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Julie Dennis: Becoming a Disability Confident Leader

Friday 23 November 2018

Julie Dennis discusses the work Acas did to become a Disability Confident Leader.

Julie Dennis Julie Dennis

Julie is Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Acas and has over 16 years' experience in delivering strategic diversity and inclusion solutions. Previously, she was Head of Diversity at the Land Registry.


I cannot believe it's been nearly a year since Acas achieved its Disability Confident Leader status. Since then, the Diversity & Inclusion team has been busy delivering our actions via Acas' Diversity and Inclusion Strategy. We have made a commitment to regularly review the feedback we have received from our Disability Confident self-assessment to ensure that Acas remains an exemplar in this field.

So what have we been doing in this space? Well, we have made good progress in several areas:

  • Launched a Disability Staff Network

The network was launched in September 2018 and it is planning a host of activities during Disability History Month, including:

  • Publishing personal stories;
  • Myth-busting articles about mental and physical disabilities;
  • Information about Acas policies; and
  • Encouraging colleagues to complete their diversity declaration.
  • Workplace adjustments

During Mental Health Awareness Week, Acas introduced a new process for streamlining workplace adjustments. This included:

  • A workplace adjustment customer journey map. This simple five-step process is carried out for all colleagues to determine whether they require any workplace adjustments;
  • A workplace adjustment passport. This will aid colleagues who transfer in or out of Acas into another government department. The passport ensures colleagues can carry over their workplace adjustments into their new workplace, for instance, taking over a flexible work pattern or bringing in a bespoke piece of equipment.
  • Disability research

During Carers Week 2018, Acas conducted research to understand the key issues for our staff with disabilities. The research was extended to carers and line managers of staff with disabilities, and explored how colleagues felt about a range of topics, including:

  • Performance management
  • Bullying, harassment and discrimination
  • Change management
  • Learning and development
  • Workplace adjustments

I know we still have lots of work to do, but we will ensure that our work on disability continues to take a high priority within the diversity and inclusion agenda.

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