The Archives & Records Association (UK & Ireland) seeks to ensurethat its membership, the holdings that archives acquire and manage, andthe users whom we serve reflect the diversity of our society.
Between 2012 and 2015 the ARA did a substantial amount of work around disability, including the creation of our Diversity Action Plan Disability.
We also put together two case studies relating to current practice in the employment of people with disabilities within the archives, conservation and records management sectors. We will look at producing more. The two case studies are here:
We undertook a survey to benchmark the numbers of people within the archives and records sector who consider themselves to have a disability (as defined by the Equality Act 2010) in 2012-2013.
Access to Work Scheme
This is a major UK government scheme designed to help employers meet the extra cost of employing someone with a disability, should those costs arise (we are investigating to see if equivalents exist in the Republic of Ireland). Willingness to meet such costs can be key to the successful employment of someone with a disability, and the UK government scheme was designed to remove the problem of an employee with a disability potentially being dependent on colleagues.
Access to work can provide assistance in four main areas
- Assistance with travel costs to work
- Alterations to premises
- Aids and equipment
- Human support
Access to work covers physical and sensory disabilities, mental health issues, learning difficulties and intellectual disabilities.
The costs of Access to Work for the employer depend on the length of time the employee has been employed. For new employees, Access to Work covers 100% of the costs of adjustments if the employer/employee apply for assistance within the first six weeks of the job. The longer someone has been employed by an organisation, the more the employer is expected to contribute. If you are in the UK, you can find updated advice at https://www.gov.uk/access-to-work/overview or from your local job centre as/when the need arises.
Archives and records management teams that have used the scheme have generally found it to be a very workable system, helps them to keep or provide employment to a colleague with a disability, and that it can be used to overcome the extra financial challenges that some disability adaptations might bring.
Disability Placement Providers
One way of increasing disability representation in your workforce is to offer voluntary placements to candidates with disabilities. Many charities exist to help marginalised people find work and they look to work in partnership with employment / work experience providers. If you would like to offer a placement to someone with a disability the following organisations would be pleased to help:
Tŷ Gwydr / The Greenhouse,
1 Trevelyan Terrace,
High Street, Bangor,
Gwynedd LL57 1AX
Tel/Ffôn: 01248 361 392