Terms of Reference

In March and April 2015, NADSN’s Founding Steering Group worked on and agreed our Terms of Reference. These were amended in April 2016 and will remain in effect until Spring 2017 when they will be reviewed.


  1. Our Mission – Who We Are
  2. Our Aims and Objectives
  3. Our Membership
  4. Our Structure and Mode of Operation
  5. Administration

  1. Our Mission – Who We Are
  • A super-network that connects and represents disabled staff networks
    • A collective platform to share experiences and good practice, and to examine challenges and opportunities
    • Focussed on the tertiary education sector (i.e. universities, colleges, etc)
    • Open to any individual and organisation (public, private, social or voluntary) interested in the equality of disabled staff
  1. Our Aims and Objectives
  • Promote disability equality and campaign for disabled staff networks to be supported in the workplace
  • Promote the interests of disabled staff on a national level
  • Challenge stereotypes by endorsing the Social Model of Disability, promoting a positive image of disabled people and eliminating the deficit/medical model
  • Raise awareness of non-visible impairments ensuring inclusion of people whose conditions/differences are hidden such as mental health conditions, learning differences, HIV, etc.
  • Organise and deliver accessible events that can bring disabled staff and disability equality allies together
  • Support relevant research projects, policies and guidance for disabled staff, managers, higher education institutions (HEIs), further education institutions (FEIs) and Government agencies
  • Provide opportunities for the personal and professional development of disabled staff within a HEI/FEI setting
  • Identify high-profile disabled staff at HEIs and FEIs as role models
  • Link with disabled students, particularly at postgraduate and doctoral levels
  • Create and maintain an internet site with information, resources, documents, blogs and useful links for disabled staff in accessible formats
  • Attract sponsors and hosts for conferences and special-interest meetings open to all disabled staff and relevant managers to attend
  1. Our Membership and Allies
  1. Our Structure and Mode of Operation
  • NADSN will have a Patron, an elected Chair, elected Vice Chairs (FE and HE), and a core leadership team elected from the membership to be known as the Steering Committee
  • The Patron will be well-known and respected in the disability field helping NADSN publically and particularly through the media
  • The Chair will lead the Steering Committee, represent NADSN externally and will be a person with lived experience
  • Vice Chairs will have responsibility for taking forward pieces of work agreed from the overarching themes of work in NADSN
  • Core Leadership Team roles will include Secretary, Treasurer, Regional Leads, Events Lead, Communications Lead, and other roles to be agreed by the Steering Committee
  • Any member of NADSN will be eligible to be nominated to any role for a term of two years
  • There will be a limit on the number of terms to two that someone can be re-elected to the same role
  • NADSN members can be co-opted into working groups based on their expertise and experience
  • NADSN will have an Advisory Group to agree and oversee our strategy and goals and to request and review quarterly progress reports from the Steering Committee. The Advisory Group will be made up of members of the Founding Steering Group
  • Members actively serving in leadership roles will not be involved in the Advisory Group
  • The Chair of the Advisory Group will be elected from amongst its own members, for a term of two years, with two possible re-elections. New members can be co-opted in
  • NASDN will create and support Local Hubs. Local Hubs of membership activity, in specific geographical areas, will make it easier for people to physically meet up and to work together on issues specific to their geographical location
  • NASDN will have Working Groups (WGs) that will have various functions. For instance, WGs can support the Steering Committee (SC) and the Advisory Group (AG). WGs can also have responsibility for a separate project under one of the themes of NADSN, but not covered by either the SC or the AG
  1. Administration
  • The Steering Committee will meet a minimum of two times per year one meeting in the north and the other south of the UK
  • A quorum of the Steering Committee will be formed with the attendance of five members at meetings
  • Meeting papers will be circulated to the Steering Committee five days before meetings by the Secretary

Drafted and finalised by Jacquie Nicholson (University of Edinburgh) and Mona Patel (Manchester Metropolitan University) on 29th April 2015. Amended in April 2016.

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