We are Disability Confident

At Suffolk County Council we are committed to providing an open environment where disabled people are included and valued.

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As a Disability Confident employer, we recognise the valuable role disabled people play in our success.

Being a Disability Confident employer means that as an employer we meet set criteria under the scheme and that we encourage applicants with a disability to apply for roles within the organisation.

One of our commitments is to interview all applicants who declare a disability/long term illness that meet the minimum essential criteria for a job vacancy and to consider them on their abilities.

Visit the Disability Confident campaign to view more information.

Learn more about how we support our staff by taking a reading their stories below.

Disability Confident campaign MB 1

"I was born with a disability to my hands that affects my keyboard use, writing, and also my eyesight affects screenwork. My manager sat with me at my desk to gain an understanding of how this impacts me. We agreed I would arrange a workplace assessment, and this identified equipment that would make it easier for me to use my laptop. My manager supported the outcome and obtained approval to authorise the order of a suitable keyboard and mouse, 2 larger screens, Dragon dictation software and arranged for me to be allocated a fixed desk. We also agreed that I would not take my laptop to meetings and training as its keyboard and screen are very hard for me to use.

 

The equipment was only part of the solution though. I had a new line manager and head of service following a restructure and their management style, coupled with their awareness of mental health issues turned out to be a massive benefit. It became clear that I lacked self-believe and didn’t have the confidence to push myself into work situations that challenged me – that was holding me back. They supported me with this aspect and now coming to work feels totally different. I feel empowered, confident in meetings with care providers and the equipment provided is supporting me to make a difference."

Disability Confident campaign MHK

"My health condition is called ulcerative colitis, which is an inflammatory bowel disease and is causes inflammation, swelling and ulceration in the intestines. The condition is life-long and may flare up unpredictably. Normally I keep my condition under control with prescribed medication, but at times it can really affect my life, as it started to do in December 2016. I was on leave over Christmas that year and it was then that my ulcerative colitis flared up worse than it ever had before. Not the best of holidays!

By mid-January 2017 it was affecting my life and work so much I had to visit my GP and get signed off from work. By 1 February, I had been admitted to hospital as my condition could no longer be managed at home. I kept my manager at SCC informed by text, and she was incredibly supportive. We were entering the second phase of the ACS restructure at that point, but my manager advised me to relax about it and concentrate on getting better. I received a lovely get-well card from my work team and my team senior manager visited me in my second week in hospital.

I was incredibly weakened by my illness, losing lots of weight and strength, and it was then that I realised that my condition truly is a disability. Even walking down the hospital corridor a short way left me weak and breathless. Finally after two weeks as an in-patient I was on some medication that began to quell the flare-up and get me back to normal functioning. I left hospital just in time for Valentine’s Day, partly because I kept on at them!

As I was in my second year of service at SCC, I was entitled to two months’ sick pay at full rate, and a further two months at half rate. I was by now fully committed to putting my health first, and was concerned about dropping my pay but needing to feel better. My manager kindly visited me at home after I’d been back for about a week, and showed me the documents about the restructure, and we discussed how I might be able to return to work on a phased basis.

Together we planned a really beneficial and achievable phased return, that would see me returning for two afternoons a week, working up gradually to full attendance after eight weeks. At all times I had access to my manager, and she would check on me and my health frequently. My manager also granted me disability leave for a day every 6 weeks to attend hospital for intravenous infusion of my medication. I was able to start considering what roles I might apply for in the forthcoming restructure, and after being back at work for a further two months, I secured a new role in the department. Without the constant support of my manager, I may not have had the self-confidence or determination to achieve that. For that I’m very grateful."

More information on employment and inflammatory bowel disease from Crohn’s & Colitis UK can be found here: https://bit.ly/36H9uYo

FACEBOOK LINKED MARTIN 8

"In terms of support, I’m hard of hearing and my manager and the organisation have provided me with a really useful streaming device that enables me to use the phone more easily. Also, my colleagues are very supportive and tolerant. It can be frustrating having to keep repeating yourself, but they never show it. They will try and face me when they talk, come to my desk rather than talk from a distance and are thoughtful when arranging 1-2-1 meetings to avoid noisy places, like the coffee platform where I really struggle.

The whole team even went on a ½ day awareness course with Sensing Change, who are our local Social Work Practice specialising in supporting people with sign and/or hearing loss."

TWITTER STEVEN EMERY 8

"I have significant sight and hearing loss (and mobility, and mental health issues). How is life? In a word, difficult, and certainly not getting any easier, but I do my best to cope. I've had some amazing support from Sensing Change, without their support I'm not sure where I'd be.

Just getting the bus can be stressful, and I've lost count of the number of times it's been a close thing crossing the road! Reasonable adjustments in SCC, e.g. larger laptop, sitting near the light etc. have at least enabled me to do my best in the workplace. Navigating the building I can just about manage but travelling elsewhere isn't so easily managed. Do others understand? No, not always, but why would they?

I wear two hearing aids and now carry a white stick. Previously I was so sure this singled me out as "vulnerable", "deficient" or simply somehow less of a person, that I'd resisted any visible sign of my disability for years and was in denial, albeit really struggling. However, I've received support from the organisation to turn this attitude into something far more positive; to something approaching "independence", and "ability" with even perhaps even a touch of "defiance". I no longer feel I must hide or pretend to others, even if the short symbol cane stays (for now) in my briefcase!"

FACEBOOK LINKEDIN LISBETH 8

"I am proud to be the chair of the Mental Health Network at Suffolk County Council. The support and encouragement the staff networks get from the organisation means we are able to run campaigns for all staff. And can influence decision making and policies at senior levels.

I was diagnosed with depression in the past, and though I have now recovered, I still have days when I am affected by symptoms of depression. Despite of this, I am able to perform at a high level at work because I have a very supportive team and a manager, who understands my circumstances."

Why not learn more about our fantastic staff networks, including the Mental Health Network.