The new Reasonable Adjustment Documents are being published force wide this week.
Click here to view.
Please see below for FAQ's.
MDP Reasonable Adjustments Frequently Asked Questions
01 What is OH Assist?
The MoD Police requires an Occupational Health (OH) service for its personnel. This OH service is provided by OH Assist.
OH Assist provides HR related OH services which include requirements for recruitment, sickness absence and attendance management as well as advice on Equality Act 2010 reasonable adjustments, conduct and performance and termination of employment. OH Assist also provides site-specific OH services such as workplace & risk assessments and annual medicals.
02 How do I arrange an OH Referral (OHR) for a member of my staff?
OH Services are requested through DBS Civilian Personnel. It is important that Line Managers (LMs) make the DBS HR Consultants (HRCs) assigned to their case aware, at the time of ordering an appointment, if the review is for suitability to carry a firearm.
03 In what situation should I request an OHR?
LMs must ask DBS Civilian Personnel to seek OH advice if:
· The LM is aware that the officer has been, or is likely to be, absent from the workplace for more than 28 consecutive days and there is no clear indication as to when the officer may return to work.
· When the officer tells his/her LM that he/she has been certificated with a psychological-related illness (e.g. stress, depression, anxiety)
· If the officer has a musculoskeletal condition (e.g. back pain)
04 Does OHR override my GP’s/Specialist’s Advice?
Yes. If OH recommends that the officer is not yet ready to return to work, the officer will remain on sick absence until he/she are well enough to return to work. Where the OH advice conflicts with the employee’s GP’s/Specialist’s advice, the Force will accept the advice of the OH Practitioner until the issue can be resolved. In this respect, the OH Practitioner will not ignore specialist medical advice.
05 Can LMs stop an officer coming back into the workplace because an OHR has not been made?
No. An officer can return to the workplace at any time (including before the end of the Fit Note) without going back to see the Doctor, even if their GP has indicated that there is a need to reassess him/her again. This will not breach Employees’ Liability Insurance or any current MOD Policies. However, best practice is for the LM to encourage the officer, through the Police Restoring Efficiency Programme (PREP) plan, to have the GP complete a Fit for Work certificate with adaptations, which will enable the officer to be supported in the workplace until more comprehensive OH Advice is sought.
06 The officer has a fit for work certificate with adaptations. What do I need to do as the LM?
If an OHR has not been made, one should be ordered through DBS Civilian Personnel as soon as practicable. In the interim period, the GP’s recommendations should be adhered to.
07 The advice on the Statement of Fitness for Work certificate is not binding on the Force. Therefore, can the officer raise a grievance if the Force cannot make the temporary adjustments to assist?
Yes. Ultimately an employee has the right to grieve and the right to raise a grievance. To mitigate this, the LM should discuss the temporary adaptations with the officer and, if they cannot be met, should explain the reasons as to why not. We should always look to accommodate temporary reasonable adjustments if we have a realistic expectation that the officer will return to full operational capability within 3 months.
Please read ‘MDP Line Mangers’ Guide to Reasonable Adjustments’ for advice on ‘Fit for Work Plan’.
08 My GP has mentioned a risk assessment should be carried out. What does this mean?
There should always be a basic risk assessment made when an employee returns to work. Often this entails asking a few simple questions as part of the welcome back discussion. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) details a risk assessment as the following;
“A risk assessment is nothing more than a careful consideration of what, in your workplace, could cause harm to people so that you can weigh up whether you have taken enough precautions or should do more to prevent harm.”
If a LM needs guidance on how to conduct a basic risk assessment, information can be found on Health and Safety Executive (HSE) – Five Steps to Risk Assessment (http://www.hse.gov.uk/risk/controlling-risks.htm ). A LM should be doing this already as part of his/her duty of care to his/her staff. If it is decided that a more formal risk assessment is required, further information can be found in JSP 375 – MOD Health & Safety Handbook and its associated leaflets.
09 Is there any distinction between temporary adaptations suggested on a Fit Note and reasonable adjustments?
A GP may recommend temporary adaptations on a Fit Note in order to help, support and facilitate an early return to work for an individual. These can consist of very basic adaptations to the workplace to facilitate an earlier return to work. A Fit Note with temporary adjustments will not be expected to last longer than three months, after which time the employee should make a return to working normal duties.
Under the Equality Act 2010, there is a duty on the Department to consider reasonable adjustments for disabled employees.
LM’s should take advice from OH as to whether or not there are any reasonable adjustments to assist a disabled employee in his/her return to work and these will, in the main, be longer-term adjustments.
If a reasonable adjustment can be accommodated but will take some time to implement, the special paid leave provisions for disabled employees awaiting the implementation of reasonable adjustments, will apply.
10 A GP has stated that an officer ‘May be fit for work’. However OH advice has been received and it has been stated that the officer is not fit for work. Which takes precedent?
The GP’s Fit Note is not binding on the Force. OH advice will take precedence and the officer will need to be returned to sick absence. OH Assist has the option to contact the officer’s medical team to seek further medical evidence if there is conflicting advice.
11 How long can an officer be on a Phased Return to Work?
The rehabilitation period (the temporary period of reduced attendance, flexible working patterns and/or changes to duties) will not normally exceed 3 months. If, in exceptional circumstances, the proposed period of adjustment exceeds three months, the case must be referred to the DBS HRC for advice and further OH referral. All phased return to work plans should be recorded on HR Form 2377: Fit for Work Plan
12 When is it appropriate to consider a longer-term, tailored reasonable adjustment?
This type of adjustment is made when we know that an officer has a permanent incapacitation that prevents him/her from carrying out his/her role. When it becomes apparent to line management that there is no realistic probability that full operational capability will be achieved, due to medical limitations, the tailored reasonable adjustment process should be started.
Please read MDP Line Managers’ Guide to Reasonable Adjustments.
13 Who can give me advice when considering longer-term, tailored reasonable adjustments?
The process does not stand in isolation with the management chain at the station. It is a collective viewpoint from engagement with the individual officer, DBS HRC, SPO, Divisional Commander, Business Resilience Managers (BRMs) and, in some cases, MDP HQ. Help and guidance can also be sought from the DBS Reasonable Adjustment Team, MDP Diversity Team and the Defence Police Federation Welfare Officer.
14 When can an officer apply for Ill Health Retirement?
Ill Health Retirement (IHR) is made against the officer’s pension scheme provider. An officer can, at any time, make an application for IHR and providing he/she meets the pension scheme criteria, will be awarded an Ill Health Pension.
15 Can the UPP process be run in parallel with an IHR referral?
Yes. However, it is important to note that each case must be considered on merit and that if an IHR application is progressed then the UPP process should not be concluded until the outcome of the IHR has been completed. If IHR is authorised then the UPP process is discontinued. Both MDP and DPF acknowledge a requirement for more detailed guidance on this issue which will be formally consulted as part of the review/update to the MDP UPP procedures.