As part of our commitment to you to:
- Encourage Good Practice
- Influence Policy
Practice Index is delighted to be active supporters and disseminators of “Disability Confident” which is a scheme, started by the government in 2014, designed to help businesses become more confident about employing disabled people.
What is it?
The scheme, which currently has the backing of two years funding from the government, examines the reality of employment for people with a disability and seeks to:
- Provide employers with information to raise confidence in recruitment and
- “Break down barriers” which disabled people have found when seeking employment
- Increase understanding
- Help disabled people to have the opportunity to “fulfill their potential and realise their aspirations”
It is also important to us that mental health is very much included as part of the scheme because disability goes beyond physical issues. The Equality Act 2010 clearly defines a disability as someone:
- With a physical or mental impairment that
- Has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ effect on their ability to do normal daily activities
This is particularly important when the government is also working to increase levels of awareness of mental health issues and statistics from the campaign “Time to Change” (founded by charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness) show that one in four of us will be affected by mental illness in any given year, yet in a recent survey, “Time to Change” found that 87% of people with mental health problems reported the negative impact of stigma and discrimination on their lives.
What does it mean to your practice as an employer and business?
The Equality Act imposes obligations on your practice, as an employer, to ensure that you avoid discriminating against disabled applicants and employees and are able to make “reasonable adjustments”, but practices are often unsure how to access support or funds to achieve this.
A key factor of the campaign is that it enables all employers to acknowledge that they are unsure about employing disabled workers but then, as campaign supporter Kate Headley of The Clear Company says, it provides them “with the tools, confidence and support to have a go and get engaged”.
Disability Confident supporters highlight that the campaign features the many benefits of employing disabled workers:
- “I believe that the biggest benefit from having disabled employees in the workforce is that it promotes positive attitude towards disability”- Lizzie Baily, teacher at Medmerry Primary School who suffers from Muscular Dystrophy
- “It’s a great opportunity to expand talent into an organisation with some fairly simple adjustments and initiatives – Jennifer Whitehall, E-on
- “There’s a lot of ability out there, it’s about ability not disability” Adrian Peters, Recovery Career Service
- “There’s so much talent that is untapped out there that will support our businesses” – Mike Cherry, National Policy Adviser, The Federation of Small Businesses
Practice Index is here to support practice managers and their practices and, over the next few months, will be highlighting and providing tools which support you in achieving disability confidence.