Code of Practice
of People with
CO. ROSCOMMON V.E.C.
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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:
(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.
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.
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.
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
- 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
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
- 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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