The Charity for Civil Servants have worked with Civil Service HR to bring together useful resources and information on workplace adjustments.
What are workplace adjustments?
Workplace adjustments help to break down workplace barriers which may disadvantage and/or prevent an employee from performing effectively in their job. They are a change to: a workplace provision, criterion or practice, a physical feature of a building or workplace, and/or the provision of extra equipment, services or support.
Main types of workplace barriers
- Physical – this could be steps in a building, adapted furniture or an alarm that is just a sound but does not have a visual way of alerting people.
- Organisational – this could be a policy or working practice that excludes or is a barrier to an employee with a disability. An example could be introducing a new IT based package without considering accessibility issues.
- Attitudinal – this could be viewing people with disabilities as passive, dependent or restricted. An example could be excluding someone from a development opportunity, without checking with them.
- Communication – this could be communicating in a way that doesn't enable employees with a disability to participate in meetings, or failing to providing access to interpreters, lipspeakers or palantypists.
Who are workplace adjustments for?
The simple answer is anyone might need a workplace adjustment at some stage in their career. Health and/or personal circumstances can change suddenly or over time.
Workplace adjustments may be required short term or long term for: the sudden onset of an injury or illness such as a broken leg, early onset dementia, stroke, heart attack or cancer, fluctuating health conditions, and other visible and nonvisible conditions.
As an inclusive employer the Civil Service provides adjustments and/or support to all employees who need these to remove workplace barrier(s) regardless of whether they have a disability or health condition under the Equality Act 2010. So we use the term 'Workplace Adjustment' in communications, HR policies, guidance and products, rather than the term 'Reasonable Adjustments’ to reflect this.
Why are workplace adjustments so important?
Action 14 of the Declaration of Reform commits the Government to being a model employer, making the pledge that citizens living with disabilities can flourish in public service. Furthermore, we have a legal obligation to minimise disadvantage and take steps to meet the needs of people from protected groups as part of our Public Sector Equality Duty, under the Equality Act 2010.
Where can I get advice on Workplace Adjustments?
Most adjustments can be agreed and implemented between an employee and their line manager. Holding a good quality conversation about workplace adjustments with your line manager is a key step towards getting the right support in place.
If you need advice, your first port of call should be your departmental intranet site. Your department's workplace adjustment policy and process will signpost you on how to get in touch with experts and obtain any specialist advice.
How can a Workplace Adjustment Passport help me?
The Passport template can be useful for structuring your conversation about workplace adjustments with your line manager, as well as being a record of your barriers, workplace adjustments and support they’ve agreed.
Sharing and regularly reviewing your completed Workplace Adjustment Passport with your line manager will ensure your adjustments continue to meet your needs. Similarly, sharing this when you change roles or line managers will enable a smooth transition and continuity of support.
Useful products and information
Finally, you can access a full suite of Civil Service Workplace Adjustments Policy guidance and support tools by logging into the Civil Service Learning (CSL) website or clicking on the links below:
- NEW – Line Manager Self-Assessment tool
- NEW – Workplace Adjustments and the Employee Lifecycle
- Civil Service Workplace Adjustments Passport blank template
- The POWER of the Passport – Why and how to use it effectively
- Civil Service Workplace Adjustments Conversation Map – Step by step visual guide
- Workplace Adjustments Line Manager Conversation – 5 minute animated video
- Example: Pre-populated Passports – COVID
- Example: Pre-populated Passports – Arthritis, Breast Cancer, Autism
- Example: Pre-populated Passports – Menopause
- List of Common Workplace Adjustments