Bank of England guidance on Reasonable Adjustments

Freedom of Information rules mean that, as a public authority, the Bank of England is obliged to disclose certain types of information, both proactively and on request.

Date: 16 June 2020


The Bank of England’s guidance on Reasonable adjustments, below, explains what reasonable adjustments are and the process for identifying and implementing adjustments: 

What are reasonable adjustments?

When someone has a medical condition or other condition that results in them experiencing a substantial difficulty in performing their role, or a specific aspect of the role, we will consider whether there are any reasonable adjustments that can be implemented to remove or alleviate the difficulty.  

In assessing what reasonable adjustments can be made we will call on the help of experts in this field.  Depending on the nature of the condition, this may be Occupational Health or Access to Work, or a third party organisation that has specialist knowledge of supporting people who need adjustments at work related to a specific condition such as dyslexia or autism. A recommendation from Occupational Health or a third party organisation will be required before consideration is given to implementing an adjustment.  

Examples of reasonable adjustments 

The Bank will consider each case for an adjustment on an individual basis taking into account the impact of the disadvantage on the employee and the reasonableness of the adjustment, which may include factors such as the practicability of implementing the adjustment, the extent to which it is likely to alleviate the disadvantage and cost.   The Bank makes adjustments wherever possible including altering workstations (eg screens, filters, hands-free telephone headsets, ergonomic keyboards, chairs, foot-rests, wrist supports, different types of mouse, image magnifiers etc) and using assistive technology (eg specific software, hearing loops etc) wherever possible. Consideration is given to accessibility issues generally (i.e. lift refurbishment programme, toilets etc) and on-going refurbishment of office space ensure that lighting, signage, furniture etc are consistent and appropriate to our obligations under the Equality Act. 

Further examples of reasonable adjustments which may be considered are: 

  • Making modifications to recruitment tests or assessments – for example, this could include extending the time taken to complete a test, providing tests in an alternative format or providing suitable equipment/software to enable a candidate to participate on an equal basis.
  • Making adjustments to premises – for example, this could include structural or physical changes to improve accessibility such as widening a doorway or moving furniture to enable better access for a wheelchair user.
  • Acquiring or modifying equipment, electronic or other materials, provision of specialist aids and adaptations – for example, this could be providing a specially adapted keyboard for a visually impaired person or someone with arthritis and making full use of assistive technology such as voice activated software. However, there is no requirement to provide or modify equipment for personal purposes unconnected with work, such as providing a wheelchair if a person needs one in any event but does not have one.
  • Additional support and/or help with personal care/employing a support worker to assist a disabled employee – for example, this could be providing a note taker for someone with a visual impairment.
  • Allowing the disabled person to be absent during working hours for rehabilitation, assessment or treatment – for example, to attend physiotherapy or group therapy or to undertake employment rehabilitation.
  • Allocating some of the disabled person’s duties to another person – for example, if a job occasionally involves taking files to another floor, this task could be transferred away from someone with restrictions to their mobility.
  • Altering the disabled person’s working hours – for example, allowing the disabled person to work flexible hours to enable additional breaks to overcome fatigue or changing the disabled person’s hours to fit in with the availability of a carer or driver.
  • Providing additional services such as a reader or sign language interpreter, or materials in Braille or Easy Read – for example, arranging for a trained British Sign Language interpreter to be present at a meeting with a person with a hearing disability.
  • Training staff to work with disabled people – for example, providing disability awareness training and training managers on how to make appropriate adjustments.
  • Giving the disabled person, or arranging for them to be given, training – this could be training in the use of particular pieces of equipment unique to the disabled person, or training appropriate for all employees but which needs altering because of the disability, or to find new ways of the disabled person using existing, proven skills.
  • Organising a gradual re-entry to the job to rebuild confidence and check adjustments are effective – Occupational Health  will provide advice and support in re-integrating staff back into work and to assess the effectiveness of adjustments.
  • Transferring the disabled person to fill an existing vacancy – if an employee becomes disabled, or has a disability which worsens, so they cannot carry on with their current role, and there is no reasonable adjustment which would enable them to do so, then the disabled person should be considered for any suitable alternative posts which are available.
  • Assigning the disabled person to a different place of work – for example, moving the person to another location, if this is possible/appropriate.lity such as widening a doorway or moving furniture to enable better access for a wheelchair user.

Assessments: The Bank works with third party expert organisations to carry out the following:  

  • Diagnostic Assessments: In some situations the Bank will consider supporting a diagnostic assessment for employees. This will be in cases where it is suspected an employee may have a neuro-diverse condition such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, autism or ADHD because of the nature of the difficulties they are experiencing in their role. An assessment provides an understanding of the employees strengths and areas where they will need support at work via adjustments.
  • Workplace Needs Assessments: These are used to support employees and managers develop effective strategies for dealing with aspects of the role that are causing the employee with a neuro-diverse condition difficulty. Part of this may also include recommendations for assistive technology and job coaching.

Accessing and implementing reasonable adjustments 

Staff seeking support by way of adjustments, should, in the first instance, speak to their line manager about the difficulties they are experiencing to see if any changes can be made at a local level to address the difficulties experienced. If expert help is required then the employee or line manager should contact the AskHR team. The request is strictly confidential and will be assigned to a member of the Employee Relations Team in HR. An Employee Relations Adviser will contact the employee/line manager to establish the nature of the difficulty and, depending upon what is required, will act as the liaison point with Occupational Health or specialist organisation if appropriate. If an employee would like to speak to an Employee Relations Adviser confidentiality before discussing problems with their line manager then they can submit a request via AskHR.  

When an adjustment is recommended Occupational Health or Employee Relations will advise on the implementation process.