Disability equality charity Scope has become the first organisation to publicise the experiences, health and wellbeing of its disabled employees – and it has encouraged other employers to follow suit.
Almost one in five (17%) of respondents to its 2018 staff survey have an impairment, condition or identify as disabled, which is broadly in line with the proportion of disabled working age people in the UK (18.6% according to the Office for National Statistics’ Labour Force Survey).
Staff with disabilities
It is the first employer to publicise the information following the launch of the government’s voluntary reporting framework on disability, mental health and wellbeing in November.
Anna Bird, executive director of policy at Scope, said the introduction of the framework, which the charity worked on with the government, was a watershed moment.
She added: “We will only be able to tackle disability unemployment if we understand the scale of the problem, and the framework was a good first step to doing that. The government must now ensure that this information shapes future approaches to disability employment.
“In line with the framework, we’re calling for all employers with more than 250 employees to collect, analyse and publish information about the experiences of their disabled employees. Information on disability is crucial for employers to understand what action they need to take to recruit and retain disabled people.”
Scope is publishing a user-friendly guide on corporate reporting for businesses later this month, to help them comply with the framework.
Janina Vallance, Scope’s executive director of people and change, underlined how important it was for the charity to pioneer the way for other employers: “By leading by example and being open about our performance, including areas where we know we need to improve, we want to encourage other businesses to report and work with us to make inclusive workplaces a reality.”
The Department for Work and Pensions last month revealed that there are 930,000 more disabled people in work compared with 2013. However, the National Audit Office has been critical of the government’s plans to get one million more disabled people into work by 2027 and claimed that it “does not yet know as much as it could about what works in helping disabled people to get and keep jobs”.
Scope’s report showed that 65% of its staff with a disability had a reasonable adjustment in place, but only half of these employees were satisfied with the process. In response, it was providing a central point of contact for advice and support to employees and managers and planned to research where dissatisfaction with its process for offering reasonable adjustment came from.
Nine in 10 had shared information about their impairment with their manager, while 71% had spoken to their colleagues.
Staff across the organisation were also broadly inclusive of others: 86% stated they were confident supporting and including disabled colleagues and 80% agreed that the culture at Scope empowered them to be open about themselves and celebrate diversity.
The report also highlighted the charity’s performance against several wellbeing measures. Nine in 10 agreed that they enjoyed the work they did and 60% said they were happy with the organisation’s flexible working arrangements.
However, only 71% agreed that they were treated with fairness and respect, which Scope conceded it wanted to improve, while only 32% said they rarely got stressed at work.