Disability Confident Employer Scheme – What You Need to Know
The Disability Confident scheme is a system for employers to help them make the most of the talents of disabled people. The aim of the system is to challenge attitudes towards disability and increase understanding of it. It also aims to remove barriers to disabled people and those with long-term health conditions, allowing them to fulfil their potential and their aspirations.
Why employers should get involved
The aim of Disability Confident is to help companies find employees that become an integral part of their business, regardless of any disabilities they might have. It is also there to assist companies when an existing employee becomes disabled so that they can continue to fulfil their role within the company or find a suitable new one.
For employers, joining up for the scheme allows them to show that they are at the forefront of positively changing attitudes, behaviours and cultures in their industry. It is a badge of honour for companies who have adopted it.
It also lets businesses draw from the widest pool of talent and rescue and retain high-quality staff. It saves money and time in recruitment and training and can help reduce staff turnover by keeping valuable skills and experience within the company. It can reduce the levels and cost of sickness absence and improve employee morale by showing everyone is treated fairly.
Becoming Disability Confident
The Disability Confident scheme has three levels for businesses to move through. Each needs to be complete before the next can be started.
Level 1 – Disability Confident Committed
For an employer to be recognised as Disability Confident Committed, they must commit to and carry out at least one action to make a difference for disabled people. Commitments include:
- Inclusive and accessible recruitment
- Communicating vacancies
- Offering disabled people an interview for a role
- Making reasonable adjustments for them to access the property
- Offering support to existing disabled employees
Activities (need to identify at last one):
- Work experience or trials
- Paid employment
- Apprenticeships, internships or traineeships
- Job shadowing
- Student placement
- Sector-based work academy placements
When a business complies with Level 1, they will receive a certificate and a badge to display on the website for 12 months as well as a self-assessment to continue to the next stage.
Level 2 – Disability Confident Employer
Once an employer has reached Level 1, they can continue to work to become Level 2. There are two themes to this section – getting the right people for your business and keeping and developing the people the business already has.
Level 2 employers go that extra mile to help disabled people have a fair chance and once a business reaches this point, it gets another certificate and website badge that lasts for two years. The business can then look to become a Disability Confident Leader.
Level 3 – Disability Confident Leader
Companies in this category are champions within their industry or local area. In order to reach it, the business needs to:
- Have outside validation of the self-assessment
- Show what is being done as a Level 2 business
On reaching Level 3, there is another certificate and a badge for the website valid for three years.
As well as the level system, Disability Confident are also running a series of specialist themed activities around the UK. The next theme is on mental health in the workplace which ran from October alongside World Mental Health Awareness Day. Other events include workplace adjustments that show how easy and cost-effective it is to adapt a workplace to be accessible for disabled employees. Future themes include autism, neurodiversity and learning disabilities. You can contact the DWP for more information.