New National Disability Strategy launched
A new National Disability Strategy launched by Government aims to improve inclusion in the workplace for disabled people and narrow the employment gap. The strategy sets out 100 immediate commitments supported by £1.6bn of funding alongside an ambitious agenda for future reform.
Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said:
“Just as our talented Paralympians are set to take the stage in Tokyo, at home we are harnessing that same ambition and spirit, to build a better and fairer life for all disabled people living in the UK. Our new National Disability Strategy is a clear plan – from giving disabled people the best start in school to unlocking equal job opportunities, this strategy sets us on a path to improve their everyday lives.”
Work and Pensions Secretary of State, Thérèse Coffey, said:
“This national strategy will help level up opportunity and improve the everyday experience of disabled people, whether that is at home; travelling on public transport; using the local high street or going online; enjoying culture, the arts or the great outdoors; and exercising civic roles like jury service and voting.
“It sets out the practical actions we will take now, alongside clear accountability for delivering them, as well as renewing our ambition to do even more as we build back fairer.”
A person has a disability as defined under the Equality Act if they have a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on that person's ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities, such as going for a walk, making lunch, or reading a book. Disability also relates to where an individual has a health issue that has or has the propensity of lasting 12 months or more. The strategy is focused on improving inclusion in the workplace, tackling the disability employment gap – currently at 28.6% – and making sure children with special educational needs and disabilities are at the heart of the strategy, including:
- Consulting on introducing workforce reporting for businesses with more than 250 staff on the number of disabled people. A move designed to improve inclusive practice across the UK’s biggest employers and builds on existing gender reporting requirements.
- Increasing the number of disabled people employed by MI5, MI6, GCHQ, the Reservists and the civilian military by 2030. MI6 has set an interim target of 9% by 2025.
- Launching a new online advice hub available to both disabled people and employers, which provides information and advice on disability discrimination in the workplace, flexible working and rights and obligations around reasonable adjustments. For the first time, the one stop shop will make it easier for disabled people to navigate the workplace.
- Piloting an Access to Work Adjustments Passport to help smooth the transition into employment and support people changing jobs. Pilots will be taking place this year focusing on young people leaving education and veterans leaving the armed forces. The Adjustments Passport will capture the in-work support needs of the individual and empower them to have confident discussions about adjustments with employers. It will also set an expectation with the employer that specialist aids and appliances move when their employee progresses in work or moves post.
- Investing £300m to create places, improve existing provision in schools and make accessibility adaptations for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.
The Disability Strategy also covers a range of other areas including access to homes that meet disabled people’s needs, access to public transport, as well as access to justice, culture and the arts. It marks the first cross-Government endeavour to improve disabled people’s everyday lives with legislation, policy and funding from across all corners of Government.
Minister for Disabled People, Justin Tomlinson, said:
“For the first time, we have real cross-Government focus, with clearly set out priorities and aims. We are absolutely committed to putting disabled people at the heart of Government policy making and service delivery. Their voices, insights and experiences are central to this strategy and our future approach. By engaging disabled people, their families, carers and organisations, collectively we will deliver real and lasting change. That’s empowered us to focus on the things disabled people tell us are most important to them, and crucially they’ll be able to hold us to account as we deliver real and lasting change.”