Access to Work (ATW)

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2009 National Disabled Members' Conference
9 July 2009
Carried as Amended

Conference is concerned that Access to Work (ATW), a valuable resource available to disabled members is not well publicised or where information is available this is often incomplete or misunderstood. ATW allows disabled staff and newly disabled staff to receive appropriate levels of funding in the process of securing a job, and in providing equitable working conditions for people with disabilities once in employment. This applies to all new employees and staff in employment and who become disabled.

Conference, Individuals with disabilities can be disadvantaged in obtaining jobs, retaining their employment or gaining promotion due to the perceptions of employers regarding disability and levels of ability. Further when a person with a disability is in employment poor knowledge and understanding of internal policies and procedures by managers and staff creates environments where disabled people experience discrimination.

Conference UNISON has provided guidance to branches on ATW but this is over 9,000 words long, this creates access issues not only for individuals needing support but also for stewards who are the main source of information for our members. It is quite complex and in order to access this process often requires from support from the employer. Conference even in organisations where ATW is available there can be large discrepancies about the level of availability due to poor knowledge, skills and training, this further disadvantages our disabled members.

Conference disabled members need to know about ATW, especially in the current climate where organisations are looking to streamline or reduce its workforce as disabled staff are potentially the first place employers will look to make efficiencies.

Conference guidance needs to be developed into a format which is both easily accessed and understood by all to ensure that employers and disabled members can make full use of this funding stream. Conference therefore asks the National Disabled Members Committee to:

1.Conduct a survey of branches to determine the level of knowledge and awareness of both branches and stewards in promoting this valuable service

2.Gather information on good practice that may be available

3.Work with relevant bodies to develop existing information into more user

friendly guidance which clearly shows the ATW process with clear step by

step instructions.