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Opinion piece

How’s your year been so far, Rick?

Image of Rick WilliamsConsultancy at Business Disability Forum – Rick Williams

I’m glad you asked. Nothing much has happened really… Six months into a new role, a pandemic, working remotely, getting used to using Zoom and Teams (well remembering to put on my shirt), social distancing and wearing face masks. Not to mention the highlight of cutting my own hair with a beard trimmer! The results of which were about as what you might expect when you give a blind man the equivalent of a miniature hedge trimmer and say get on with it. My hair has grown since of course but when I finally got to the barber, I was subject to quite a lot of… well what would be best described as banter. Apart from that, this has been a fairly normal year.

Graeme Whippy

Big news on the consultancy front, we’ve added two people to our team – Graeme Whippy and Jan Loveless. Graeme is generally recognised as the UK’s go-to guy on all things workplace adjustments and how organisations might adopt a best practice approach to ensuring the system works seamlessly and in real time. Also, Jan has joined us as an access expert. She supports organisations in all things accessible in the built environment to achieve accessible working environments, address the issues at the design stage as well as undertaking access audits and providing advice on anything to do with access like signage, access statements, and accessible toilets.

Jan Loveless

Both Graeme and Jan have been kept busy supporting members in their fields as well as addressing the specialist issues which have arisen due to COVID-19 guidelines which are proving challenging in relation to all aspects of disability both from an employers’ and service providers’ perspective.

That’s not to say the rest of the team have been sitting around either. There has been a marked increase in our global work and assisting organisations develop a consistent approach to disability irrespective of the countries in which they are based; this is a major challenge given the broad range of legal frameworks and cultural perspectives involved. Global projects we’ve been working on include supporting the development of a global framework to employing and retaining disabled people, reviewing employment handbooks to ensure a best practice approach and supporting the development of a global accommodation strategy to ensure equal access for all. Other projects have included the review of recruitment policies and procedures to ensure an approach based on the social model, preparing to facilitate a major on-line conference to develop and implement a flexible workplace adjustments process across five related but separate organisations and supporting the procurement arrangements for an agency who will undertake an organisations recruitment to ensure the systems and procedures relating to disabled people are in place from the outset.


Phew! It makes me feel tired just writing it down. The consultancy team are having a great time with these projects and they are proving really interesting and challenging.

We’ve also developed a support package for members who find themselves in the unfortunate position of having to make redundancies. This package sits alongside the guidance available on the website and gives real time advice and guidance to make sure the procedures adopted and decisions made address the issues relating to disabled employees effectively. Find out more here


So, six months on, what do I think? It’s been a bit of a roller coaster for the team and, of course, the Members.  However, the feedback tells us we are delivering what Members need even though we are doing it remotely, which is always great news. No boredom here I can assure you.


If you have a need for consultancy, why not get in touch. It is always good to talk!

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