Code of Practice

By Warren Green,2014-05-13 13:51
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Code of Practice

    Code of Practice

    for the


    of People with




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    1. The purpose of this Code of Practice is to provide a clear statement of this policy

    in relation to people with disabilities and to provide guidance for Vocational

    Education Committees in relation to their employment. The Code applies to all

    staff employed in Co. Roscommon V.E.C.

Employment Equality Act, 1998

    2. In the Employment Equality Act, 1998, “disability” is defined as follows:

    “„disability‟ means-

    (a) the total or partial absence of a person‟s bodily or mental functions, including

    the absence of a part of a person‟s body,

    (b) the presence in the body of organisms causing, or likely to cause, chronic

    disease or illness,

    (c) the malfunction, malformation or disfigurement of a part of a person‟s body,

    (d) a condition or malfunction which results in a person learning differently from a

    person without the condition or malfunction, or

    (e) a condition, illness or disease which affects a person‟s thought processes,

    perception of reality, emotions or judgment or which results in disturbed


    and shall be taken to include a disability which exists at present, or which

    previously existed but no longer exists, or which may exist in the future or which is

    imputed to a person.”.

3. Section 16(3) of the Act provides that


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(a) For the purposes of this Act, a person who has a disability shall not be

    regarded as other than fully competent to undertake, and fully capable of

    undertaking, any duties if, with the assistance of special treatment or

    facilities, such person would be fully competent to undertake, and be fully

    capable of undertaking, those duties.

(b) An employer shall do all that is reasonable to accommodate the needs of

    a person who has a disability by providing special treatment or facilities to

    which paragraph (a) relates.

(c) A refusal or failure to provide for special treatment or facilities to which

    paragraph (a) relates shall not be deemed reasonable unless such

    provision would give rise to a cost, other than a nominal cost, to the


    4. It will be noted that the definition covers a very wide range of disabilities, so wide,

    indeed, as to render misleading most generalised statements or assumptions

    about the capabilities or limitations of people with disabilities in employment. While

    some disabilities are obvious (e.g. as in the case of wheelchair users), others are

    not readily apparent (e.g. epilepsy or mental ill-health). Furthermore, the same

    disability can vary in its impact and affect people differently. Finally, while some

    people with disabilities may require special assistance and/or equipment to realise

    their full potential, most can be fully effective employees without special help.

    Accordingly, policy and its implementation should avoid the use of stereotypes and

    every person with or without a disability should always be treated as an individual

    with equal rights. Consideration of any question concerning the employment of

    people with disabilities should proceed from a position of presumed ability.

    5. Co. Roscommon V.E.C. notes that there is an extensive range of financial and

    advisory supports available from other state agencies. In the context of the Code,

    Vocational Education Committees should keep themselves informed of the range

    of services available as a resource and such information should be available to

    any staff member with a disability.

    Policy Statement

    6. Co. Roscommon V.E.C. is committed to implement a policy of equal opportunity

    for people with disabilities and, in particular, are committed to ensuring that

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     people with disabilities, as people with abilities, should have access to the

    full range of recruitment and career development opportunities available in

    Vocational Education Committees,


    - people with disabilities are facilitated to give effective performance in the

    jobs which they hold or to which they aspire and are not disadvantaged by

    reason of having a disability, and

    - all reasonable accommodations are made to meet the requirements to

    which some disabilities give rise so as to maximise access to employment

    in the Vocational Education Committees for people with disabilities and to

    enable all staff to make the fullest possible contribution to the work of Co.

    Roscommon V.EC.

7. Co. Roscommon V.E.C. is committed to play its full part in ensuring that the

    Governments objective of a minimum of 3% of total staff in relation to the

    employment of people with disabilities in the public service is met and maintained.


    8. People with disabilities are entitled, as of right, to apply for any post in Co.

    Roscommon V.E.C. for which they are qualified and to have their applications

    considered on the basis of their abilities, qualifications and suitability for the work

    in question. Furthermore, it is recognised that people with disabilities which, in the

    past, would have been regarded as rendering them unsuitable for any or most

    types of employment are now in a position, through the use of advanced

    technology and other means, to overcome the restrictions resulting from their

    disabilities and the environment in which they live and work and to engage in a far

    wider range of employments. Co. Roscommon V.EC. will maintain contact with

    organisations representing people with disabilities to ensure that a high level of

    awareness of job opportunities is available in the V.E.C.

    9. Before a person with a disability is refused employment in the V.E.C. solely on the

    grounds of his/her disability following medical examination he/she is entitled to

    seek a second opinion from a medical specialist who would be appointed and paid

    by the V.E.C. for this purpose. The candidate should be advised of his/her

    entitlement and a reasonable period of time should be allowed for this process.

    10. In deciding whether candidates comply with health requirements specified in

    qualifications for V.E.C. positions, Roscommon V.E.C. will ensure that decisions

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are based on objective considerations related only to the core functional needs of

    the post concerned, rather than on assumptions concerning the limitations

    imposed by a particular disability.

