Organisations recognised for leading the way on positive change
Winners of Business Disability Forum’s Disability-Smart 2019 Awards were announced last night (23 October) at a ceremony at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London. The awards aim to showcase best practice and raise the bar on inclusive business.
Winners include well-known supermarket chains and global tech companies, alongside public sector organisations, charities and small businesses. All were recognised for their work to enhance the experiences of disabled employees and customers by leading the way on positive and innovative change.
Several other finalists were highly commended at the event, which was supported by Barclays and co-hosted by Paralympian, Stef Reid.
Four new awards were added this year. They recognise the work of organisations and individuals in the areas of customer service, design, communications and marketing, and influencing.
They were presented alongside highly prized awards for senior disability champion, workplace experience, diversity and inclusion practitioner, inclusive technology, and global achievement. The ceremony concluded with the awarding of the popular Disabled People’s Choice Award 2019 to an organisation nominated by disabled students and graduates.
The Disability-Smart 2019 Award Winners and organisations highly commended are as follows:
Disability-Smart Senior Champion Award 2019
Winner: Tim Fallowfield, Company Secretary and Director of Corporate Services, Sainsbury’s
The Disability-Smart Senior Champion Award 2019 recognises the value of having a committed senior champion who is visible and vocal about why disability matters to them and to their organisation.
Tim Fallowfield received the award in recognition of the sheer range of work that he is leading both within Sainsbury’s and externally. Judges felt he had shown true leadership, using his position to enhance the experience of disabled people throughout the business and in the wider community.
Disability-Smart Design Award 2019 (new)
Winner: Herbal Essences
Highly commended: Disabled Sailors Association
Disability-Smart Design Award 2019 recognises outstanding design that shows real disability smart flair.
Herbal Essences won for a design that makes it easier for visually impaired consumers to distinguish its shampoo and conditioner products through the sense of touch. The judges commented on the beautiful, yet simple design, which uses tactile indentations to help differentiate between the products.
The Disabled Sailors’ Association were highly commended for designing and building accessible yachts and dinghies, which could be sailed and lived on by wheelchair users without help. The judges commented on the stunning design of the RoRoCat which allows wheelchair users to fully participate in the sailing experience.
Disability-Smart Workplace Experience Award 2019 (sponsored by Microlink)
Disability-Smart Workplace Experience Award 2019 recognises organisations which have gone the extra mile to create a great place to work for everyone.
Over the last 10 years MI5 has developed, delivered and continually improved its ability to support for disabled staff, ensuring that disability and ill health does not prevent talented individuals from making a full contribution to the protection of national security.
Under the mantra of “Raising Awareness, Removing Barriers and Fulfilling Potential”, MI5’s dedicated Diversity and Inclusion team has worked closely with a refreshed and energised Disability Staff Network to develop policies and working practices.
Disability-Smart Influencer Award 2019 (new)
Disability-Smart Influencer Award 2019 is for individuals and teams who have influenced real change that has or will improve the lives of disabled people.
The BBC won the award for their Neurodiversity initiative, BBC Cape (Creating a Positive Environment). The initiative has created positive change at the BBC for people with Neurodivergent conditions such as Autism, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Tourette’s and ADHD by removing barriers in the workplace and enabling neurodivergent individuals the opportunities to follow career ambitions and achieve their potential.
The judges felt that the team at the BBC, led by Leena Haque and Sean Gilroy, shone a light for a hitherto underserved community.
Disability-Smart Technology for All Award 2019 (sponsored by Microlink)
Winner: Dubai Police
Disability-Smart Technology for All Award 2019 recognises technology that has the potential to improve the lives of everyone – including disabled people.
Dubai Police won the award for creating the World’s first smart police station free from human interaction. The technology allows disabled people (and indeed everyone) to interact with the police service in a discreet and accessible way. Judges commented on the invaluable role played by the technology, in a culture where people might not want to be seen to be visiting or being visited by the police.
Disability-Smart Customer Service Award 2019 (new)
Winner: Edinburgh Printmakers
Disability-Smart Customer Service Award 2019 recognises organisations which deliver outstanding service to every customer.
Edinburgh Printmakers won the award for creating a fully accessible arts venue. Judges felt that the organisation had pulled out all the stops, including moving to a new premises, in order to make themselves more accessible. Judges were impressed by the efforts and ambition of a small organisation.
Disability-Smart Communications & Marketing Campaign Award 2019 (new)
Highly Commended: Busy Life Ltd
Disability-Smart Communications & Marketing Campaign Award 2019 highlights campaigns which reach out to an inclusive and diverse audience.
Microsoft won the category for their Tech that Empowers Everyone Campaign in collaboration with the John Lewis Partnership and The Guardian Newspaper. Microsoft won for the sheer range and impact of their campaign.
Busy Life Ltd, was highly commended for its Diversity Designs™ campaign, for everyone who runs. Judges felt its range of clothing embraces and celebrates different races, religions, shapes, ages, and abilities.
Disability-Smart Multinational Organisation Award 2019
This award recognises the efforts of multinational organisations to become inclusive places to work, right across their global operations.
Shell won the award for their global focus on mental health and their wider global disability programme. Judges commented on the range and sophistication of the work being undertaken across their global operations.
Disability-Smart Diversity & Inclusion Practitioner Award 2019
Winner: Neil Milliken, ATOS
Highly Commended: Satjinder Jabanda-Wilson, Virgin Media
Highly Commended: ‘Discover UCL’ team, UCL
Disability-Smart Diversity & Inclusion Practitioner Award 2019 recognises the work of individuals, who have made an extraordinary commitment to achieve change, through their practitioner roles.
Neil Milliken from ATOS won the award for crafting and implementing ATOS’ Global Accessibility policy, for organising and facilitating global awareness events across seven countries, and for co-creating the popular online community, AXS Chat.
Satjinder Jabanda-Wilson, from Virgin Media, was highly commended for her work championing disabled and vulnerable customers.
The team behind ‘Discover UCL’ (Manjula Patrick, Sannah Gulamani, Charles Boonchareon and Alison Forbes) were also highly commended for delivering a programme to support deaf students’ preparation for university; helping students develop the confidence and skills to flourish in Higher Education.
Disabled People’s Choice Award 2019
Winner: EmployAbility (nominated by Harry Ashcroft)
The popular Disabled People’s Choice Award is an opportunity for disabled people to nominate an employer, retailer, website or experience that they feel is making a real difference to their lives and the lives of others.
The award was won by not-for-profit organisation, EmployAbility, for its commitment to assisting disabled students and graduates to transition successfully into employment. Judges were impressed by the organisation’s success in recruiting candidates for blue-chip companies and government.
Diane Lightfoot, CEO, Business Disability Forum, said:
“The nominations for the Disability-Smart Awards simply get bigger and better each year. It’s an honour to be involved in the awards and to see the amazing work being carried out by individuals and organisations to create truly inclusive workplaces, products and experiences.
“The Disability-Smart Awards celebrate success, but we hope they will do much more than that. By sharing best practice, we want to show what can be done and what should be done.
“1 in 5 people are disabled, so it makes business sense for everyone to make disability inclusion a priority.”