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About Catherine Hale

I am a disabled researcher, coproduction and inclusion consultant. I founded Chronic Illness Inclusion and, through this work, developed the concept of energy-limiting conditions (ELCs) as a tool for disability advocacy. 

My work centres on disability employment, chronic illness, flexible working, disability benefits, work and health, disability inclusion and ableism. 

Energy limiting conditions affect 1 in 3 disabled people in the UK. 'ELC' and 'energy impairment' are a new way of describing long term conditions that restrict the amount and pace of activity someone can do. ELCs are typically fluctuating conditions and are a type of invisible, or less-apparent, disability. The term ELC allows disabled people to advocate for equality and inclusion on the basis of the impact of their health condition, regardless of medical understandings of cause or diagnosis.

For collaboration and consultancy you can contact me via a contact form in the menu button.

My Work

My 'proper jobs' have been few and far between because formal employment generally doesn't fit around my disability. Instead, most of my work has been in the form of research projects, collaborations with NGOs and academics, reports, policy engagement and consultancy. My publications are here.

Proper jobs

Research Lead and Head of Astriid Consulting Astriid (January 2022 – December 2023)

-          Developed disability inclusion training for businesses on supporting people with long term conditions at work, including flexible working and inclusive recruitment.

-          Led research into Astriid candidate’s barriers to employment and support needs.

Founding Director and Research Lead Chronic Illness Inclusion Project (2017 - 2022)

-          Lead researcher and project manager, CIIP, part of the DRILL programme.

-          Founder and Director, Chronic Illness Inclusion, an advocacy organization promoting rights and inclusion for people with energy limiting conditions and chronic pain.

Research and coproduction projects

2024 Consultant researcher, Can flexible job design improve employment outcomes for people with fluctuating disabilities? King's College London.

2023 PPI facilitator, NIHR: Building towards a vision ofWork-Health Expert Research Collaboration.

2022 Associate Researcher, University of Liverpool. Disbelief and Disregard in relation to medicine, chronic illness and disability

2021 Coproduction Lead, University of Kent. Towards Dignity, Security and Fairness in benefit systems across Europe.

2020-2021 Research Associate, Leeds University Business School, Chronic illness, employment and social security. ESRC Knowledge Exchange Programme.

2021 Research consultancy for the Centre for Health and Disability Assessment (Maximus) on the customer journey with PIP and WCA.

2018-2021 Commissioner, The Commission on Social Security led by Experts by Experience (University of Warwick/Trust for London)

Impact - policy and media work

Invited speaker, Employment Related Services Association’s (ERSA) Employer Engagement Forum, chaired by Prof Jo Ingold. September 2023.

Invited speaker, “Energy limiting conditions and the impact on work”. Business Disability Forum, Employment Network event. March 2023.

Podcast guest, Workworkwork Future of Work Lab, University of Melbourne.

Expert witness, Work and Pensions Committee inquiry into health assessments for benefits, 2022.

Invited speaker, Disability and Social Inclusion seminar series. City University. 2021

Expert witness, Work and Pensions Committee inquiry into the disability employment gap, 2021.

BBC Radio 4 interview You and Yours, 2020. Speaking about energy impairment and disability inclusion.

Invited speaker, The Future of Assessments and Social Security for Disabled People for Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell MP, 2018.

BBC Ouch podcast guest ‘Rationing energy – and other chronic illness life hacks’, 2017.


Advisory roles and networks

 ‘Cripping the Exhaustion Economy’ ISRF/Liverpool University

Talking about Poverty’ On Road Media (Heard) /Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Member of Independent Living Strategy Group, chaired by Baroness Jane Campbell.

Beyond a safe and secure transition’ Scottish Campaign on Rights to Social Security.

Welfare at a Social Distance’ University of Salford/ESRC

Covid Realities’ University of York/Birmingham/CPAG.

A Refuge for All: improving access to violence and abuse services for disabled women. Shaping Our Lives.

Member of Spartacus Network of disabled researchers (2013-2016)


Popular posts from this blog

What are energy-limiting conditions? An introduction to chronic illness at work

What are energy limiting conditions? A guide for employees and their managers is a new resource, produced for Astriid charity. I hope it will be a gamechanger for unlocking conversations about health, disability and work, and lead to more people with chronic illness getting the support they need at work. I've lived with an energy limiting condition (ELC) for decades, but for a long time, I didn’t have the language to describe my needs and ask for adjustments that could have helped me take part in life.  I didn't even know if I was allowed to do so, because I didn't see people like me in representations of disability or in the landscape of disability rights.  The work I did with Chronic Illness Inclusion (CII) taught me that many of us feel the same. The gap between our day-to-day reality and society's understanding of chronic illness as a form of disability is vast. Many people report that this conceptual gap, and the lack of understanding from everyone - from friends

ELCResearch - a new mailing list for research and coproduction

 I founded Chronic Illness Inclusion (CII), an advocacy organisation for people living with energy limiting conditions, chronic illness and pain. CII began life as a funed research project in 2017. From the start, the CII Project mailing list was about building a community of people living with chronic illness and chronic pain who didn't feel represented by existing disability or social justice advocacy organisations. Over the years I, and others, ran various surveys and consultations that gave subscribers the opportunity to have their voice heard on issues such as social policy, disability rights and healthcare services. The level of engagement and participation in research from subscribers to the CII Project list was amazing. Sadly, CII was not viable as a vehicle to continue the research and advocacy work that was at the heart of the initial research project. It was too hard to get funding. Most of all, it was not sustainable for me, as someone living with chronic illness, to le

Work and Health Expert Research Collaborative

I am delighted to part of a 10 month network of research experts in the area of work and health. My role is ensuring that disabled people and those with health conditions are involved in the planning and prioritising of future research, alongside SpeakUp Rotherham and Breakthrough UK.  The project is led by Prof Adam Whitworth of the University of Strathclyde and funded by the National Institute of Health Research. The Work and Health Development Award allows us to focus on identifying future research & policy priorities and innovative possibilities in the UK work-health landscape. Employers, policy stakeholders, disabled people & the general public are at its heart. And a stellar team of diverse expertise from   University of Strathclyde, King's College London, The University of Sheffield and  University of East Anglia are coming together to address a key challenge: the 2.5 million people excluded from the UK labour market due to ill health.