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Manifesto calls for UK disability, health and employment strategy

Business Disability Forum launched its manifesto today (13 June) calling for the future Government to implement a UK wide disability, health and employment strategy.

Big Ben.

The manifesto calls on the future Government to introduce a joined-up strategy

The manifesto for a disability inclusive UK sets out five key strategies for creating better experiences and opportunities for disabled people in the workplace, as customers and in society in general. It also details the key principles needed to achieve change.

Diane Lightfoot, CEO of Business Disability Forum, said:

“Disability can and does affect everyone, either through personal experience or through the people we know. A joined-up approach to disability inclusion must be at the heart of future policy and decision making if we want to create an economy and a society that works for everyone and where everyone is valued and included.”

A UK wide disability, health and employment strategy

Business Disability Forum (BDF) is calling for the launch of a UK wide strategy on disability, health and employment as one of its five key proposals. The strategy would include:

  • Ensuring every disabled person is equipped with an inclusive and accessible education journey, so they can access the career and future they want. This would include access to adjustments, tailored and specific career advice. It would also include a choice of inclusive pathways into employment, such as accessible apprenticeships and supported internships as well as post university support.
  • Prioritising workplace adjustments as a key enabler for disabled people accessing and staying in work. Workplace adjustments are the changes employers make to remove a barrier someone with a disability or condition is experiencing in their role.
  • Repositioning of Access to Work and further investment in the service. Access to Work covers the cost of workplace adjustments. BDF is calling for Access to Work to become the ‘go to’ service for any disabled people looking for work, in work, setting up a business or in a voluntary role. It also wants to see the removal of the current cap, which disadvantages disabled people with higher support costs. It is also calling for the service to be extended to all sectors and to be available to disabled people in any role.
  • Reforming sick pay to allow for a gradual return to work. To join up fit note reform with reform of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). BDF is calling for flexibility within SSP to make it possible for people to have a phased return to work without being financially disadvantaged.
  • Introducing a fit for purpose disability and employment data strategy which focuses on workplace experiences and inclusion. Moving away from measurement by singular figures to better quality data which looks at what helps people to remain in work and progress, as well as what stops people from being in work at all.

Disability inclusive policies

Business Disability Forum is also calling for:

  • A technology for life provision to ensure disabled people have access to the tech they need at every stage of life.
  • A UK-wide standard and commitment to clear, accessible and inclusive communications. This would place a requirement on the Government and all product and service providers to provide information in accessible and inclusive formats.
  • Investment in the infrastructure which supports employment and wider inclusion. This includes a strategy for integrated health and social care as a national priority, reliable and accessible public transport and improved support for carers.
  • An inclusive procurement standard. This would cover the accessible and inclusive delivery of everything from core public services to the development of AI and tech.

Business Disability Forum’s manifesto has been informed by employers and businesses in its membership and the disabled people who work in and with those organisations.

Go to Business Disability Forum’s ‘Manifesto for a disability inclusion UK’ page to read the full manifesto.

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