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2013 National Disabled Members' Conference
2 July 2013

This Conference recognises that the Department for Work and Pensions Access to Work Scheme has been vital to many of our disabled members’ reasonable adjustment needs in public service workplaces. An adequate package of support to meet the cost of adjustments can play a significant part in disabled people’s employability, it can affect career prospects and it can go some way to ensure disabled people’s competence and productivity levels are competitive alongside their non disabled peers. Whist government claims it is making changes to the scheme to make it more appropriate and responsive to disabled workers’ job needs, this region has cause for concern that budgets are being reconfigured to the detriment of some members, leaving them at risk of perceived poorer work performance and an increase in the use of capability procedures against them. Inadequate AtW adjustment budgets is having a marked impact on deaf and hearing impaired members who are allocated an inadequate allowance that will only meet the fees for trainee services such as sign language interpreters, note-takers and lip speakers rather than funds to meet the cost of fully trained, appropriately skilled and qualified professionals who expect to receive commensurate remuneration.

This Conference instructs the National Disabled Members’ Committee to:

1) Inform UNISON’s public service cuts campaign by preparing a briefing for the NEC’s Policy Development and Campaigns Committee about the impact on disabled members, especially deaf and hearing impaired members’ job prospects due to the manipulation of Access to Work Scheme budgets as part of the Government’s austerity policies

2) Make representations to the Department of Works and Pensions about the damage being caused to members’ employment prospects as a direct result of changes to the of AtW budgets, with particular emphasis on the plight of deaf and hearing impaired members, with demands that it reviews the level of support made available to enable disabled and deaf members the resources to compete in the workplace on equal terms and without disabling barriers.