University of Leicester recognised as a Disability Confident Leader

The University of Leicester is delighted to announce that it has been awarded Disability Confident Leader status as an employer, the highest level of the award.

Currently, this makes the University one of only five universities to hold Disability Confident Leader, Athena Swan Institutional Silver and Race Equality Charter Bronze, or above.

This recognition comes as a result of a rigorous self-assessment, an extensive programme of work informed by our Disability Equity Action Group and Disability Staff Forum, and a thorough external validation, which included feedback of the lived experience from disabled colleagues.

The validation process identified a number of areas of exemplary best practice, in particular, the excellent levels of collaboration with the Disability Staff Forum to drive change and inform disability inclusive policy and practice, including mandating Disability Confidence for Managers training for line managers, provision of a Staff Disability Advisor role and a central budget for some Access to Work adjustments, provision of a dedicated Staff Quiet Room and development of new policies, such as Disability Leave and Assistance Animals on Campus. 

Professor Martyn Mahaut-Smith, Chair of the Disability Equity Action Group, said “This award is a fantastic achievement and recognises the fact that the University has implemented many sector-leading practices designed to support its disabled staff. The comments from the external validator highlight how the EDI governance structure at the University works so effectively, enabling members of the Equity Action Groups and Staff Fora to bring about important changes.”

One of the key factors in the University achieving this award has been the role of the disabled staff voice in driving and informing our priorities and activities. 

Whilst delighted that the University has been recognised with this award, there is still more needed to be done. A three-year action plan is to be developed, in conjunction with the Disability Equity Action Group, to continue to advance disability equity for the staff community. The award includes a responsibility for the University to promote and share best practice to drive disability inclusion in the wider sector, local area and nationally, and opportunities will be sought to do this wherever possible.