Disability-smart Awards 2017 - winners announced

London, UK – The winners of the 2017 Disability-smart Awards were announced on 16 November at an event hosted by Deutsche Bank in London.

Organised by Business Disability Forum  the awards are given to companies that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to employing, working with and doing business with disabled people.

They were presented by Geoff Adams-Spink, former BBC correspondent on disability and Director of Adams-Spink Ltd, and Mark Lomas, Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at HS2.

The judging panel for the awards included leading experts in the area of disability, representatives from BDF's Member and Partner organisations and disabled opinion leaders.


Seven prizes were awarded in total.


Senior disability champion of the year: Tony Cates, UK Partner at KPMG

Tony Cates received glowing praise for his leadership around disability issues at KPMG. Tony’s work has included sponsoring support networks for disability and mental health and also sharing expertise with companies that KPMG works with across the UK. Colleagues have said that Tony “is known not just internally at KPMG, but he is an executive disability champion who is recognised elsewhere across multiple sectors.”


Inclusive service provider of the year: Procter and Gamble

Procter and Gamble has been recognised for creating the first TV adverts ever aired with audio-description in the UK


Positive cultural change of the year: Civil Service

Judges recognised the Civil Service for making concerted efforts to create a more open and supportive culture around disability and mental health.


Workplace adjustments innovation of the year: RBS

RBS developed their own method of approaching workplace adjustments in a way that did not focus on disability and which was described by Business Disability Forum’s assessors earlier this year as “one of the best we have ever seen.”


Influential business of the year: Macmillan Cancer Support

Macmillan won the Award for their Working Through Cancer programme, a nationwide campaign to tackle the barriers faced by employees affected by cancer. The campaign sought to change workplace attitudes and challenge misconceptions, as well as equipping people affected with cancer with the knowledge to request support and adjustments from their employers and help returning to work.


Technology initiative of the year: Barclays

Barclays was recognised for becoming the first bank in the UK to introduce accessible debit card readers for disabled customers.


'Nothing about us without us’ award: Lloyds Banking Group

Judges praised Lloyds Banking Group for bringing together groups of disabled customers with staff to explore how the organisation’s services could be made as accessible as possible.


For more details around the individual awards, visit http://www.businessdisabilityforum.org.uk/our-services/disability-smart-award/awards-categories/ or contact Sam Buckley, Press Officer, at samuelb@businessdisability.org.uk

Geoff Adams-Spink, Director of Adams-Spink Ltd and former BBC correspondent, served on the judging panel. He praised the entries for showing “rigour as well as flair and imagination in bringing about positive change."

Geoff also said the entries show companies "Recognise that breaking down access barriers can have an extremely positive impact on people’s employability and powers of self-expression."


Diane Lightfoot, Chief Executive Officer at Business Disability Forum, said:

“The calibre of entries to our Disability-smart Awards this year was extremely high and the winners represent some of the best organisations for disabled employees and customers operating today.

“These awards celebrate those organisations where either through an individual champion, group efforts or technological innovations, where an inclusive and positive agenda around disability has been put front and centre.

“As providers of services and employers, we have the power to affect lasting positive change in society through excellent practice which is why we feel it is so necessary to recognise high achievement.”




Notes to Editors

1.     Business Disability Forum represents around 300 organisations and has more than twenty-five years’ experience of equipping people with the expertise to create disability-smart organisations. Business Disability Forum, its Partners and Members do this by improving the understanding of disability in business, removing barriers and making adjustments for individuals.

2.     For more information, contact Samuel Buckley, Press Officer, by phone on 020 7403 3020 or by emailing samuelb@businessdisabilityforum.org.uk.