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.
Our Terms of Reference stipulate that our Patron will be well-known and respected in the disability field. Anna’s tireless campaigning on disability rights, the respect she has earned as an eminent academic and lawyer on the international stage, being the director of a world-class university centre on disability studies, and being an influential leader with lived experience, are just some of the qualities that make Anna the ideal candidate as our Patron. You can find out more about Anna on her profile page here.
We envisage that the role of the Patron would be to promote the aims of NADSN, provide credibility to our cause, raise awareness of the Association with people where it will count, offer guidance to the Chair and the Steering Committee, and be prepared to support occasional ‘high profile’ events.
We are deeply honoured that Anna has taken on this role and we very much look forward to working with her.
NADSN (@nadsn_uk) is delighted to be a partner with Professor Gareth Pender (@garrypender) and Professor Kate Sang (@katesang) at Heriot Watt University in an innovative project: Disability Inclusive Science Careers (DISC). This is an exciting project funded by the EPSRC (@EPSRC) via the Inclusion Matters call and we will be collaborating closely bringing the experiences of our members and contributing to each stage. Our own experiences suggest that the DISC project has the potential to effect positive change in academics’ working conditions in the sciences and possibly beyond.
Professor Sang presented her earlier research into Disability and Academic Careers at NADSN’s 3rd Annual Conference in 2017 at the University of Edinburgh. Dr Hamied Haroon, Chair of NADSN, stated: “Kate’s work and findings connected all of us emotionally.” Accessibility for disabled University staff, as Kate’s research showed, is about workplace relationships as well as car parking, it’s about inaccessible lecture theatres, lack of opportunities for promotion and the pressures faced by disabled staff in a competitive environment. Jacquie Nicholson, Vice Chair of NADSN and Regional Lead for Scotland, commented: “NADSN is delighted that this exciting project is highlighting disabled University staff in science careers and we look forward to contributing to positive change.”
Founded in 2016, NADSN is a super-network that connects and represents disabled staff networks. We are a collective platform to share experiences and good practice, and examine challenges and opportunities, focussed on the tertiary education sector but open to any individual and organisation with an interest in the equality of disabled staff https://nadsn-uk.org/news/
Our Chair, Dr Hamied Haroon (@HHHotWheels), is overwhelmed to be nominated in this year’s National Diversity Awards (@ndawards) for the “Positive Role Model Award – Disability”! Hamied was nominated by the amazing Jane Cordell (@CordellJane) and extraordinary Kate Nash OBE (@KateNashOBE)!
If you would like to endorse Hamied’s nomination please visit this page to vote! Nominations and voting will close on 9th June.
Dr Hamied Haroon (@HHHotWheels) was invited as the guest speaker during the afternoon tea reception for the Snowdon Trust (@SnowdonTrust) at the House of Lords (@UKHouseofLords) on 28th March 2017. The reception was hosted by Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson (@Tanni_GT) as Patron of the Snowdon Trust!
Hamied was supported by the Snowdon Trust to complete his MSc and start his PhD before entering a fulfilling career as a research scientist at The University of Manchester (@OfficialUoM). Hamied is currently Chair of NADSN!
NADSN offers huge CONGRATULATIONS to Mona Patel (@MonaP23) and her colleagues in the Equality & Diversity Team (@MMUEqualities) at Manchester Metropolitan University (@ManMetUni). They have become the first university to secure GOLD status in the Business Disability Forum’s (@DisabilitySmart) Disability Standard (@DisabilityStand) in 2017! We are so proud of this awesome achievement! More here.
Mona Patel (@MonaP23) is currently the Communications Lead in NADSN’s Steering Committee and is the Equality & Diversity Specialist (@MMUEqualities) at Manchester Metropolitan University (@ManMetUni). Mona is also actively committed to a number of important voluntary roles outside of work.
Mona has GNE Myopathy and recently wrote her personal story for the 7th Edition of the GNE Myopathy Disease Monitoring Programme (GNEM-DMP) Newsletter. NADSN is proud to share Mona’s insightful and inspiring story – please see page 4 here