Last reviewed: 31 March 2021
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes 15 seconds
This resource is part of our Disability Essentials range. You can find here the other free resources that are included in this range.
What is a ‘Tailored Adjustments Plan’, ‘Passport’ or ‘Agreement’ ?
A ‘Tailored Adjustments Plan’ is a living record of adjustments agreed between an employee and their line manager. Some organisations refer to these as ‘Passports’ or ‘Agreements’.
The purpose of this living record is to:
- Ensure that the employee and line manager have a record of what has been agreed;
- Provide employees and their line managers with a structure to use when regularly reviewing and updating information about workplace adjustments.
- Act as a starting point for discussion when an employee changes jobs, is relocated, or assigned a new manager within the organisation.
- Plan for when an employee is unwell and needs additional support because of their disability or condition. This particularly applies to employees with fluctuating or progressive conditions.
Passports, Plans or Agreements – Does the title matter?
In this resource we will be referring to the living record as a ‘Tailored Adjustments Plan’ as we believe that this title most accurately reflects the intended purpose of the record. While terms such as ‘Passport’ and ‘Agreement’ are widely used, evidence from BDF Members suggests that many employers find such terms unhelpful and confusing when discussing adjustments.
The term ‘Passport’ suggests that all adjustments are portable and are automatically transferred across to an employee’s new role without the need for discussion. In reality, not every team in an organisation works in the same way and an employee may require different adjustments to carry out a new role. It may also be beneficial for a new manager to discuss the adjustment plan with the employee, to help them gain a better understanding of how they can best support the individual.
The language of ‘Agreement’ comes from a time when disability inclusion was regarded solely as a ‘legal duty’. As organisations have moved towards wanting to engage and recruit more diversely, terms such as ‘agreement’ feel at odds with the practice of adopting collaborative and supportive discussions.
Using a title that accurately reflects the purpose of your plan will help to ensure plans are used effectively and deliver the adjustments needed.
A living record
The key purpose of a ‘Tailored Adjustments Plan’ is to be a living record. This means that the plan should be reviewed and updated regularly as appropriate and with the agreement of the employee and the line manager:
- At any regular one-to-one meeting;
- At a return-to-work meeting following a period of sickness absence;
- At an appraisal or performance review meeting;
- Before a change of job or duties or introduction of new technology or ways of working;
- Before or after any change in circumstances for either the organisation or the employee e.g. a change to working location or after a period of time in a new role or working with a new manager.
Tailored Adjustments Plans and the Workplace Adjustments Process
A Tailored Adjustments Plan is just one feature of an effective workplace adjustments process. It can be a very useful tool when used correctly but on its own does not fulfil the duty on employers to make adjustments.
To be most effective, a Tailored Adjustments Plan should be:
- Introduced into the discussion about adjustments early on.
- Supported by a robust and responsive workplace adjustments process.
- Owned by the employee and shared only with their consent.
- Supported by the line manager.
- Viewed as a living document, which is regularly reviewed and updated.
- Seen as a tool to support positive discussion around adjustments.
A Tailored Adjustments Plan: Notes for managers
A Tailored Adjustments Plan allows managers to:
- Understand how a particular employee’s disability or condition affects them at work;
- Explain the needs of the business or organisation;
- Explain the organisation’s attendance and workplace adjustments policy;
- Recognise signs that an employee might be unwell and know what the employee wants you to do in these circumstances – including who to contact for help;
- Know how and when to stay in touch if the employee is off sick;
- Consider whether the employee needs to be referred for an assessment by an occupational health or another adviser to help both parties understand what adjustments could be effective;
- Review the effectiveness of the adjustments already agreed;
- Explain any change in the employer’s circumstances.
The plan should be regularly reviewed and updated. Remember, however, that expert advice from third parties (such as occupational health advisers, Access to Work, or IT specialists) may be needed before changes can be agreed and implemented.
Managers who need help in deciding whether an adjustment is ‘reasonable’ will find it helpful to use the ‘Reasonable adjustment decision and form’ or contact the Advice Service at Business Disability Forum or call us at 020 7403 3020.
A Tailored Adjustment Plan: Notes for employees
A ‘Tailored Adjustments Plan’ allows employees to:
- Explain the impact of a disability or condition at work;
- Suggest adjustments that will make it easier for the employee to do their job;
- Offer further information from the employee’s doctor, specialist, or other expert (where relevant);
- Request an assessment by occupational health, Access to Work, or another expert;
- Review the effectiveness of the adjustments agreed;
- Explain any change in the employee’s circumstances;
- Be reassured that the manager knows what to do if the employee becomes unwell at work and who to contact if necessary;
- Know how and when the manager will keep in touch if the employee is absent from work because of illness or a disability-related reason.
Download our Tailored Adjustments Plan template for more information.
Template - Tailored Adjustments Plan
Download the Tailored Adjustments Plan Template as an accessible Word document