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Let's talk about the new #NationalDisabilityStrategy

Let's talk about the new #NationalDisabilityStrategy

In the last week, the government has published the national disability strategy....

 

On the 28th of July 2021, the UK government outlined the national disability strategy that the government will implement from this point onward. DJM will examine the government's proposals, presenting an analysis of how beneficial the government is taking will actually be.

The national disability strategy has been outlined and set out in three parts:

  • Part 1: setting out immediate commitments that will be made to improve every day for an individual with a disability
  • Part 2: setting out the change plan. The government will work with people who have a disability, putting them at the heart of government funding and policy-making.
  • Part 3: summarising the actions for each governmental department, with ministerial champions setting out their commitment to the strategy.

 

Though DJM will be examining the commitments of each governmental department, we will primarily be focusing on the transport and employment sections of the report, as they directly apply to our purpose.

 

 

 

Examining Part 1 of the National Disability Strategy [UK Government

 

Jobs: making the world of work more inclusive and accessible [GOV.UK]

 

The UK Gov outlines that not all individuals with a disability or impairment would work or want to work in the initial report. However, from those who can, 56% of individuals with a disability said they strongly agree/ agree in needing a lot more support in seeking and applying for jobs.

 

The report highlights the Disability Discrimination Act of 1995, succeeded by the Equality Act of 2010, which more clearly outlined the rights and allowances allotted to individuals with a disability. In accordance with workplace practice, the Equality Act states that it is firmly against the law to discriminate against a candidate, job- seeker or employee n the basis of a disability or impairment. Employers should also be making reasonable adjustments for any employees or candidates where it is required.

 

The national disability employment gap has decreased from 33.8% to 28.6%. Now, this is a definite improvement. However, so much more needs to be done to create accessible hiring practices that support individuals with an impairment or disability.

The action the government is taking to ensure individuals with a disability can start, stay in and progress in their career:

 

  • They are going beyond the Health and Work Convention annually hosted by the government and provide support, advice, and assistance to those who had worked but have fallen into long-term health conditions by giving alternative working opportunities and in-work support staff where they are needed.
  • DWP [The Department for Work and Pensions] is looking to start some voluntary surveys to see what they can do to help employees support.
  • One of the big schemes that the government is beginning to take on is the transforming access to work scheme: these initiatives will provide access to work support for the government, and this is not covered by the employer's responsibility to make reasonable adjustments; this can include special equipment, support worker services or help in transportation to and from work.

 

DWP's initiatives to transform access to work:

Access to Work is becoming a digital service that will become accessible on the DWP's site. This project aims to radically improve employees' experience in a workplace in the case they have a disability or impairment. Some of the improvements to the site and service include:

[taken from the gov. UK site]

 

  • 24/7 Online Access to Work application to enable disabled people and employers to choose a time that is convenient for them to make their application
  • a digital renewal process with a text or email reminder service to ensure continuity of support
  • a fully digital Communication Support Interview customer journey process
  • updated Access to Work staff guidance, providing stakeholder feedback is incorporated, and that social model language is used throughout the guidance

 

Rallying the employers and ensuring they train and become disability confident employers:

 

The government's research indicates that small and medium-sized businesses are best equipped to provide support and advice for individuals with disabilities. For this report, companies have had to state the shortfalls in their disability policies, though no companies have been named, for the sake of confidentiality.

 

Workforce reporting is another key factor the government is overhauling because the practice was not strategised well and was, in fact, relatively lax. So the DWP has been working with large companies, particularly ensuring that they part-take in voluntary training to understand mental and well-being predicaments and where to find support.

 

Whilst this is an improvement, and reform was definitely needed in terms of workplace training and tackling workplace discrimination, whether explicit or covert- the training is still optional. Many organisations and NGO's have pushed for this type of training to be mandatory, as it should be. Without the proper training, staff may not be aware of the acceptable terms, manners, and behaviours to address individuals with a disability. This can result in them feeling uncomfortable or discriminated against in their career. Suppose the training and workshops are voluntary for the foreseeable future. In that case, employers should actively encourage employees to take the training because it can only be beneficial.

 

This article will only cover part 1 of the national disability strategy; hopefully, our aim here at DJM is to keep you up to date with what the government has implemented. The report is long, so we have summarised and analysed some critical points concerning transport and workplace accessibility. Part 2 and 3 shall be published and with you soon.

 

If you enjoy our content, go ahead and check out our website wwww.diversejobsmatter.co.uk, to see how we are committed and dedicated to ensuring fairer hiring practices so everyone can get quality jobs.

 

 

*Written by diversity specialist Mahnoor Ahmad*