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Below are some detailed services that PDC can deliver to help achieve a supportive and understanding environment -for staff and, in this instance – service users. This particular proposition is providing supportive solutions for staff members with a disability, providing disability training for managers, company level consultation to address policy and procedural approaches, plus also providing solutions to assist the staff in developing support and diagnosis for those in the probation system.
By working along-side HR and operational departments, PDC can ensure that all legal requirements are being met and that the workplace is inclusive and makes proper steps to reduce the occurrence of discrimination, bullying and bias.
SpLDs are over-represented in prison populations; for example, in one study, 20% of offenders were found to have dyslexia and 50% have poor literacy skills. In addition, a combined report of the prison and probation service in 2015 found that although some progress had been made, probation services and managers were still unsure of the best way to support, record disabilities correctly and how to use screening tools.
Provide one-stop, dedicated support which works seamlessly with existing HR provisions.
This also suggests there will be a significant number of individuals who need additional support when they leave prison to interact and comply with the probation services in a positive, and appropriate way, ultimately reducing their risk of re-offending.
Support for Individual Staff
Workplace Needs Assessments
(for staff with documented disabilities)
This service provides a holistic evaluation to identify difficulties and barriers a person faces in performing their job due to a disability, and in turn, provide suggestions and solutions to improve their ability to perform work. The assessments normally take around two hours and are followed up by a report that covers the identified issues, suggested strategy training, reasonable adjustments, assistive technology software and training.
What is included:
- Pre-assessment screening questionnaire and background history- which includes eye-sight and check for medical conditions that may cause issues for the individual
- IT Audit – Assessment of current technology use and whether assistive technology would be beneficial
- Current work situation interviews – information about the client’s difficulties at work, from both the employee and their line manager
- Past paperwork review – we consider any existing documents (such as a diagnostic assessment, screening tests and medical reports)
- Evaluation of current adjustments – review and assess reasonable adjustments already in place
(for staff without documented conditions)
These assessments are carried out by fully trained3 staff who are licenced to provide a formal diagnosis.
- Initial screening and background history which includes eye-sight and check for medical conditions that may cause issues for the individual
- A comprehensive programme of tests – Including the areas of literacy (reading, writing, spelling), cognitive tests (memory, processing speed, phonological awareness skills) Ability (IQ) and if needed, motor coordination.
- Detailed report – At least 20 pages of detailed findings related to underlying causes, observations and suggestions specific to each person.
- Clear diagnostic decision – Comprehensive yet easy-to-understand diagnosis. Clearly stated decision and reasons why.
- Suggestion and Strategies – Targeted to the areas for development found in the assessment and taking into consideration strengths and current coping mechanisms. It will be related to the individual’s work situation and difficulties.
Each individually tailored programme begins with a holistic needs assessment, taking the person, their concerns, the role, skills, environment, managers and team into account. Working in conjunction with managers, sessions are based around the implementation of strategies into real work tasks to ensure their relevance and aid the individual’s confidence from the beginning.
Skills covered can include (but are not limited to):
- Understanding job roles, expectations, policies and procedures
- Building positive working relationships, both internally and externally
- Identifying and developing personal strengths
- Organisation, time management, prioritisation, and multitasking
- Reading and comprehension strategies
- Literacy skills in spelling, grammar and vocabulary to improve written communication
- Professional business attitudes and conduct
- Understanding and using feedback and performance reviews
- Conflict resolution and reduction
- Developing verbal and non-verbal communications to aid with general communication,public speaking, presentation skills and developing persuasive arguments
- Using assistive technology including set-up, integration and specific programme use
- Self-management of illness, low moods and anxiety to reduce absences
Training for Individuals and Groups
Disability Training for Line Managers
Training on disability helps managers and colleagues become more aware of the issues that can affect staff with disabilities and increase their confidence in implementing services such as Access to Work and enabling reasonable internal adjustments. This tailored training works in conjunction with organisational disability policy and covers:
- Understanding different disabilities at work
- Effective language and communication
- Avoiding unintentional discrimination
- Access and Inclusion
- Effective mentoring and supervision
- Practical ways to support disabled employees
- Reasonable adjustments and implementation
- Barriers faced by people with disabilities
- Medical & Social models of disability
- Unconscious bias and stigma in the workplace
- Understanding the law, employers and managers responsibilities
Staff Training to Support Service Users
Equipping probation officers with the skills and knowledge to understand and identify SpLDs and other literacy issues; as well as how to support them, is beneficial for all parties as it can help ensure officers are empowered and self-assured in managing additional needs and addressing negative behaviours such as defensiveness, hiding problems, pretending to understand, and related problems.
All training includes multi-sensory approaches to make the sessions relevant and engaging: modelling strategy through role play and case studies, hands-on use of assistive technology and screening tools and both group discussions and self-directed, reflective learning.
Topics can cover (but are not limited to):
- What is an invisible disability and how it affects service users (SU)
- What are the legal requirements Probation Officers and the probation service (PO) have to people with disabilities
- Identifying signs of SpLD or literacy issue
- Screening and assessment for disabilities – what is the process and the role of a PO can help
- How to handle disclosure and managing sensitive discussions
- Accommodating people who already have a diagnosis and understanding the needs of neurodiverse people
- Funding for support and interventions that SU can access
- Understanding reasonable adjustments and Free Assistive technology and how can they be implemented to make services better for everyone.
- Making communication clear for service users – ensuring they understand information, are able to comply and feel empowered
- Transitioning SU from the support offered by the Probation Service to other support and advice services
- Correct recording and reporting of disabilities (in line with the Probation Service’s system and policies)
Company-Level Consultation Services
Working alongside existing HR and Occupational Health our disability advisory service enables companies to ensure they are complying with their legal requirements, implement appropriate policies and frameworks and reduce interpersonal issues such as discrimination, bullying and bias.
Areas of expertise include
- Identifying and evaluating key Assistive Technology programs that will be effective for all workers with needs as well as being cost-effective
- Development of Disability and inclusion policy and guidance
- Development of internal screening documents