Disability targets for public sector to be introduced this year

Public sector employers will be required to recruit more people with mental and learning disabilities to meet government targets introduced later this year.

The government’s New Opportunities White Paper on social mobility reveals that the sector will be required to alter hiring policies and recruit more disabled people.

It states: “The public sector needs to lead by example in its recruitment of those with moderate to severe learning disabilities and severe mental health conditions. The Department of Health is leading work to help the NHS employ more people from the groups, and the Civil Service will modify its recruitment practices to do the same.“

Figures from the Office for National Statistics last year showed that 6.6% of permanent civil servants had declared themselves disabled, although it is unclear how many had learning difficulties.

David Congdon, head of campaigns and policy at disability charity Mencap, welcomed the move.

“There are too few disabled employees in the public sector, but this new strategy should strongly encourage government bodies to address serious diversity imbalances,” he told Personnel Today.

A government spokesman confirmed a cross-government report was under way to determine current numbers, and said a new employment strategy would be launched in the spring.

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