Adjustments and disability

Equality, diversity and inclusiveness is at the heart of the University. Find out how we can help you before, during and after the application process.

We want to support disabled applicants and members of staff as well as their line managers and colleagues. We hope you will find these pages useful in finding the information you need to make sure you have a workplace that does not exclude anyone and that meets the ambitions of the University values. We are guided by the Equality Act 2010 and by the University’s policies and procedures.

This information covers:

  • How to disclose a disability or medical condition – and why
  • How we define disability
  • An overview of University of Surrey policies and procedures

Disclosure

We strongly encourage you to disclose any disability or medical condition at any time of your contact with the University of Surrey:

  • When you apply for a job here
  • When you start work here
  • At any other time while employed here

Find out more about disclosing a disability or medical condition and read the specific guidance applicable for you:

The University welcomes applications from individuals with disabilities and is committed to ensuring fair treatment throughout the recruitment process. Adjustments will be made, wherever reasonable, to enable you to participate fully in the process to the best of your ability. If you are successful in your application, we are committed to helping you during your employment.

We encourage you to disclose your disabilities so that we can make the necessary adjustments to meet your needs. Whether during the recruitment process or during your employment, disclosing your disability helps us to help you.

If you wish to discuss any reasonable adjustments necessary, you can contact the recruiting department at any point in the process. Contact details will be in the job advert.

Stage 1

If you would like to disclose a disability/long-term health condition then you have the opportunity to do so on the pre-employment health questionnaire which is sent to the Occupational Health team.

Stage 2

When the Occupational Health team receive your pre-employment questionnaire, they may contact you via telephone or face-to-face to discuss your disability/long-term health condition to obtain further information.

Stage 3

The Occupational Health team will complete a Fit Form detailing the specific impairments (if relevant and providing you consent to this) and advise on reasonable adjustments required. Equality Act will be referenced if applicable.

Stage 4

If you need a specific adjustment to your working environment and if you consent, HR will use the Fit Form to inform your line manager.

Stage 5

If your situation requires a more complicated solution, we will refer you and/or your advocate to Access to Work. They can provide additional advice and in some cases help with the cost of an adjustment. We strongly recommend involving Access to Work as early as possible.

Stage 6

The HR team will arrange a workplace assessment with your line manager and with you, and this may include the Health and Safety team. For further information, refer to the workplace health needs assessment information on the GOV.UK website*.

Data confidentiality:

We will ask for your consent to share relevant data before we do so. It will only be shared with colleagues who need to know.

The HR and the People, Culture and Inclusion teams will ensure that the appropriate training is in place so that your line manager can support you in your employment. 

Stage 7

You and your manager will meet to discuss the support you will require. They will attach the OH Fit Form to your employee record including any reasonable adjustments undertaken. We will agree an action plan with you and we will also include this in your employee record.

Stage 8

Your line manager will implement the agreed reasonable adjustments (within six weeks of initial request) and regularly review and record:

  • Appropriate funding identified
  • Date of implementation

Stage 9

Your manager will monitor and review your adjustments and action plan with you at regular one to one meetings to ensure that the appropriate support is in place. Your manager may refer you back to OH if any significant changes in your health are identified to ensure that the appropriate support is in place.

Notes

Occupational health support is available to all employees, at the start of their employment or at any point during. OH advisers will explain support processes and key contacts.

In all cases, actions and adjustments should be recorded on the employee record to ensure that appropriate support put in place is recorded. All sensitive data will be held according to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

* The workplace health needs assessment checklist prompts HR/manager to consider whether a DSE assessment or Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP) is required via Health and Safety or whether there are parking requirements or other support e.g. referral to the Centre for Wellbeing.

It is entirely voluntary to disclose information with regard to your disability status. However, it is encouraged to ensure the effective provision of guidance, support and protection for disabled staff so that the appropriate resources and specialist support can be identified and provided.

If you would like to disclose a disability/long-term health condition, then you can do this via Employee Self Service and by speaking to your manager or HR.

Equality Act 2010

In 2010, the Equality Act received royal assent. This Act replaces previous equalities legislation, including the Disability Discrimination Acts 1995 and 2005. However, most of the law remains unchanged. The new Act simplifies the law by creating an overarching framework for equalities. It does this by introducing the concept of ‘protected characteristics’, which includes nine groups, on which unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation is prohibited. Disability is one of the nine groups; the others are: age, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief (including lack of belief), sex and sexual orientation.

Definition of a disability under the Equality Act 2010

In the Act, a person has a disability if:

  • They have a physical or mental impairment
  • The impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to perform normal day-to-day activities.

For the purposes of the Act, these words have the following meanings:

  • Substantial: More than minor or trivial.
  • Long-term: The effect of the impairment has lasted or is likely to last for at least 12 months (there are special procedures covering recurring or fluctuating conditions).
  • Normal day-to-day activities: Everyday things like eating, washing, walking and going shopping.

The definition covers a broad range of mental health and physical conditions such as cerebral palsy, autism, HIV, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, hearing and visual impairments, asthma, ADHD and depression.

People who have had a disability in the past that meets this definition can also be protected by the Act.

University policies and procedures

Policies, procedures and information that may be relevant:

Useful links and resources

Find contact information and websites for support services.

Contact us

If you want to know more or have any questions, please email humanresources@surrey.ac.uk.