Microlink at Work
Imagine if everyone in your life who has a disability suddenly just disappeared. Oops forgot the 10% dyslexic. The 13% hearing impaired the 10% with sight loss, diabetes. Arthritis, learning disabilities, depressin, facial disfigurement dementia and Stroke, asthma, Speech impairment wheelchair users, autism, migraines, anxiety, amputations, brain damage, muscular dystrophy before we know it there would be no one left. There are more than 1,000,000,000 people with disabilities worldwide and the number is growing. Yet how many of us When we hear this word disability automatically click to the old assumptions. Nothing to do with me.
It’s just a few wheelchair users, blind people, dogs, doctors and charities take care of them when actually the experience of disability, the unfairness and disadvantage that it brings is very much about me. In fact about all of us about our experience as we go through life and about getting older, which most of us would like to do actually we all know human perfection is rare.
Why bother with the Olympics if everyone can do a 3-minute mile. The real problem is our side tendency to make assumptions about each other on the basis of labels? How we ourselves expect to be treated is changing as we recognise that we all have a basic right to respect, dignity and choice. We need to replace the unacceptable old focus on medical labels with the new focus on individual potential dignity and human rights, the old brain makes assumptions. Everyone just knows that blind people can’t use the Internet.
The new brain asks how could this talented blind researcher do this job if we were clever simply put, impairment is what happens to disability is what we do to you refuse the ramp refused flexitime insist you apply online even though the technology won’t let you refuse to let you use a different keyboard. Assume you are just not worth the bother?
That old click comes through especially loud and clear when you hear the traditional challenge. So, what is the business case for hiring disabled people, but just think nobody asks what is the business case for hiring say Canadians. Everyone knows some can do the job some can’t, some have the talent some don’t, some need adjustments, some do not.
we don’t generalise about 35000000 people labeled Canadians why on Earth do we still generalise about more than 1,000,000,000 people labeled disabled. And yes, I am Canadian
and listen hard to the disabled graduates new brain reaction, but why do you need a business case for treating me properly? Business disability international wants to start a brand-new conversation, which drives a global revolution as disabled and not yet disabled come together to ask how do we replace the old brain with the new and in case you’re wondering who this Canadian is? I’m Susan Scott Parker chief executive of Business Disability International.
Microlink has been at the forefront of the assistive technology industry for over 23 years. During this time, our products and services have enabled a quarter of a million people with health conditions and disabilities to succeed in both education and employment.
MiCase is Microlink’s flagship “end to end” reasonable adjustment service. MiCase is the only service of its kind, developed over years of practical experience alongside leading UK employers. Tried, tested and endorsed as best practice: MiCase ensures the right adjustments, at the right price, with the right controls with experts supporting both the employee and the business to achieve the right outcome.
MiCase has an impressive track record of delivering reductions in absence, increases in productivity and provable returns on investment. The Microlink team are proud of the quality of service, ensuring each customer is treated with dignity, professionalism and care.
Arthritis – Back Pain – Poor Vision – Hearing Loss – Injury/Accidents – Depression – Dyslexia – Stroke – Stress. One in four people have a condition or disability which will affect their work, a statistic no company can afford to ignore.
The combination of our expertise, products and services into a managed reasonable adjustment process with provable results. Tailored around your business, cost effective through return on investment (RoI) and endorsed by industry professionals as best practice.
MiCase - Made to Measure Workplace Adjustment Service
MiCase is designed as a modular range of services to fit into any organisational infrastructure to enhance current processes or provide a comprehensive end to end solution.
End to End Workplace Adjustment ProcessA one-stop solution for the recommendation, supply, implementation and support of workplace adjustments. Business specific approval processes, governance and controls.
- Case Duration under 20 Days (inclusive of assessment, supply and installation)
- Full governance and approval process to suit budgetary controls
- Experts at the front of the process providing consultation and advice
- Average Case Cost < £800 (inclusive of assessment, fast track, provision and case management)
- Dedicated Key Relationship Manager
- In depth Management Information related to condition data, costs, efficiency and return on investment.
