What is a Work Based Assessment (WBA)?

A work based assessment is where, at the request of an employer or their contracted occupational health provider (Line Manager, Occupational Therapist, HR Department etc.) a specialist assessor will visit an employee who has a hearing loss or other disability, for a face to face meeting in their workplace setting.

The assessor will look at any issues or difficulties the person might be experiencing, and recommend potential solutions including a clear route to purchase recommended equipment.

Why should your company offer an assessment?

The Equality Act 2010 means that as an employer you might have to review and amend your existing policies and procedures for your staff members who have a disability, ensuring that employees are adequately equipped to carry out their role, and that you as the employer have made all ‘reasonable adjustments’ necessary to support them. 

As well as supporting the employee, this additionally benefits the employer, through:

  • Improved efficiency
  • Increased staff loyalty and better retention of staff
  • Improved recruitment processes
  • Compliance with the Equality Act 2010, reducing the potential for future litigation

Basically, legislation means you must enable your employees with a disabilty in their workplace to make sure they are happy and most effective, and actually its the smart thing to do anyway.

Digital Hearing Care Solutions Ltd (trading as FM Hearing Systems) are hearing specialists. We are involved in providing work based assessments to the corporate marketplace as an alternative to the (sometimes cumbersome and administratively time consuming) Access to Work route.

Particularly if your organisation has in excess of 250 employees, for a relatively small cost we can provide an ‘up and running’ solution within a matter of a few weeks (depending on how quickly your organisation can move!) instead of the 4-6 months typically through the Access to Work route. We can be stellar fast!

Why pay for a WBA when the Access to Work scheme will offer an assessment for free?
Think of it this way, for a relatively small initial spend your employee is assessed in their workplace situation, usually within less than 2 weeks from your instruction, with a comprehensive report forwarded to you within 3 business days from the assessment.

If you agree with our recommendations and on receipt of a purchase order we can supply the solution within the workplace (with on site training if required) within a week or two. Your employee is very quickly up and running and is performing at their best very soon.

As opposed to a potentially long drawn out protracted process with a high administrative burden and an unproductive and potentially unhappy staff member working at less than optimum.

The benefit is less clear cut for smaller employers, but in a nutshell, if your company employs more than 250 employees you have 2 choices to comply with disability legislation and at the same time have happy and effective employees.

The Access to Work scheme offers a free assessment, and for equipment costs in excess of £1000 they will pay a contribution towards costs. Your company (by nature of the fact it is a large employer with more than 250 employees) pays for the first £1000 in total. The process usually takes quite a few months and is administration heavy.

Or….you can arrange a WBA with us and we can arrange supply of the equipment (and perhaps on site training too), everything will happen MUCH faster with far less of an administrative burden on your company, your employee will become more effective and happier in their work sooner.

There is a cost of course, the cost of the WBA itself (as below) and a percentage of any costs of equipment / training etc over £1000 (if the equipment costs exceed this amount). We would argue that its a sensible price to pay compared to having a staff member unhappy and not performing as well as they could if the process takes many months instead of a few weeks.

Our People
Our pool of skilled, qualified assessors working across the UK are all very experienced at dealing with hearing loss in particular.

Our assessors are all trained in clear communication as well as having excellent assessment skills.To be frank most suppliers that offer this service will privately admit that they find hearing assessments difficult.

There simply isn’t the breadth of expertise to offer best advice in many cases. Some of the advice and equipment we see being offered is, to be kind, ‘mediocre’. 

We are the hearing experts with a depth of knowledge particularly with hearing loss and the best solutions available.

Although our specialism is hearing loss, our assessors are also very experienced at offering advice with other disabilities too, including visual impairment, ergonomics and other areas. We can offer general advice too! Our service is UK wide.

How does the assessment work?
Once we receive your instruction to proceed (usually via a purchase order emailed across to us), we allocate an assessor to the case. The assessor will make contact with the employee (or perhaps their line manager) to arrange a suitable time and place for the assessment to be carried out. We will explore the employee’s medical history, their current job role and what is involved, observing the client at work in their usual environment.

Together the assessor and employee will be able to identify issues that are hindering the employee’s work, working out solutions to the issues, enabling the employee to focus on carrying out their role rather than on the difficulties they have been experiencing, and formulate action plans.

Our experienced assessor will also offer immediate suggestions if appropriate which can be easily implemented on the day. The assessor will then withdraw to prepare a clear, concise report including issues identified, possible solutions / assessor’s recommendations, quotes for any suitable equipment and this will then be submitted to the employer for discussion with the employee.

So what is the cost?
The cost of an assessment is £400 ex vat. At this time we only offer the service to UK mainland postal addresses. Product Code – WBASSE01