Business Disability Forum comments on launch of new disability reporting scheme for businesses

22 November 2018

Commenting on the Department of Work and Pensions’ launch of Voluntary Reporting on Disability, Mental Health and Wellbeing today (22 November 2018), Business Disability Forum CEO Diane Lightfoot said:

"We welcome a focus on disability and mental health as logical and necessary priorities alongside reporting on gender and other protected characteristics and particularly as a tool in helping to close the disability employment gap.

"However, measuring this gap is complex; many disabled people may not identify as such or may not have shared their disability with their employer. Many of the queries we get to our advice service are around how organisations can encourage employees to talk about their disabilities or long-term conditions and to ask for the support they need. This requires the development and nurturing of a supportive culture where employees believe that the benefits of talking about their condition outweigh the perceived risks. Only then will we see reliable figures about these three important topics.

"Key to this is a whole organisation approach as set out through our Disability Standard framework; one which is led from the top and one in which individual managers are empowered and have the confidence to support their employees and put in place the practical adjustments they need. 

"We also know from our own research that there is too often a gap between the career progression of disabled people, including people with mental health conditions, and that of their non-disabled peers, and it is vital that this is addressed as part of creating a truly inclusive workplace.

"Only once disabled employees feel able to talk freely about their condition will we be able to have a truly meaningful measure of disability at work, and to start shifting the dial in creating an equal workplace for all.”

Diane Lightfoot, CEO, Business Disability Forum

Read the Department for Work and Pensions' information about the scheme on their website.