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Disabled Staff Support

The University is committed to providing an environment where staff with impairments, long term conditions, and disabilities can flourish and succeed.

Active consideration is being given to addressing the needs of  staff in all aspects of University life, including recruitment, retention, career progression, work environments, and social spaces. In addition, there are many ongoing actions to identify and increase accessibility and we continue to invest heavily in infrastructure and buildings across all three of our campuses to ensure considerations and adjustments are made.

If you experience a problem on campus you can report it using the Disability Operations Group Form

For information regarding Equality Diversity and Inclusion matters such as University policy, please contact Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Team.

Neurodiversity is a term relating to different ways to think and experience the world. This includes autism, ADHD, Tourette’s Syndrome, Dyspraxia and Dyslexia. Along with brain damage, epilepsy, etc. A person with one of these conditions could be called neurodivergent because they diverge from the way that the majority of people think about things. A group of people with different ways of thinking could be called neurodiverse. Neurodivergent people may or may not consider themselves disabled.

Chronic Illness is a long term condition that requires ongoing management, which may or may not impact how the person lives day-to-day.

Disability is defined under the equality act as “a physical or mental impairment…” that “has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a person's ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities”. This means that it covers both mental and physical difficulties and can still apply where people might not perceive themselves as disabled. It can also apply to people who have not been through certain diagnoses or processes. For example, a neurodivergent person may need adjustments even if they have not had a formal diagnosis; or a person with mobility issues may have trouble getting to work even if they haven’t been issued a disabled parking permit yet.  

The laws surrounding what is and is not covered, and under what circumstances, are complex. A good general rule is that we want students and staff at Exeter to flourish and work to their full potential and we shouldn’t wait till there’s a risk of being sued before we take actions to help people achieve their best.

“Reasonable adjustments” is the term used most commonly in UK law to refer to accommodations made for disabled people. Occupational Health has more about reasonable adjustments, including examples of reasonable adjustments. If you need funding for reasonable adjustments, this is available through your team and the Access to Work scheme.

You can ask for reasonable adjustments:

If you need to provide a reasonable adjustment for another person, we recommend discussing it with them first. However the university aims for Universal Design, where our practices are designed to be accessible as default. This could mean, for example:

  • Making sure that public meetings are in wheelchair accessible rooms
  • Ensuring documents are screen reader compatible
  • Avoiding loud, over stimulating environments. This can disadvantage people with sensory impairments as well as many neurodivergent people
  • Asking how people like to get information and matching how you communicate with them to match what works best for them
  • Making sure equipment and work spaces are accessible
  • Ensuring interview tests and assessments are accessible
  • Getting into the habit of asking whether reasonable adjustments will be needed

Disclosure is the process of revealing that you have a disability. You can disclose a disability to the university through the Trent HR System and we recommend talking to your line manager about any reasonable adjustments you might need. The Occupational Health Team can help you consider what adjustments you may need.

Disclosing a disability on our system helps the University to notice if disabled staff are paid less or have a worse experience of working at Exeter in some other way. We use this information to find ways to improve conditions for our disabled staff members. For this reason, confidentially disclosing a disability helps us to help everyone. The information is not shared without your consent.

You can also disclose a disability when applying for jobs. The University is a Disability Confident Employer and whenever doing so is reasonably practical we offer a guaranteed interview for disabled applicants who meet the minimum requirements for a job. We can also offer reasonable adjustments during the recruitment process.

The University has a number of networks and groups for disabled staff members including:

These networks provide a space for staff to meet and feed back on issues with peers who have experienced similar issues.

The University is a member of the Business Disability Forum, which provides an advice service for staff supporting disabled people, training sessions, and a resource library.  You can access the BDF Knowledge Hub by registering on the BDF Signup webpage using your University of Exeter email address.