- Pan-Disability Assessments
- Pre-agreed catalogue of best value products and services
- Supporting Line Managers through advice, factsheets and consultation
- Designed around existing HR, Health and Safety and Occupational Health functions
- Multiple Stakeholders
- Hidden Cost
- Unnecessary Assessments
- Lengthy Case Durations
- Inconsistent Product Recommendation
- Lack of Line Manager Support
- Medical model of disability
- None or Minimal Data Capture
- Poor Governance and Controls
- No Visible Return on Investment
- High Cost to the Business
- Lack of Transparency
- Minimal/No Evaluation of Improvement
- Single Point of Contact
- Fully Managed Solution
- Experts at the front of the process
- Fast Track Product Supply
- Short Case Durations
- Full Stakeholder Management
- Integration with existing structure
- Reduction in absence levels
- Increase in productivity
- Tangible return on investment
- Compliance with legislation
- Increased retention and engagement
- The most cost effective approach
Practical support for companies of any size or structure. Microlink can enhance existing services or provide help and guidance to begin implementing a new reasonable adjustment process.
Microlink has developed a scalable solution delivered by experts who are passionate about people and the workplace. Over 40% of the Microlink workforce has a disability or learning difficulty of some kind. The company was founded in 1992 due to personal difficulties faced by the Directors in both education and the workplace.
As recognised leaders and experts in our field, Microlink has developed a wide range of services that can define and pin-point any accessibility weaknesses within organisations. Microlink can also guide, train and mentor to solve those issues and instruct how to follow best practice, as well as data capture of the 'real picture' in order to see how to reduce sickness and absence, increase productivity and reduce costs within these vulnerable areas.
The team members within Microlink are proud of the high level of services they offer and ensure each customer is treated as an individual with dignity, professionalism and care.
Microlink has supported approximately 250,000 people within the UK. Via our international offices in Nigeria, South Africa and UAE, we support government projects to aid literacy and disability in areas that currently have no technology or support.
Through the experience gained working alongside public and private sector organisations, Microlink has an unrivalled amount of practical experience, which can be applied through a consultancy framework to help businesses identify gaps and risks within their current processes and provide a strategic roadmap for improvements.
Consultancy packages are tailored around each client, dependent on the level of existing provisions, structure and level of disability awareness.
Current State Analysis
In order to create a roadmap for improvements, it is essential that a clear picture is created of the current state and performance metrics agreed upon at the outset to understand the success of any initiatives undertaken.
- What qualitative and quantitative data is available?
- What is the current cost impact?
- What are the goals of the business?
- Who 'owns' disability management?
Microlink has developed surveys for both employees and line managers that enable a detailed picture to be created of the workforce. It is essential to include and engage with individuals who have experienced disability, learning difficulties or health conditions within the business.
- What challenges are faced?
- What is the culture of disclosure within the business?
- What support is offered and how accessible is that support?
- What currently works well?
A framework created by Microlink is used to score the organisation on a number of different aspects of successfully managing employees with disabilities or conditions. The framework is based on a best practice approach championed by the Business Disability Forum, for the provision and support of employee wellbeing.
The model poses questions to get organisations to critically analyse their approach to support, data, services and accessibility. By scoring responses against a best practice approach, a picture is developed of the strengths and weaknesses within the business which can help to clarify, plan and prioritise improvement initiatives. The maturity model can either be conducted as a guided assessment with a consultant onsite to support and challenge assumptions or by self-assessment.
Gap Analysis and Stakeholder Management Workshops
Disability Management and workplace adjustment processes can span across many functional departments within organisations. It is important that all internal stakeholders i.e. Line Managers, HR, IT, Occupational Health, Facilities Management, Health and Safety, are all engaged and working towards the same business goals.
Through key resources within the business, Microlink can host interactive workshops to map out current processes and guide the consistency of management approach and data captured within the business.
Accessibility Policy and Communications
Microlink has a number of different policies, which organisations can use to supplement existing provisions. These are non-physical adjustment policies, recruitment and workplace adjustments to name a few. In addition to providing policies to fill gaps within the business, Microlink can also offer accessibility testing and advice on any existing communication or internal documents.
As the UK’s leading supplier, Microlink's product range delivers the best value and latest innovations in the industry. Microlink has solutions to meet every requirement within the workplace.
Microlink are passionate about sourcing products which remove barriers for people with any type of condition or disability in the workplace. With the right tools, we believe that everybody can achieve their true potential.
With a range of over 2,000 products, Microlink is a one-stop-shop for any assistive or ergonomic solution. As the UK's leading supplier of assistive solutions, businesses benefit from our competitive pricing and the newest innovations.
Microlink provide its business customers with a managed catalogue of products and exclusive pricing to cover the majority of adjustment requirements within the workplace.
- Ergonomic Furniture and Accessories
- Assistive Hardware and Software including:
- Hearing and Visual Impairment Solutions
- Portable Aids
- Specialist Peripherals
- Mobile Notetaking
- Specialist Assistive Devices
- Multiple Licencing Options for Assistive Software
- Product Research and Development
- Onsite Product Demo Days
- On-site Installation and Training Services
Getting a practical, streamlined process in place to deliver reasonable adjustments makes good business sense. The results speak for themselves.
