Press release: Business Disability Forum to hold summit on the future of disability in the workplace

26 February 2018

London, UK: Opportunities and risks to disabled employees posed by automation and other changes to the workplace will be the theme of a flagship Business Disability Forum event in April. 

The ‘Disability in the Modern Workplace’ conference, sponsored by HSBC, will bring together leading businesses, Government and charities to look to the future of disability-smart working.

The theme of the annual event was chosen in light of the unprecedented rate of change in workplaces around the world.  

It will discuss technological advances, automation and the growth of a new gig economy as factors that could provide both opportunities and challenges for disabled workers.

In the UK, legislative and economic changes could come as a result of Brexit, meaning that employers have to approach disability inclusion in new ways.

The event will include a ‘Question Time’ panel on the future of work chaired by acclaimed former newscaster Sir Martyn Lewis CBE, as well as speakers from leading organisations including Microsoft, Barclays, EY, Shell and GlaxoSmithKline.

They will join experts from Business Disability Forum in discussing changes to the workforce and how crucial gains made for disability inclusion over the last 25 years can be preserved and built upon as the world changes.

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

“We’re living – and working – in a world that is changing very rapidly. While many of these changes are very welcome, businesses must engage proactively to ensure they affect  disabled employees and customers in a positive and productive way.

“What’s more, we’re now in a position to reflect on the progress we have made in the realm of disability-smart working, and the steps we still need to take. Seizing the opportunities posed by technological advances, diverse workforces and evolving ways of working could bring us closer than ever to a world where disabled people, businesses and governments work together without barriers. But this will only happen if we approach these changes in the right way.

“We hope that this event, kindly sponsored by HSBC, will help employers and leaders to innovate in a way that makes them more disability-smart – which we know not only promotes a more equal society, but gives businesses access to bigger markets and employers access to a happy, talented workforce.”




Notes to editors:


1.      Business Disability Forum is a world-leading membership body bringing together business and the public sector to build disability-smart organisations. BDF has more than 25 years’ experience of working with public and private sector employers and service providers. For more information about the Forum please visit:  

2.      For further information or comment from Business Disability Forum please contact Samuel Buckley on