32 Disability employment gap that the campaign would do little to address ingrained discrimination by employers.136 Disability Rights UK noted that it was possible to be awarded Disability Confident accreditation “without actually employing a disabled person”.137 Analysis of members also revealed that many of the campaign partners operated in areas related to disability employment: for example, in supporting disabled people to find work. Such employers could be expected to be both relatively well-informed about employing disabled people already, and to perceive a business benefit to accreditation.138 54. We heard that the campaign needed a greater focus on employer behaviour and on employer responsibilities under the Equality Act, and would need to sign up a greater number and wider range of employers to make a noticeable impact.139 Mike Adams told us that putting forward a stronger and wider business case for employing disabled people through the campaign could play a key role in achieving both of these objectives.140 Scope, a disability charity, recommended that in the medium to longer-term, the Government should use insights from an evaluation of Disability Confident to develop its strategy for engaging employers.141 55. The Minister told us that the Department had recently relaunched Disability Confident. She explained the new scheme “has some teeth to it” and will function more like a “kite mark”.142 To reach the higher levels of accreditation, for example, businesses must be independently audited. She also told us that Disability Confident businesses will be given preference in government procurement; a move endorsed by some of our witnesses.143 The Department has also created a Disability Confident “Business Leaders Group”, intended to encourage “every business to take a proper look at the relationship between work and health, and what that means for their business and productivity”.144 The College of Occupational Therapists had told us that buy-in from senior business leaders was essential, suggesting that Disability Confident could develop into a series of “spin off campaigns by individual professions and employment/professional bodies”.145 136 Sense (DEG0065), Professor Ralph Fevre and Dr Deborah Foster (DEG0066), Trade Union Congress (DEG0055), Breakthrough UK (DEG0053), Salford Welfare Rights and Debt Advice Service (DEG0064) 137 Disability Rights UK (DEG0041) 138 Professor Nicholas Bacon (DEG0074) 139 Professor Nicholas Bacon (DEG0074), Association of British Insurers (DEG0072), David Gillon (DEG0071), Sense (DEG0065), Pluss (DEG0040), College of Occupational Therapists (DEG0063), Inclusion Scotland (DEG0061), National Autistic Society (DEG0060), Breakthrough UK (DEG0053), Salford Welfare Rights and Debt Advice Service (DEG0064), Kennedy Scott (DEG0056), National Deaf Children’s Society (DEG0057), Lampard School (DEG0082) 140 Q37, Q48 (Mike Adams), See also: Scope (DEG0069), Twist Partnership (DEG0054), United Response (DEG0030), Kennedy Scott (DEG0056), Essex County Council (DEG0051), Result CIC (DEG0078) 141 Scope (DEG0069). See also: Action on Hearing Loss (DEG0038), Professor Nicholas Bacon (DEG0074), 142 “Kitemark” is a UK product and service safety qualification mark. 143 Learning and Work Institute (DEG0086), Disability Rights UK (DEG0041), Joseph Rowntree Foundation (DEG0085) 144 HC Deb 31 October 2016, c667 (Damian Green); See also DWP (DEG0083) 145 College of Occupational Therapists (DEG0063), ERSA (DEG0087)
Disability employment gap 33 Figure 8: Sample Disability Confident promotional poster disability confident make it your business Employers tell us recruiting and promoting disabled employees is one of the best business decisions they’ve ever made. Their diverse talents, creativity and insights into a fast-growing customer demographic help build sustainable growth. For more information visit: www.gov.uk/dwp/disabilityconfident Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/416296/poster-disabilityconfident-make-it-your-business-mar-2015.pdf 56. The Government has little prospect of halving the disability employment gap unless employers are fully committed to taking on and retaining more disabled people. The relaunched Disability Confident, the Government’s flagship campaign to promote disability employment to employers, needs to address many of the criticisms of the original campaign. It is currently too early to assess its impact. Much of whether it is successful, however, will depend on it developing a high profile, reaching and signing up large numbers of employers, and being seen as a valuable accreditation for businesses—including those who might not otherwise engage. To assess whether Disability Confident is meeting its objective of increasing disability employment, and to learn lessons for future employer engagement strategies, we recommend that the Department commission an evaluation of the campaign before 2020. This should take into account what changes members display in their hiring and employee retention behaviour, as well as establishing whether it is attracting a broad spectrum of employers.