Recognising the Requirement
- Every organisation in the United Kingdom will be affected by long term health conditions, mental disorders, learning difficulties or disability in the workforce. The majority of impairments are hidden or non-visible.
- Almost one in five people in the UK have a disability. In March 2013, 20.8% of the working age population (16 years - 64 years) in the UK (8.3 million people) had a disability.
- One in four people will experience mental health problems in any given year. The World Health Organisation reports that depression will be the leading cause of disability by 2020.
- The total cost to employers of mental health problems amongst their staff is estimated at nearly £26 billion each year. That is the equivalent to £1,035 for every employee in the UK workforce and 3.6 per cent of the national pay bill.
- Simple steps to improve the management of health in the workplace including prevention and early identification of problems, will enable employers to save 35% or more of these costs.
- One in six of those who become disabled whilst in work will lose their job during the first year after becoming disabled.
- Only 17% of disabled people were born with their disabilities. The majority of disabled people acquire their disability in later life.
- Each case of stress-related ill health leads to an average of 30.9 working days lost In a typical year, about 30 times as many working days are lost through mental health as from industrial disputes.
Unprecedented absence, productivity & return on investment data
See the stats that prove why workplace adjustments make good business sense.
Access To Work (ATW) is a government scheme run by Jobcentre Plus that covers the financial cost of providing disability solutions that would otherwise not be considered a “reasonable adjustment”.
- Direct.gov ATW – further information on the Access To Work scheme
- Direct.gov disability information – for disability issues, including the introduction of the Equality Act 2010
- Direct.gov employment contacts – for more information on a range of organisations, charities and support groups that offer advice and information to disabled people on employment-related matters.
Access To Work (ATW) is a Government scheme run by Jobcentre Plus that covers the financial cost of providing disability solutions that would otherwise not be considered a “reasonable adjustment”.
However, employers still have a legal duty to make “reasonable adjustments” for all their employees disability needs under the Equality Act 2010.
ATW offers financial support in the form of a grant to help towards the additional employment costs incurred by disabled people in or entering paid employment. It aims to help overcome work related obstacles resulting from their disability. It is available to unemployed, employed and self-employed people and can apply to any job, full-time, part-time, permanent or temporary.
How can ATW help me as an individual?
ATW can help you work with your disability and achieve better connection with your working life and increase your productivity by providing you with the necessary support to make that positive change.
How can ATW help employers?
Microlink can manage Access To Work claims on behalf of organisations contracted to us. We are able to navigate the process, liaise and claim, removing any complications for our clients.
What is the criteria for eligibility?
You may be able to receive Access To Work support if your disability or health condition has an adverse effect on your ability to carry out your job and you are:
- In a paid job
- Unemployed and about to start a job
- Unemployed and about to start a Jobcentre plus arranged Work Trial
What is the process from start to finish?
The first thing you need to do is contact the ATW Operational Support Unit that covers the area where you live. You will be asked a few questions to see if you are eligible for the programme. If you are eligible, an application form (ATW1) will be completed over the phone and sent to you. You will need to check the information and return the signed application (ATW1) to the Operational Support Unit.
On receipt of the returned application the Operational Support Unit will allocate an Access To Work Adviser to your case. The Access To Work Adviser will contact you by telephone to assess your individual needs and discuss your circumstances. The Adviser will also need to talk to your employer.
If, following this conversation, it is decided a more technical assessment is required the Adviser will arrange for a contracted external assessor to visit your place of work.
Report & Recommendations of your needs
After the assessment has taken place a confidential report will be sent to the ATW adviser suggesting suitable adjustments, equipment or support you may need and providing details of costs and suppliers.
You will then be sent two copies of this report, one for yourself and one for your employer. The adviser will contact you to discuss recommendations. After this discussion an approval letter detailing the agreed funding will be sent to both you and your employer.
The final stage of the scheme will be your employer purchasing the agreed solution and then claiming the agreed grant back from ATW on a claim form which would be sent with the approval letter.
NOTE: If you are self-employed, the process works exactly the same with you acting as the employer.
How much will ATW provide towards the cost of my disability solution?
The amount of help you may receive from Access To Work will vary depending on how long you have been employed, what support you need and whether you are self-employed.
