Systems and policies workstream

Workstream 4 of the Disability Action Plan focuses on improving evidence-based decision-making. We will look at how we use personal data and take action to improve built environment accessibility.

The Ihonuku Tōkeke | Pro Vice-Chancellor Equity is responsible for this workstream. Below are the deliverables, associated tasks and achievements. The task status and next steps are updated every six months. As of February 2023, seven tasks are being progressed or have been transitioned into business as usual. One task has been completed. A further task is due to commence later this year. 

Please email all feedback and suggestions to Vicki Watson, Manager – Equity.

Improved data systems and use

  • Improved disability data improves decision-making and influences resourcing and service planning.
    Status: In progress

  • Recognise the experiences of Māori students with disabilities. Opportunities exist for whānau to identify improvements to support services.
    Status: In progress

  • Maintain standards for data collection and use through staff training and procedures. All students and staff understand the reasons Waipapa Taumata Rau collects personal data.
    Status: Ongoing

Achievements to date:

  • We have begun improving processes for disclosing disability when people join the University, with advice from the Tertiary Education Commission.
  • We have established the University's Disability Action Plan Reference Group using an Expressions of Interest process.  Representation includes undergraduate and postgraduate students, professional and academic staff, with lived experience of disability. Representation has been sought from Tai Tokerau and Te Tai Tonga campuses.
  • We have updated internal guidelines for staff who access and use personal information, including disability disclosures.

Next steps:

  • Continue work with Digital Services and the Planning and Information Office to make improvements to the Enterprise Person Registry, in line with Tertiary Education Commission guidance.
  • Work with the Pro Vice-Chancellor Māori to develop a plan to help boost the voices of Tauira Māori with disability, and their whānau.
  • Continue working with the DAP Reference Group to recommend a university-wide definition of disability.

Accessible campuses

  • Complete an audit of built environment accessibility. Campus built environments and facilities will plan to address accessibility gaps with due regard for compliance standards.
    Status: In progress

  • Enhanced personal safety through appropriate evacuation systems, procedures, and communication. This includes monitoring the use of personal emergency plans, assistance registers, and training.
    Status: In progress

Achievements to date:

  • We piloted built environment accessibility audits, synthesised the audit reports, and made recommendations to decision makers.
  • We have investigated best practices and replaced building assistance registers with Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (PEEPS).  Existing PEEPs processes have been reviewed and subsequently revised, tested, and are awaiting final approval.

Next steps:

  • Property Services will lead the roll out of accessibility audits of targeted buildings that will be maintained and retained.
  • Investigate the use of a master plan for landscaping with an overlay for accessibility.
  • Finalise PEEP process and seek to include a specific question on PEEPs in the identity questions section of the University's Enterprise Person Registry system.

Effective complaint management

  • A coordinated system for managing all built environment access complaints. Efficient management of students and staff accessibility complaints.
    Status: Begins 2023

Next steps:

  • Identify all possible points of contact for lodging accessibility complaints and understand whether certain complaints indicate upfront process improvements can be made, such as better communication of route changes.

Inclusive policies and procedures

  • Representative student and staff with disabilities inform University policies and policy-related document development.
    Status: Ongoing

  • University policies and related documents are accessible to all staff and students. Processes are clear, available, and accessible. Focuses on course selection, admissions, funding and withdrawal, and complaints processes.
    Status: In progress

Achievements to date:

  • The Vice-Chancellor approved the new Te Ara Tautika | Equity Policy in late 2022.
  • We have initiated a scheduled review of the Undergraduate Targeted Admissions Scheme Policy and Procedures.  A leadership group and a working group have been established to progress this work.  Equitable outcomes for students with disabilities will continue to be central to the policy's purpose. 
  • The Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor Equity provided guidance to the review of the Academic Complaints Statute and the Curriculum Framework Transformation Student-centric Regulations and Admissions Working Group.

Next steps:

  • Investigate existing procedures and guidelines relating to the provision of reasonable adjustments for staff and students.
  • Following investigation work, progress with the development of an overarching Reasonable Adjustments Policy and streamlined procedures.

Equitable procurement outcomes

Decisions under the University’s Procurement Strategy and Policy explicitly recognise and respect the experiences of students and staff with disabilities.
Status: Completed.

Achievement to date:

  • The University’s Procurement Policy was reviewed and consulted on in late 2022. The Office of the Pro-Vice Chancellor Equity submitted that the policy should be consistent with Te Ara Tautika | the Equity Policy and the Disability Action Plan. The final procurement policy reflected this feedback. The Pro Vice-Chancellor Equity will continue to exercise influence, when appropriate, to ensure major procurement decisions align with equity principles.