Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) consultation and equality analysis released

By NUBSLI | Published on 10 December 2015

Last updated on April 5th, 2019 at 8:17 pm

Related: DSA

The Government have just released the results of their consultation into changes to funding and an equality analysis for disabled students’ allowance (DSA) in England, which is available on their website.

Jo Johnson, Minister of State for Universities and Science, has also just released a Written Statement.

The summary of these is that the government plans to proceed with their plans to no longer fund Bands 1 and 2 graded non-medical helper roles except for sighted guide assistance for disabled students via DSA for new applicants in England.

This means universities and colleges have to fund those roles themselves or ensure students’ needs are met through “more inclusive practice”.

What does this mean?

“Non Medical Helper”, often shortened to “NMH”, means a support worker who provides support in an academic environment. NMH roles are banded into 4 bands and some exceptions which are explained with job specifications, qualifications, experiences and pay rates in the “Non-Medical Help Services Reference Manual”

Examples of NMH roles and banding are:

  • British Sign Language/English interpreters – Band 4
  • Manual Notetakers – Band 2
  • Proof-readers – Band 1
  • Electronic Notetakers – Band 3
  • STTR/Lipspeakers/Deafblind communicators are all exempt from banding.

From September 2016 universities and colleges will be responsible for funding manual notetaking and proofreading for students where inclusive practice does not remove the need for this support.

NUBSLI recommends that applicants and prospective students worried about their support should contact their planned universities’ disability support services as soon as possible for personalised advice.

Urgent consultation feedback needed by 9th December

This is not the end of the cuts. Like the New Framework Agreement there will be a DSA Framework for NMH workers. The Department for Business Innovation & Skills (BIS) are carrying out a consultation about the “Quality Assurance Framework” for minimum qualifications, experience, outputs/outcomes and professional registration for each banded NMH role. All contributions are anonymous.

We only have until 9th December to give our views.

Have your say

Key slides in the consultation are:
13 – Manual notetakers – stress the specific needs of deaf students (if BIS can exempt sighted guides then this could be exempted too!).
14 – CSWs in FE and HE (and when they should not be used and a fully qualified interpreter used instead!).
15 – Electronic Notetakers.
20 – BSL/English interpreters. (What constitutes qualified and why?).
21 – Language support for deaf students.

How to complete the consultation:

Open the consultation website

  • Click on Open Session
  • Click OK
  • Click Join

You should now be able to see the NMH Qualify Assurance Framework slide deck. To navigate the pages please use the buttons on the toolbar at the top of the screen — the white triangle (go forward on page) will take you to the next page.

To add your comments/answer click in the bottom box in the bottom right hand corner where you will see the words “enter your contribution here”  &mdahs; please use your keyboard to type your comments and click the green tick to submit.

You will see your comments move into the larger box above — you can continue to type as many comments as you wish but please remember to click the green tick to ensure they are submitted and appear in the box above.

To leave the session click the blue arrow in the top left hand side of the screen, then click the blue box in the left hand side of the screen then click the green arrow in the log out box and finally close your browser.

You can re-enter the sessions as many times as you like and you will be able to access the sessions 24/7 until the 9 December 2015.

You can watch Jen Dodds explain in BSL why it’s important to respond to this consultation in her Limping Chicken article .