Access audit, staff training and partnership with Burges Salmon, an independent UK law firm working with clients ranging from large multi-nationals and public sector bodies to private individuals and families. Voted as the best law firm to work at in 2022, Burges Salmon has just under 900 staff.
As a national company with a large team, Burges Salmon wanted to ensure all of their employees felt that there were equal opportunities available to them in the workplace. This meant finding a way to assess whether their current measures were appropriate and identify areas to improve. For them, it was important that staff felt not only supported adequately, but supported well. Working with a third party specialist was crucial here, to make sure that the firm’s staff, with a range of health conditions, felt comfortable talking about their experiences and could be completely open and honest.
As well as this piece of research, Burges Salmon needed an accessibility audit of their physical office spaces in Bristol, London and Edinburgh. They needed individuals with lived experience of disability to test the spaces, including meeting rooms, social areas and other facilities such as toilets and showers, so as to identify where adjustments could be made.
WECIL approached the work through comprehensive audits, conversations and surveys, bringing in a range of perspectives as well as an understanding of how the business operates. This combination meant we were able to give appropriate suggestions and practical next steps for the business, rather than just listing the issues.
Our approach was bespoke to the needs of Burges Salmon as we built a relationship with their team. We have developed an ongoing partnership with them; accessibility isn’t just one thing to be fixed, but is an evolution of understanding that we support over time.
Burges Salmon described WECIL as easy to work with, attentive and with good breadth and depth of knowledge. We made sure we were there to provide informed guidance and answer questions every step of the way, from the colour of signage to policy. Given the extra challenge with Covid, Burges Salmon said that WECIL’s team coped very admirably.
The outcome of WECIL’s work continues to be hugely beneficial. As a result of the office audits, Burges Salmon have invested in improving the car park, getting automated doors and improving signage around the office. Our thorough understanding of a variety of impairments was illuminating for Burges Salmon’s, who could then apply this knowledge across the business.
Following the employee research, Burges Salmon have embarked on a detailed project to assess their recruitment and HR process to amend the way they run interviews and assessment centres. Line managers will be receiving more training on disability through a new compulsory training module, and all these changes have fed into their wider inclusion agenda. They are looking to rerun the disability research next year as part of their mission toward continual improvement.
Burges Salmon continue to view WECIL as a key partner, and the team are embedded within the business as a contact for the Disability forum.
‘WECIL aren’t just applying a standard process to a standard project, they’re basing it on who we are and what we need. I’m really impressed with the way that WECIL operates and the level of client service that they deliver.’
Roxanne Ratcliff |Diversity Inclusion and CR manager