects. Plans to potentially expand eligibility for disabled parking spaces and permits are also being explored.

Alliances are also being made with RUSU and our student disability teams, as many efforts to improve the disabled student experience tally up with our ambitions for University staff. One particularly exciting proposal is the creation of a mentor scheme between disabled staff and students, which could potentially help disabled students prepare for life in the workplace.  

Communication and Events

The Network is still relatively new, and is especially keen to raise its profile within the University. Several events are planned over the coming months - the next one being a coffee morning on 24 March 2020. Please join us in room 101, Carrington Building between 11:00 and 13:00 (if you can't attend the whole session, feel free to drop by for as long as you can).  We will be joined electronically by colleagues from Hidden Disabilities, the charity responsible for the sunflower lanyard that's gaining national popularity.    

You can also now join the Staff Disability Network on Microsoft Teams - here you can share ideas and resources, and take part in discussions with fellow colleagues.

How to get involved

To contact the Staff Disability Network, including registering your interest in our next coffee morning, please send an email to or join through Microsoft Teams.

The Network would greatly appreciate your support. Please keep checking the staff portal and Teams page for details of future events.

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