Ombudsman Services: Equality, Diversity & Making Reasonable Adjustments

The Story

Under the Equality Act 2010, any organisation providing goods, facilities or services to the public has a duty to make reasonable adjustments (reasonable for you and your organisation to make) to ensure a disabled person can use that service as close as it is reasonably possible to the standard offered to non-disabled people…. But:

  • What is a ‘reasonable’ adjustment?
  • What kind of adjustments can be made so that they remain reasonable for the organisation too?
  • Who is entitled to reasonable adjustments?
  • What do you do if a request for an adjustment doesn’t seem reasonable?

The Client

Ombudsman Services is a not-for-profit ombudsman service that provides dispute resolution for the communications, energy, property and copyright licensing industries.They required a bespoke training solution that built the confidence of staff in dealing with calls relating to disability. Specifically, to be confident dealing with customers quoting the disability law, to know when to escalate calls to managers, how to deal with challenging or abusive customers, and to ensure a high and consistent level of service across the board.

The Solution

It was important that the content of the proposed training was specific to Ombudsman Services and took into account the highly specific nature of day-to-day business. The specialist heading the project spent time within the organisation to gain a strong grasp of typical roles and responsibilities; types of customer calls and enquiries; policies & procedures; and existing levels of disability awareness and confidence in dealing with calls.

The resulting Dealing with Disability: Making Reasonable Adjustments workshop provided participants with the need-to-know aspects of disability – for their role at Ombudsman services. A comprehensive one-day version was delivered to managers and an amended version to all staff.

A bespoke pre and post electronic evaluation questionnaire gave us the opportunity to measure specific areas important to the client and highlight any further development areas that needed addressing going forward.

The Programme

This interactive, practical programme offers participants the opportunity to share their concerns about how best to respond to disabled customers in a safe, confidential environment. It comprises of peer learning, thought-provoking case studies, opportunity for practice and reflection, competitive quizzes and closes with group commitment to strong personal action plans.

  • Understanding legal obligations and impacts to both the organisation and individuals
  • The Equality Act 2010 – what it includes with reference to disability
  • Terminology and etiquette
  • Exploring personal attitudes and prejudicial forces
  • Understanding when to make a reasonable adjustment, and when to escalate a call, in line with policy
  • Dealing with challenging or abusive customers
  • Ways in which the business can ensure good customer service throughout a customer journey (over the telephone and through report writing)
  • Signposting to other sources of guidance

The Impact

Overall, respondents scoring 4 or 5 (high) on questions regarding their knowledge, skill and confidence increased from 38% pre-course to 79% post-course. And respondents scoring themselves ‘low’ (2 or 1) reduced from 29% to 3%.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with you! RightTrack have proved to be professional and committed and nothing was ever too much bother. We achieved the aim of delivering to as many people as possible and the feedback this end has been great!”

Katie Bywater,
Learning & Development Manager,
Ombudsman Services