The National Association of Disabled Staff Networks (NADSN) is a super-network that connects and represents disabled staff networks at organisations across the United Kingdom. NADSN exists as a collective platform to share experiences, develop good practice, and to examine challenges and opportunities for disabled people in the workplace. Focussed on the tertiary education sector, we also have membership from the NHS, public, private and third sector, undertaking a variety of occupational roles; all committed to equality, diversity and inclusion of disabled staff. Disabled staff form an integral part of the workforce in HE.
The paper entitled “COVID-19 Post-Lockdown: Perspectives, Implications and Strategies for Disabled Staff” was developed under very tight timelines as English universities are going back quicker than the other nations, by way of a national membership consultation and peer review by NADSN’s member networks.
NADSN has been very concerned about the development of national policy up to this time and for moving out of the COVID-19 lockdown stage as national policy has been silent in relation to disabled staff apart from in presenting a narrow, medicalised view. We have structured this paper within a social model of disability and the sentiments expressed in the UN Convention of the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD) in considering the current issues and setting out our 12 recommendations. This paper discusses NADSN’s observations about the lived experiences of Disabled people during COVID-19. Secondly, it moves to outline COVID-19 and the changing workplace. The paper then moves to a broad discussion concerning safe working practices and policies as we move out of lockdown and beyond.
Dr Hamied Haroon, Chair of NADSN said “this paper is a landmark contribution towards COVID-19 policy formation around university and staff arrangements particularly for disabled staff employed in universities across the UK. NADSN has pulled together the voices, observations and recommendations of disabled employees throughout the country. We are an integral part of the working life and communities in universities across the country, this paper will ensure that we are no longer an afterthought in promoting diverse workforces in higher education.”
“COVID-19 Post-Lockdown: Perspectives, Implications and Strategies for Disabled Staff” can be found on Google Docs here.
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