Support services at work

There are a range of support services available to you at work – here is a brief overview. We are more than happy to provide advice on using any of these services and when and how they are appropriate to use:

  • Citizens’ Advice
  • Employee Advice and Listening Service
  • Disability Advice Service

Citizens’ Advice

Need advice?

A representative from the Citizens Advice comes to the University every Wednesday and Thursday morning.  They can provide free, independent, impartial and confidential advice to any member of staff.

Getting ready for retirement?  Had your credit card stolen?  Buying a house?  Debt getting too much?  Eligible for benefits?  Question about Employment Legislation?

The CA can offer advice in the following areas:

Benefits | Housing | Immigration | Debt | Relationships | Consumer issues | Employment | Retirement

The Citizens’ Advice Service aims to:

  • ensure that individuals do not suffer through lack of knowledge of their rights and responsibilities or the service available to them
  • ensure individuals are not disadvantaged through an inability to express their needs effectively and equally
  • exercise a responsible influence on the development of social policies and services both locally and nationally

How can I book an appointment?

Appointments can be booked through 13 Pritchatts Road on 0121 415 8774 (internal: 58774), or by emailing

Alternatively, email and telephone appointments are available through prior booking.

For more information please go to Citizens’ Advice.

Employee Advice and Listening Service

The Employee Advice and Listening Service is support open to all University staff.  Its aim is to help staff in making informed decisions on work and personal issues.

The service uses professional listening, and where appropriate allows for further exploration of the issue, which may result in guidance and advice being given.  Referrals to specialised services both internal and external to the University may be suggested, and will not be made without consent of the staff member.

You will receive an initial listening and advice/guidance service from an Employee Adviser.  The service works within a disclosure, confidentiality and data protection policy Records made in regard to staff contact remain within the Employee Advice and Support Service and are not linked with any personnel files.  You will be talked through the policy, and if you have any concerns as to where the policy allows for disclosure, or for confidentiality to be breached, please do not hesitate to contact the Employee Adviser.

Jean Harris is the Employee Adviser and can be contacted on 0121 415 8774 (ext 58774) or by e-mail to  Our offices are based at 13 Pritchatts Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2QU, on the second floor with stair access only.  We can see you there, or negotiate to use other facilities within the University.  The service operates from Monday to Thursday inclusive, and we will acknowledge your initial enquiry as soon as possible.

For more information see the university website at Advice and Listening Service.

Disability Advice Service

Based in Employee Advice and Support Services in Workplace Wellbeing, the Disability Service has been introduced to provide disabled employees with practical support and guidance in the workplace, particularly in relation to workplace adjustments.  The Service can also help managers to understand the needs of disabled employees.

The service can support you through:

  • General advice and guidance on disability in the workplace
  • Advising on what ‘reasonable adjustments’ could be made to workplace practices to support you in your job (such as specialist equipment or changes to the physical environment)
  • Supporting mental health needs
  • Connecting you with external support organisations and other in-house support provided by Employee Advice and Support Services

Who is defined as disabled?

Legally, under the Equality Act 2010, a person is likely to be considered disabled if they have a mental or physical impairment that has an adverse effect on their ability to carry out day-to-day activities. This effect must be:

substantial – in other words, not minor or trivial. The person is still considered disabled if the effects of their impairment are alleviated or removed by ongoing treatments or aids.

long-term – which is usually taken to mean that it has lasted, or is likely to last, for more than 12 months

This definition is quite broad, for example it can often include people with cancer, cystic fibrosis, depression, dyslexia, HIV, repetitive strain injury (RSI) or a severe facial disfigurement.

What can the University do to assist me?

To ensure that those who are disabled have equal opportunities to non-disabled staff members, the University must make ‘reasonable adjustments’ for disabled employees. ‘Adjustment’ is the legal term for any adaptation made in the workplace to ensure equal access for a disabled person.

The Equality Act defines ‘reasonable adjustments’ as adjustments to:

  • Provisions, criteria or practices (the way things are done)
  • Physical features (the built environment)
  • Auxiliary aids (providing specialist equipment or services)

The most common types of adjustment include:

  • the services of a support worker (for example, a personal assistant or sign-language interpreter)
  • equipment (for example, assistive computer software or an adjustable height desk)
  • transcription of written materials into accessible formats (for example braille or large print)
  • adjustments to workplaces or the physical environment
  • adjustments to an employee’s duties, working routine or conditions of service or the provision of disability leave

For more information see the university website at Disability Service.