Access to Work is a government scheme managed through the Employment Service. It provides help towards the extra costs of employing someone who is or becomes disabled under the criteria of the Disability Discrimination Act and needs support to help them carry out employment.
Examples of the support include aids for communication, special equipment, adaptations to premises or equipment, support workers and, if a person is unable to use public transport, a contribution to taxi fares. Types of software support include voice-activated software, Texthelp Read/Write and Inspiration; there is usually provision for training on use of the software. Support workers include a reader for someone who is blind, or a palantypist for a deaf person.
Job applicants who need help with communication at a job interview e.g. an interpreter, should contact Access to Work immediately on receiving notice of a job interview as they will provide support free of charge.
If you are a disabled employee and the support you need has a significant cost associated with it (currently over £1,000) you should apply as a new or current employee to Access to Work. An application to Access to Work needs to be made by you as a disabled member of staff, no one else can apply on your behalf. You can apply to an Access to Work without talking to anyone in the School however, if you need help with your application, you could talk to your HR Partner. Please read the steps for making an application below.
If you are a new member of staff at the School, it is worthwhile to make your first Access to Work application within the first six weeks after starting work here. In these circumstances, Access to Work will be more likely to cover up to 100 percent of the approved costs of your adjustments. If you are working here and you are not a new member of staff, the balance of the cost of adjustments recommended to you by the Access to Work Adviser will be met from a central budget managed by HR Manager, Policy and ER. Neither you or your department will be expected to meet the balance of the cost of adjustments recommended by an Access to Work Adviser.
Once you make an application to Access to Work, a needs assessment is then undertaken by an Access to Work Adviser, who may arrange for an assessment to be undertaken in your office. A copy of a report, setting out the minimum requirements to meet the disability requirements for a three-year period (after which time the case is reviewed) and the estimated cost, will be sent to you. If the report includes approval for the cost of support, the onus is then on your department to purchase the equipment and claim the grant back from Access to Work.
You are advised to discuss with your IT Support any recommended computer equipment or software to ensure compatibility and compliance with the School's systems and suppliers. Your IT Support may also be able to provide appropriate support and training to ensure that you get the most out of the adjustments as quickly as possible.
If your employment ends, the School can either keep the equipment or agree that you can take the equipment with you. Your department must however notify Access to Work, as part of the grant may need to be refunded. Any equipment remaining at LSE should be given to HR Division.
For more information on the Access to Work scheme, please refer to the Managing Disability Toolkit.
Steps for making an access to work application
1. The applicant must be a disabled person as defined by the Disability Discrimination Act: "someone with a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long term (i.e. likely to last for 12 months or longer), adverse effect on his/her ability to carry out normal day to day activities".
2. The disabled person must contact Access to Work to make an application. The contact details are as follows:
First Contact Team Leader
Access to Work Operational Support Unit
Nine Elms Lane
London SW95 9BH
Telephone: 0345 268 8489
Textphone: 020 8426 3133
Fax: 020 8426 3134
3. In most cases, the application details will be taken over the telephone.
4. Job applicants who need help with communication at a job interview, should contact Access to Work immediately on receiving notice of a job interview.
5. Access to Work will then send a form to the applicant which should be signed and returned with a copy of the job description and/or letter of job confirmation, plus any other supporting documentation that is requested at the time of application. If applicable, the supporting documentation must include the Health & Safety Display Screen Risk Assessment report.
6. The applicant will then be assigned to an Access to Work Adviser, who will contact the applicant to agree the best way forward. The applicant can request an assessor who has specialist knowledge of their disability.
7. The Access to Work Adviser will carry out a work place assessment that is separate to the usual Health and Safety checks that need to be carried out in the workplace for all staff, which includes checks on lighting, chair height, PC screen, and keyboard.
8. Following the assessment, the Access to Work Adviser will inform the applicant in writing of the outcome. If the application is successful, the letter will provide details of the approved support and the agreed funding and enclose a claim form, which should be completed and returned with a copy of the paid invoices. The total time from application to reimbursement of costs should be within 60 working days.
Updated: GK -1/7/11