The Disability Standard is a tool developed by the Business Disability Forum (BDF) to monitor the accessibility of a business across the entire organisation, covering all aspects including products and services, recruitment and facilities.
According to the Business Disability Forum, this tool helps organisations measure and improve their progress towards becoming disability-smart.
In April 2016, the OU participated in the Disability Standard and attained Bronze on its very first assessment.
Executive Dean Mary Kellett, VCE Champion for Disability, said she was excited that the OU has been officially recognised for its great work in the area of disability and went on to say, "This is especially good news for the OU because we put so much effort into ensuring that our students and staff can be fully supported in whatever their individual needs and circumstances are. I would like to thank and acknowledge the hard work put in by staff across the University - especially the steering group and the project teams that supported that group in collating evidence for our application."
The OU is now one of only two UK universities that holds Disability Standard status. The Disability Standard report stated that, "For a first submission this is outstanding. The OU should be immensely proud of its achievement as many organisations who achieve Bronze have been working closely with the BDF for many years".
In particular, the report praised the OU's support to its disabled students and the work of its Estates division for their efforts around disability. Employee retention was also highlighted as "evidenced to a high standard".
The award of the Bronze Standard is just the beginning and the University aims to continually improve and implement measures that ensure we meet and exceed the needs of our disabled staff and students. For the period 2016-2020, some of our disability-related objectives include: