Disability in 2020: Time for business

Annual conference. Disability in 2020: Time for business. Wednesday 22 April 2020. Sponsored by HSBC.
Great event with some excellent speakers with a broad range of experience. Well done BDF!

We have been closely monitoring updates on the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), and also national Government advice on travel and events. 

The health, safety and welfare of our members, their friends, families and the wider community is of paramount importance to us, indeed it is core to our mission.

We therefore will be postponing our Business Disability Forum Annual Conference and hope to announce a new date later in 2020.

Date: Postponed

Time: Postponed

Sponsored by HSBC

Ten years on from the Equality Act and a quarter of a century after the landmark Disability Discrimination Act, how do we ensure disability is a business priority in 2020?

We'll be answering this and more at our 2020 annual conference 'Disability in 2020: Time for business'.

Following the success of last year’s sell-out annual conference, we are excited to announce our programme for this year, where, at the start of the new decade, we will be looking back at where we’ve come from and asking – what’s next?

Taking place in the British Library Conference Centre and sponsored by Business Disability Forum Partner HSBC, we’ll be hearing from businesses who are putting disability at the heart of their agenda, and asking what more needs to be done to truly shift the dial on disability inclusion.

We have a packed programme for the day with a line-up that includes:

Back to the Future – The Phil & Simon show live!

Disability consultants and Business Disability Forum Ambassadors Phil Friend and Simon Minty have campaigned for disability inclusion for many years – join us as they bring their popular podcast live to the stage! They’ll be talking about fighting for legal rights, what it was like growing up as a disabled person, how it felt when the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 was passed and their hopes for the future – and what they would like to see happen.

Business disability debates - What does disability mean in 2020?

Chaired by Guardian Society Editor David Brindle, the first in our series of “Business Disability Debates” will get to the heart of the question of what disability means in 2020. Bringing in themes of identity, visible and non-visible conditions and the context of our rapidly changing society, we will be asking: is a new definition of disability needed? And is the Equality Act 2010 fit for purpose ten years on? Joining the debate will be Catalina Devandas Aguilar, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Charlie Eckton, Consultant Business Psychologist with Genius Within.

Mind the gap

According to the ONS, disabled people were less likely to have a degree-level qualification, with 21.8% of disabled people having any degree compared with 38.0% of non-disabled people in 2019. Learn from our expert panel including Lord Kevin Shinkwin, author of “Able to Excel”, as they discuss what’s needed for today’s disabled graduates to thrive in the workplace. We’ll also be asking what’s needed when it comes to data around disability – what should we be actually measuring, what should be asked and monitored in the workplace – and what should the data be used for? We’ll be hearing from Tim Jarman, Assistant Director, Diversity and Inclusiveness at EY and Allan MacKillop, Disability Lead at the BBC – both of which report voluntarily on their disability pay gap and asking: should disability reporting be mandatory?

The future in mind

Following on from our Scottish conference – where he described mental health issues as “an epidemic”, psychologist Dr Wolfgang Seidl will be leading a panel discussion on mental health in 2020.

We’ll be asking: what is the effect of technology and social media on mental health – is anyone immune from the comparison game – and if not, what measures can we put in place? Remote and agile working has its advantages and drawbacks, what can we do to make working away from the workplace better for mental health? And how to teams in the workplace look to find solutions and support their employees?

Dr Seidl will be joined by a panel which includes Hector Minto, Senior Technology Evangelist at Microsoft and Liz Douglas, Head of Diversity and Inclusion, Anglo American, to explore these issues and more. He’ll also be looking at how men’s mental health is still under the radar, leaving men vulnerable in the workplace and what we can do to raise the issue. Read our response to government’s enquiry on men and mental health.

Adjustments and beyond: how to embed a culture of inclusion

A conversation with Professor Amanda Kirby on what businesses need to do to reach a point of systemic inclusion; predicting the needs of the whole workgroup so that all talent can be realised.

Disability means business – changing the world together 

Legislation hasn’t done much to change the customer landscape – if the law and government action alone doesn’t work can disabled people and business together be the change we want to see? Business can and does sometimes go beyond the law and can set an inspiring vision of the future – we are starting to see this on climate change and gender equality.

Climate change and gender equality have hit the headlines and businesses are leading the way in setting an inspiring change for the future.  How can we make it happen in disability and accessibility and true inclusion and amplify what we know: that getting it right for disabled people means getting it right for everyone?

We’ll be hearing from businesses who believe that - from concept and production to distribution and marketing - accessibility and inclusion is key to creating a world that is better for all consumers.

We are delighted to welcome Dr Caroline Casey, Founder of the Valuable 500 – to kick start this conversation on the inclusion revolution. Caroline will then be joined by Debra Ruh, CEO of Ruh Global Communications, who will be leading a conversation with panellists including Aline Santos, Executive Vice President, Global Marketing, Unilever, Andy Kneen, VP HR Talent Upstream, Shell, and Alison Dalton, Accessibility Manager, Service Integration, British Airways on the power of global brands in driving inclusion and consumer choice and the importance of senior leadership in driving change.

So join us for jam-packed sessions that will leave attendees with food for thought and takeaways, for their businesses in 2020 and beyond.

Meet our speakers

Angela Matthews Bela Gor Caroline Casey

Angela Matthews, Head of Policy and Advice at Business Disability Forum

Bela Gor, Head of Campaigns & Legal at Business Disability Forum

Caroline Casey, Founder at #Valuable & TheValuable500

Diane Lightfoot Hector smiles at the camera, he has a white shirt and suit on Simon smiles at the camera

Diane Lightfoot, Chief Executive at Business Disability Forum

Hector Minto, Microsoft Tech Evangelist for Europe, Middle East and Africa 

Simon Minty, Business Disability Forum Associate & CEO, Sminty Ltd




Reserve your ticket now

Click on the link here to book your conference tickets today (this will take you to the registration page) to learn how getting it right on disability can lead to transformational change within your organisation but also so often means you get it right for everyone.

Contact our events team

If you need anything just drop us a line:




We will also welcome a number of organisations to showcase new and innovative technology which will help make your business disability-smart! Whether it is day to day, events or in your personal life, these companies will have something for you. To be announced soon!