The iCAN Network has been set up to support and provide a voice for colleagues with disabilities. Its aim is to help colleagues access all the information and services the IPO offers promoting equality for all. We raise awareness of issues faced by individuals and groups due to their impairment and help to improve access, facilities, benefits all employees, customers and users of our services.
Things we’re most proud of this year
Guide Dogs Visit
We raised awareness of the issues faced by Guide Dog Owners and provided guidance on how to approach individuals who rely upon their dog.
Rules of engagement were covered and behaviour around the dogs in and out of harness
We held discussion around the training of the dog, the cost, time and expense of training, the boarding, health and wellbeing of the dog and how they match the dog with the individual to ensure a suitable partnership.
We provided a series of stands with leaflets and information relating to the various types of hearing loss that affect individuals. Information on where to obtain help and assistance to receive tests, hearing aids and other helpful devices for individuals or family members.
Two colleagues provided training classes around their hearing impairments. It has enabled iCAN to take on some ideas and suggestions on how to improve accessibility at meetings by trying to limit the number of people in attendance, provide round tables where possible, summaries regularly and always face the individual without masking your face to enable lip reading. We are also looking at providing speech text upon videos produced along with sign language.
Sports day for disabled (have a go day)
We held a have a Staff have a go sporting event which included boccia, football and goalball. The games had been designed or adapted to allow individuals with impairments to participate. We held Visually Impaired football and Goal Ball. Staff were able to participate in blindfolds and play with a ball adapted with ball bearings, or bells so they could hear the ball. It was fun and proved popular but very challenging having to rely upon you other senses. We participated in Boccia, a game for all abilities which proved to be very enjoyable and competitive yet extremely friendly.
Diabetes Awareness talk – “One bloody drop”
Paul Coker, founder of the website “One Bloody Drop”, provided an inspirational and informative talk about the challenges he has faced since his childhood diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 1977. He shared his experiences of how he overcame obstacles and the personal challenges he set himself.
Review and Contribute towards Policies such as Disability Leave and accessibility for all in relation to training provisions.
We have been at the forefront of improving current working policies by working closely with a variety of Networks, TUS reps and business reviewing and aiding implementation relating to accessibility for recruitment.
We worked with HR to review and suggest improvements for the Disability Leave policy and guidance notes for managers
We have worked with our Talent and Learning team to make learning for all more accessible.
We have worked with HR, IT and Accommodation to centralise recording the number of staff with adjustments such as specialist ergonomic furniture, agreed reduction of targets or reduction of hours and or specialist IT software or equipment.
Things we’ll concentrate on next year
Improvements to accessibility for all.
Improve awareness of the disability passports and check to make sure they are fit for purpose.
Paint the office Purple -accessible shopping and service providers day. Purple Tuesday: Second Tuesday in November. It is a day for organisations and disabled people to celebrate the purple pound and positive change together.
Provide another Disability Friendly Sports Day
3rdDecember celebrate International day for persons with disabilities by providing a blog and or video to help promote the excellent work our colleagues produce and celebrate their ability not the “DIS”ability.