'Our biggest challenge has been returning to the office and the hybrid approach' – Disability Network's Sue Reeves on another pandemic year

2020 may have been a year like no other, but 2021 was a chip off the old block and relentless from day one. The CSDN chair tells us about 12 more months of dealing with Covid while pushing ahead with new challenges
Ensuring officials with disabilities and long-term health conditions are still able to work from home when needed has been a challenge

By Civil Service World

30 Dec 2021

 

What was your highlight of 2021?

Ensuring the Civil Service People Survey was the most accessible yet. Last year there were glitches and not everyone using IT accessibility adjustments could access the survey, but this year we worked closely with the team, and they were prepared for every eventuality, which meant much better access to the survey.

How did you tackle the biggest challenges facing members of your network in 2021?

Our biggest challenge has been returning to work in the office and the hybrid approach. This has been all about making sure those of us who have disabilities and long-term health conditions are still able to work from home when we need to, as well as from in the office. Also, that we will have full access to our agreed workplace adjustments in both locations. Working remotely made our working lives more disability accessible and hybrid working is all about helping us to continue to be fully effective from wherever we happen to be working.

What is your number one priority for 2022?

IT interoperability is our key priority, and 2022 is the year when we need all technology to be fully accessible by default. We need to make sure civil service IT facilitates joined-up working right across government. 

"We all need to be able to work collaboratively and to ensure everyone appreciates the tech tools at our disposal and how to use them"

The civil service must be an exemplar and we need to recognise the technology innovations helping those of us who have disabilities and long-term health conditions and that these can also help our non-disabled colleagues work smarter and more flexibly across different teams. 

We all need to be able to work collaboratively and to ensure everyone appreciates the tech tools at our disposal and how to use them, as well as being accessible as a matter of course.
 
Which historical, mythical, or contemporary figure would you most like to join you for a New Year’s Eve celebration?

Oh my, there are so many amazing disability role models, it’s really hard to pick out just one! Can we have two please? Stephen Hawking and Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson are both at the top of the list though. 

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