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Disability is one of the protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010. The Act aims to protect people from direct and indirect discrimination, harassment, and victimisation on the basis of disability. You can read more about the Equality Act here. On these pages you will find:

Read the University's Disability Strategy Statement to find out about the work we're doing on disability equality and accessibility.

If you'd like to learn more about disability and can't find what you need here, contact us and let us know.


Definition of 'Disability' in the Equality Act

Under the Equality Act, a person has a disability if they have a "physical or mental impairment" which "has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on [their] ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities".

The Act includes additional explanation of these terms:

  • 'Substantial' means more than minor or trivial.
  • 'Long-term' means that the effect of the impairment has lasted or is likely to last for at least twelve months.
  • 'Normal day-to-day activities' include everyday things like eating, washing, walking, and going shopping.

It is important to remember that not all disabilities are visible.


Declaring a Disability

It is important to note that staff are under no obligation to declare the nature of their disability. However, declarations can assist departments in offering effective workplace adjustments and any additional support required.

It is necessary for us to have as much information as possible about the number of disabled people employed and their needs to enable us as an employer to assess the effectiveness of the provision we make for disabled staff and anticipate any adjustments which may be needed. When people declare a disability we record it on their confidential personnel record so that we can understand what proportion of employees have declared a disability. The information is treated confidentially and will not be disclosed to a third party without prior consent by the individual.

1 in 25 staff at Warwick declared a disability, equivalent to 4.6% of the workforce (sector average is 5%), but according to the Papworth Trust (2018) 18% of the working age (16 - 64 years) population in the UK have a disability. As such, we are keen to increase declaration rates and encourage staff to declare any disabilities to their line manager and/or HR. If you, or someone you line manage, require workplace adjustments the Disability Framework will guide you through the implementation process.

The statistics and infographic above are from our Equality Monitoring Annual Report, which you can find on the Data and Reports webpage.

You can find more data on disability on the Office for National Statistics website.


Duty to Make Adjustments

The Equality Act also places on public bodies, including the University, a duty to take such steps as are reasonable to provide adjustments or aids if a disabled person is substantially disadvantaged by any of the following:

  • A provision, criterion, or practice.
  • A physical feature of the premises.
  • The absence of an auxiliary aid or service.

The aim of this duty is to ensure that disabled people can access a service or workplace at as close to the same standard as non-disabled people would receive as it is possible to achieve.

The duty is 'anticipatory' meaning that public bodies, including the University, must be ready to comply with this duty at any time i.e. the University is not expected to anticipate the needs of every prospective staff member, but we are required to consider and take reasonable and proportionate steps to overcome barriers that may impede people with different kinds of disabilities.

If you, or someone you line manage, require workplace adjustments the Disability Framework will guide you through the implementation process.


Sources of Information and Support

        You may also be interested in:

        Disability Framework (workplace adjustments)

        Staff Networks - including Disabled Staff Network

        Taskforces and SIC - including Disability Taskforce

        Policies - including Disability and Mental Health Policy

        Initiatives - including our booklet 'The Most Important Things People Want You To Know About Disability & Caring'

        Training, Guidance, and Resources - including Disability Awareness training, Disability Guidance for line managers, and a collection of Disability Awareness Moodles

        Charters - including Disability Standard