     11. The following guidelines apply in relation to recruitment

    - No obstacle should be placed in the way of people with disabilities

    applying for posts in the V.E.C.

    - Through contacts with organisations which deal with disability Co.

    Roscommon V.E.C. will actively encourage people with disabilities to

    consider the V.E.C. as a career choice.

    - Co. Roscommon V.E.C. will make all reasonable efforts to provide such

    facilities and equipment as are necessary to enable applicants with

    disabilities to participate in competitions for posts.

    - Interview boards will be briefed on disability awareness, on the V.E.C.‟s

    equal opportunities policy and on the Employment Equality Act, 1998 and

    should be given a copy of this Code.

- In specifying the duties of officer and non-officer posts the V.E.C. will

    avoid specifying non-essential requirements which could have the effect of

    excluding people with disabilities. Where the suitability of a particular

    candidate with a disability is at issue, the V.E.C. will also have regard to

    any flexibility which might reasonably be employed to facilitate a person

    with the disability in question, e.g. re-allocation of certain tasks where a

    person with a disability may not be in a position to perform certain

    functions attaching to the post in question.

- Where the V.E.C. forms an initial opinion that a candidate is unable, by

    virtue of a disability, to properly discharge the duties of a post, the

    candidate in question will be afforded an opportunity to respond to that

    initial opinion before a final decision is made.


     Advertisements, job descriptions, person specifications and application

    forms will be monitored to ensure that they do not discriminate against

    persons with disabilities.

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     Information, application forms and job descriptions in print and other

    formats will be provided in a way which is encouraging to potential

    applicants with disabilities.


    Integration into the Workplace

    12. It must be recognised that some people with disabilities may encounter greater

    difficulties than other members of staff in adjusting to a new workplace.

    Accordingly, particular attention is required when placing staff with disabilities and

    when monitoring their performance in the initial stages of employment. It should be

    noted that disability varies in degree and kind and special treatment may, for

    example, mean in the case of people with mental health difficulties the provision of

    psychosocial support, particularly during the initial period of employment through

    contact between the person and the Vocational Education Committee. Also the

    development of personal assistance services (e.g. personal assistants, job

    coaches) would enable people with certain disabilities to integrate more fully into

    the workforce and could help improve their job satisfaction and performance.

    13. Good communication is a key requirement in overcoming any difficulties which

    may arise. It is an obvious fact, but one which may be overlooked in practice, that

    the best source of information about disability and what that might imply in the

    workplace is the person with the disability. People with disabilities should be

    recognised as experts in their own lives. Accordingly, full and frank discussion of

    any problems which some staff with disabilities may encounter in the workplace is

    essential if difficulties are to be satisfactorily resolved. It is important, therefore,

    that superiors and officers in Personnel Departments who deal with staff with

    disabilities should overcome any nervousness or reluctance which they may feel

    about discussing a person‟s needs arising from disability directly with him or her.

    14. The following guidelines apply in relation to the integration of staff with

    disabilities into the workplace


    - Where the Personnel Department is aware that a new staff member has a

    disability, a meeting will be arranged to discuss her/his initial placement,

    any problems which s/he might encounter resulting from the disability and

    any reasonable accommodations which may be required to optimise

    performance on the job.

    - In deciding on the placement of a new staff member with a disability,

    regard should be had to any particular issues which may require to be

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    addressed. For example, staff with mobility problems should, where The person who will be the new staff member‟s supervisor should be fully

    possible, be located close to accessible toilets and ramped entrances. informed of the staff member‟s circumstances relating to his/her work and

     should be involved in any discussions concerning any difficulties which -might arise and reasonable accommodations which might be required.

    (The right to medical confidentiality must, of course, be respected.)

    - Training courses for supervisory staff should contain material on

    workplace disability issues. General training to promote better

    understanding of all types of physical, sensory and mental disabilities

    should be provided as part of the ongoing training programme of all

    grades of staff to underpin a positive culture. The assistance of an

    external appropriate agency or agencies, e.g. National Rehabilitation

    Board, the Irish Council of People with Disabilities, etc. may be sought, as



     The co-operation and support of co-workers is essential to the successful

    induction and integration of any new member of staff. The Personnel

    Department and line supervisors should promote positive peer support for

    members of staff with disabilities.

    - The Personnel Department/Supervisor should maintain regular contact

    with the new staff member to facilitate his/her integration into the

    workforce, particularly in the initial stages of employment.

    Career Development

    15. Staff with disabilities must have the same opportunities as other staff to develop

    full and rewarding careers in the V.E.C.

    16. The following guidelines apply in relation to career development -

    - In assigning duties to staff with disabilities, care should be taken to ensure,

    to the greatest extent possible, that they are given the same opportunities

    as other staff to acquire the range of skills and experience necessary for

    future career development.

