Disability needs of staff and customers neglected by employers

Some of the UK’s top employers still have a significant way to go in meeting the needs of disabled employees and customers, the Employers’ Forum on Disability (EFD) has warned.

The membership group’s Disability Standard – an in-depth biennial self-assessment of an organisation’s performance on every aspect of disability – found that fewer than half ensure products and services are accessible for millions of disabled customers.

Only half monitor the number of disabled people who apply for jobs and then track their progress through the recruitment process to appointment. And just half of respondents ensure that training and development is accessible for disabled staff.

However, two-thirds of employers track how successful they are in retaining disabled employees.

The public sector outperformed private sector companies in major areas. Notably, in valuing disabled people as customers; embedding disability equality within individual departments; and taking a planned, senior management-led approach to becoming ‘disability confident’.

EFD chief Susan Scott-Parker said: “The good news from the Disability Standard 2009 is that, overall, organisations are improving. We congratulate all those who have shown their commitment to getting it right on disability by voluntarily taking part in this benchmark assessment.

“Given one in three people are disabled or close to someone who is, organisations that meet the needs of disabled customers win more business.”

More than 100 private and public sector organisations from a range of sectors took part in the Disability Standard 2009. These included BT, BBC, Bradford & Airedale Teaching Primary Care Trust, Hampshire Police Force, Lloyds Banking Group and Sainsbury’s.

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