Access To Work can pay up to 100 per cent of the approved costs if you are:
- Unemployed and starting a new job
- Working for an employer and have been in the job for less than six weeks
Whatever your employment status, Access To Work will also pay up to 100% of the approved costs of help with:
- Support workers
- Fares to work
- Communicator support at interview
Access To Work pays a proportion of the costs of support if all of the following apply to you:
- You’re working for an employer
- You’ve been in the job for six weeks or more
- You need special equipment
The precise level of cost sharing is determined as follows:
- Employers with 1 to 9 employees will not be expected to share costs
- Employers with 10 to 49 employees will pay the first £300 and 20% of costs up to £10,000
- Employers with 50 to 249 employees will pay the first £500 and 20% of costs up to £10,000
- Large employers with 250 or more employees will pay the first £1,000 and 20% of costs up to £10,000
The average time can vary depending on the disability solution and how quick your employer is at procuring the recommended solution. Some customers who require more complex / bespoke adjustments can take longer.
How long does the ATW process take?
The average time can vary depending on the disability solution and how quick your employer is at procuring the recommended solution. Some customers who require more complex and/or bespoke adjustments can take longer.
How do I contact ATW?
Here is the list of all the Access To Work Operational Support Units and the areas they cover:
Contact this centre if you live in:
- South East England
- East of England
Access To Work Operational Support Unit
Nine Elms Lane
London SW95 9BH
Telephone: 020 8426 3110
Textphone: 020 8426 3133
Fax: 020 8426 3134
Contact this centre if you live in:
- South West England
- West Midlands
- East Midlands
- Jobcentre Plus
Access To Work Operational Support Unit
377 Cowbridge Road
East Cardiff CF5 1WU
Telephone: 02920 423 291
Textphone: 02920 644 886
Fax: 02920 423 342
Contact this centre if you live in:
- North West England
- North East England
- Yorkshire and Humberside
Jobcentre Plus Access To Work Operational Support Unit
Anniesland JCPBaird Street
Glasgow G90 8AN
Telephone: 0141 950 5327
Textphone: 0845 6025850
Fax: 0141 950 5265
Guidance on Access to Work for Employers
What is Access to Work?
- A2W helps people with disabilities (long term physical or mental health) start or stay in work.
- Provides practical or financial support.
- Support covers what is beyond reasonable adjustments.
- The employee will apply for A2W not the employer.
- You may have an employee who has developed a long term condition or disability.
- You may want to hire someone with the skills you need that has a long term condition or disability.
- As a recruitment & retention tool – you show potential and existing employees that you care and support them.
- Save you costs, recruiting costs and retaining a member of staff can save you skills and money.
Are there examples of help?
- Supplying of aids and equipment in the workplace
- Adapting equipment to make it easier to use
- Travel to work and in work.
- Communication support at interviews
- Provision of support workers
- Mental Health Support Service
- Advice and Guidance for employers to better understand mental health and how to support employees.
- Offer an assessment to find out their needs at work and help to develop a support plan.
- Other practical help such as a job coach or sign language interpreter.
There has been a lot about mental health recently how can A2W help?
- Assistance to develop a support plan
Flexible working patterns to accommodate changes in mood/impact of medication
- Provision of a mentor to give additional support at work.
- Arranging additional time to complete certain tasks.
- Providing additional training
- Regular meetings between you and your employee to talk about concerns
- Phased return to work.
I’m not sure if my employee is eligible?
- Must be over the age of 16
- In paid or about to be paid employment
- Not claiming Incapacity Benefit or Employment Support Allowance once they are in work. However, they may be eligible if they are doing a type of ‘permitted work’ but this will be for a limited time.
- That the employee has a long term health condition or mental health condition impacting on their ability to do their job.
My employee is claiming Universal Credit.
- As long as they meet the above criteria they will be able to apply for A2W.
My employee is on a Supported Internship/traineeship.
- As long as the programme is part of the Dept of Education Supported Internship Programme or a BIS Traineeship they will be able to apply for A2W for the time of their work placement only.
- A2W will also fund additional travel, job coach and other support to aid a smooth transition into employment.
Are there any costs to me as their employer?
If your employee has been working with you for more than 6 weeks when they apply for A2W you will have to share the cost with A2W.
This will ONLY be for:
- Special aids and equipment
- Adaptations to the premises or equipment
- There are no costs to you for Mental Health Support Service.
Are there any circumstances that A2W will fund 100% of the costs?
Yes, the good news is that if the following applies 100% of the costs will be granted by A2W:
- Your employee has been with you <6 weeks or hasn’t started yet when they apply for A2W.
- The Mental Health Service
- Additional travel to work and travel in work costs
- Communication support at interviews.