    - While it is appreciated that some staff with disabilities may not be able to

    undertake the duties of all posts in their grade, every effort should be

    made to afford them the same opportunities as other staff to broaden their

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    experience through staff mobility arrangements and provision of Staff with disabilities should be offered the same access to training as

    reasonable accommodations. other staff and measures should be taken to ensure that they are not

     inhibited from availing of such opportunities by problems of physical or

    -sensory access to training centres or conference rooms or by the format of

    training materials, etc.

    - Staff with disabilities should be positively encouraged to apply for

    promotion where it appears that they may be reluctant to do so because of

    their disability.

    - Staff with disabilities should not be excluded from promotion solely

    because their disability may prevent them carrying out the full range of

    duties in the higher grade; the criterion should be whether they would be

    capable of successfully undertaking the duties of a reasonable number of

    the posts in the higher grade.

Retention in Employment

    17. Any staff member can acquire a disability at any stage during his/her working life

    or may have a disability which is progressive in nature. Where a staff member

    acquires a disability or where a staff member‟s disability is progressive, every

    reasonable effort should be made to retain that person in employment. This could

    include measures such as job restructuring, rehabilitation, re-training, re-location

    and flexible working arrangements.

Accommodation and Equipment

    18. It is the policy of Co. Roscommon V.E.C. to ensure that, insofar as is practicable,

    the working environment is such as to minimise problems which staff with

    disabilities may face. While most staff with disabilities can operate effectively

    without requiring modifications to their working environment, special facilities may

    be required by some. However, even where assistive devices are not required the

    provision of such devices can greatly enhance the comfort, efficiency and job

    satisfaction of the staff concerned.

19. The key to progress in this regard is sensitivity to the barriers which particular

    physical environments place in the way of people with certain disabilities and a

    planned approach to their progressive removal. Particular importance attaches to

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providing access for people with mobility or sensory problems but, of course,

    barriers also include attitudes, services and communication issues.

    20. Co. Roscommon V.E.C. will acquaint itself with the range of assistive devices and

    equipment available to assist people with disabilities. These devices include, for

    example, telephones that flash and have volume control, voice-activated

    synthesiser software and computer screen enlargement software and customised

    work stations.

    21. The following guidelines apply in relation to accommodation and equipment - Co. Roscommon V.E.C. will take the requirements of people with

    disabilities fully into account in their assessment of premises for rental


    - Co. Roscommon V.E.C. will consider what alterations might reasonably

    be carried out to their premises in order to improve accessibility. It is

    acknowledged, however, that progress might be constrained by the wide

    variations in the premises occupied by Roscommon V.E.C. and by

    financial considerations.

    - In undertaking any significant structural alteration to existing buildings Co.

    Roscommon V.E.C. will ensure that the works include such alterations as

    are necessary to bring the buildings concerned up to the standard of

    accessibility, and provide adequate facilities, for people with disabilities, as

    required by Part M of the Building Regulations.

    - Officers in Co. Roscommon V.E.C. with responsibility for accommodation

    should, in the course of their normal duties, specifically note any access

    problems or other features of the premises occupied by their staff which

    may cause problems for people with disabilities, with a view to the

    progressive elimination of such problems.

    - Co. Roscommon V.E.C. will consult staff with disabilities about assistive

    devices which might enhance their efficiency and effectiveness in

    performing their duties and adopt a positive approach to reasonable

    requests for such equipment.

    Safety, Health and Welfare at Work

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22. Specific provision is required in the V.E.C. Safety Statement to address the safety

    requirements of persons with disabilities.

23. Co. Roscommon V.E.C. will provide training for staff in relation to matters of

    health and safety. Such training must take account of individual capabilities and

    the needs of particularly sensitive risk groups.

24. Persons with disabilities may be particularly at risk in certain working conditions.

    All appropriate safeguards must be taken by a V.E.C. to protect the safety, health

    and welfare of members of staff with disabilities. Places of work generally should

    be arranged to take account of staff with disabilities. Attention must be paid to

    doors, passageways and stairs, sanitary provisions as well as work locations used

    directly by staff with disabilities.

25. The V.E.C. is duty bound to take account of the possibility of emergencies, e.g. fire,

    and to provide counter-measures, arrangements, facilities and trained personnel in

    proportion to the risk presented. The V.E.C. will provide a copy of their Safety

    Statement outlining their safety management programme to all members of staff

    with disabilities. As a matter of good practice staff with disabilities should be

    consulted in the development of the programme. The V.E.C. will also provide

    information relating to the safety and health risks, the results of risk assessment

    and protective and preventative measures taken in the workplace.

26. The V.E.C. will re-assess the risks in the workplace environment for all members

    of staff with disabilities including those who have acquired a disability. The risk

    assessment must establish if a particular disability could be hazardous to oneself

    or co-workers while at work or performing any particular task in the workplace and

    whether the job entails any risk to a person with a disability. If risks are found to be

    present the V.E.C. will

     eliminate those risks, and


    - put in place measures to protect the health and safety of the staff member.

    Measures to protect the member of staff could include

    - changing the type of work;

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