Inclusive workplaces will be focus of new disability strategy

two people talking to illustrate inclusive workplacesA new strategy from the UK government promises more inclusive workplaces, easier commuting and better job prospects for millions of disabled people. The strategy sets out 100 immediate commitments supported by £1.6bn of funding alongside an ambitious agenda for future reform. As well as inclusive workplaces, the strategy covers a range of other areas including accessible housing and better access to justice, culture and the arts.

The government claims the strategy is focused on improving inclusion in the workplace, tackling the disability employment gap – currently at 28.6 percent – 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 percent 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 focussing 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 £300 million to create places, improve existing provision in schools and make accessibility adaptations for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.

The strategy outlines new technology making rail journeys easier and more accessible including enabling disabled passengers to contact staff from their seat on the train. The new support is planned to be in place by end of March 2022, with DfT supporting innovative projects that will improve communication for disabled passengers and others with reduced mobility on rail services. Projects will be supported with between £50k and £400k and will use new technology to make using the railways easier and more accessible.