Disability Smart Framework: Covering ten areas of your business
What does it mean to be disability smart?
According to latest government figures, 52.3% of disabled people are in employment in the UK – compared to 81.2% of the working age population as a whole. That is a huge and untapped talent pool which employers simply cannot afford to ignore.
The Purple Pound – the spending power of disabled people and their families – is estimated to be £274bn per annum in the UK alone.
When it comes to employing and retaining job candidates with disabilities or long-term conditions, and serving disabled customers and clients, ‘best practice’ needs to become “business as usual” not the exception. This is what it means to be disability smart.
How can Business Disability Forum help?
We’re proud to present our comprehensive and refreshed suite of Disability Smart Framework tools and accompanying support, generously sponsored by our Partner Unilever.
The Disability Smart Framework and our support for your organisation
We have developed a framework of measures reflecting four levels of activity (leadership, process and policies, delivery and review) within ten business areas that will be common across all private and public sector organisations. Business areas include; Leadership, Learning and development, Workplace adjustments, Recruitment, Customers and services users, Procurement, Communication, Built environment and Technology.
These measures are comprehensive and allow organisations to review current practices and identify areas for action.
The framework of measures that underpins our Disability Smart Self-Assessment and Disability Smart Audit is comprehensive.
Our ethos is that getting it right for disabled people means a whole-organisational approach – it is not just the domain of HR or D&I teams. Our Disability Smart Framework is therefore structured into ten key areas for businesses to focus on:
1. Leadership: You recognise the importance of disabled people to your business and the societies in which you operate. You promote your commitment to best practice internally and externally.
2. Learning and development: You equip employees so that they understand your commitment to best practice and are confident interacting with disabled people, knowing what to do and how to do it.
3. Workplace adjustments: You anticipate the needs of disabled people and have a robust process for making any reasonable adjustments which might be needed by individuals.
4. Recruitment: You attract and recruit disabled people, with processes that enable you to access to the widest talent pool at every level.
5. Retention: You value all your employees, including those who are disabled or become disabled, and are committed to their retention and development.
6. Customers and service users: You value your disabled customers, clients and service users and address their needs when developing and delivering your products and services.
7. Procurement: You expect your suppliers and corporate partners to reflect your values and enable you to meet your commitment to best practice.
8. Communication: Your communication channels are accessible to disabled people, and whenever necessary you also make reasonable adjustments for individuals.
9. Built environment: Your built environment is accessible to people with disabilities, and whenever necessary you also make reasonable adjustments for individuals.
10. Technology: Your technology is accessible and usable by disabled people, and you also make reasonable adjustments for individuals.
Within each of the above sections we have developed a framework of measures designed around four levels of activity (leadership, process and policies, delivery and review).
How Disability Smart is your organisation? Find out by taking our Self-Assessment.
You can undertake the Self-Assessment independently or discuss the questions and answers with your Business Partner or Senior Business Partner. They are here to guide you through the questions and help you prioritise actions depending on your scores if you would like them to. You can fill in the Self-Assessment in full, or section by section – however works best for you.
In terms of other support, our dedicated Disability Smart Toolkit links directly to the Disability Smart Framework and has a wealth of resources to guide you through it. We also have a series of webinars coming up in 2021/2022 which will be recorded and stored in the toolkit.
Undertaking a validated Disability Smart Audit
Some Members and Partners go on to do a Disability Audit after a Self-Assessment or prefer to do this at the outset. This uses the same framework of questions but, in this instance, organizations provide evidence which is validated by Business Disability Forum. This provides a deeper dive and richer analysis of current performance and a fuller report, action plan and consultation about future strategy.
Organisations who are audited and score 70%-79% receive our Disability Smart ‘Bronze’ award, those that score between 80% and 89% receive our ‘Silver’ award and those that achieve over 90% will receive our ‘Gold’ award.
If you have any questions please contact us to discuss the Disability Smart suite of products and support on firstname.lastname@example.org or talk to your main contact at Business Disability Forum.