Template of letter to EHRC on recent changes to the operation of the Access to Work scheme
November 2, 2010
Template copied from the letter written by National Association of Disability Practitioners (NAPD). DPOs, please take note and write :
To: Mr. Trevor Phillips, OBE
Chair of the Equality & Human Rights Commission
Re: recent changes to the operation of the Access to Work scheme
Dear Mr. Phillips
(Brief introduction of your organisation/DPO)
We understand that there have been two recent changes relating to the operation of the Access to Work scheme:
1. an increase in the employer’s financial contribution
2. some changes to the items which Access to Work expects the employer to supply, without A2W assistance (see below).
Both of these changes have the effect of putting more of the costs of supporting a disabled employee back on to the employer.
As disabled people, we are seriously concerned about the potential impact of any decrease to the support given by government to employers in encouraging them to make appropriate provision for employing us.
We believe that the Access to Work scheme improves the employment prospects of disabled people and represents excellent value for money, especially when compared to the cost to the state of the various benefits that would otherwise be paid to unemployed disabled people. With a Spending Review targeting reductions in Incapacity Benefit, we believe that strengthening Access to Work would assist in enabling former claimants to obtain suitable employment.
We would like to recommend that the EHRC review the recent Access to Work decisions in the light of the potential real cost of limiting the prospect of progress towards disability equality in the workplace.
The following statement, as understood, covers the changes to A2W .
It is the legal responsibility of employers to provide reasonable adjustments to allow disabled staff to do their work. The Access to Work programme is to provide funding for equipment and support that would be above and beyond what is reasonable for an employer to supply.
What support is regarded as “standard and reasonable” is under constant
review and guidance to our staff is regularly updated to reflect ever
changing work practices, I.T. advancements and accepted industry standards.
As part of this latest update a revised list of equipment has been included in the Access to Work guidance in order to assist advisers in making operational decisions.
We understand that the following list provides examples of items that should be considered as standard equipment and so cannot be funded by Access to Work from now on. The list is not intended to be exhaustive.
That Access to Work believes that in normal circumstances an employer should provide these items as part of their Disability Discrimination Act duty to make reasonable adjustments.
Analogue hearing aids
(all digital hearing aids require SEO approval)
(with the exception of very specialist, bespoke examples which require SEO approval)
Backrests/wedges/back friend/cushions/swivel pads
Desk Top Computers
Keyboards (including overlays)
Document Holders /writing slopes
General office equipment (e.g. staplers, hole punches etc.)
GPS devises/Sat Navs
I pad / i-mac tablets
Stationary (e.g. pens etc,)
Clothing (gloves, boots etc.)
Voice activated software
Walking aids (sticks, frames, Rollators)
Internet connections/rentals for home working
Lighting (Daylight lighting, Helix Desk Lamp etc.)
Vehicles appropriate to the job role – such as tractors for farm work, fork lift trucks for warehouse work or taxi’s for hire