Past winners

2018 Winners

Business Disability Forum is delighted to announce the winners for the 2018 Disability-Smart Awards, supported by Barclays.

Seven prizes were awarded in total. The winners were revealed on Thursday 29 November, and presented by Silver Paralympian and TV star Stef Reid MBE and CEO Diane Lightfoot.

Winners and finalists included a wide range of organisations, from a Premier League football club, to tech giants like Microsoft and Facebook, to start-ups, government departments and a primary school in South London.

Most notable among the awards, and new for this year, was the Disabled People’s Choice Award for the most inclusive service provider, employer or experience. This award is reserved for organisations nominated by disabled people.

Disabled People’s Choice Award for the most inclusive service provider, employer or experience finalists: Liverpool Football Club

The Premier League football club won for its “amazing” team of Accessibility Stewards some of whom attended the ceremony, who work hard to make sure all fans have the same excellent experience, even accompanying fans to away games in Kiev.

Senior disability champion of the year: Sir Philip Rutnam, Permanent Secretary, UK Civil Service

Sir Philip Rutnam, Permanent Secretary of the Home Office and Civil Service Disability Champion, was awarded in recognition of his ongoing commitment to championing employment opportunities for disabled people across all levels of the civil service, and for embedding disability inclusion in organisational culture.

Inclusive service provider of the year: Gatwick Airport

One of the busiest airports in the world, Gatwick introduced a disability lanyard scheme aimed at giving people with non-visible disabilities the confidence to fly. The scheme has since been adopted by all UK airports as well as several international airports.

Positive cultural change of the year: West Midlands Police

The police force won in recognition of their work on combatting historic stigma around disability and mental health, while introducing a range of measures to better support employees across the force.

Workplace adjustments innovation of the year (sponsored by Microlink): Financial Conduct Authority

This award was given to the Financial Conduct Authority for achieving an office move of 3,500 employees, which took into account all different types of disability, and, in particular, neurodiverse conditions and mental health problems.

Influential business of the year finalists: KPMG

KPMG used its platform to make a high-profile call for businesses to nominate disability champions by 2020, and was even cited by other Disability-Smart Award nominees as an influence on their work.

Technology initiative of the year (sponsored by Microlink): Microsoft

Nominated alongside Facebook and Scotland start-up Neatebox, Microsoft won for applying cutting edge technologies to ensure their widely-used products were as accessible to as many customers as possible.

2017 Winners

The winners of the 2017 Disability-Smart Awards were announced on 16 November at an event hosted by Deutsche Bank in London.

Organised by Business Disability Forum, the awards are given to companies that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to employing, working with and doing business with disabled people.

They were presented by Geoff Adams-Spink, former BBC correspondent on disability and Director of Adams-Spink Ltd, and Mark Lomas, Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at HS2.

The judging panel for the awards included leading experts in the area of disability, representatives from BDF's Member and Partner organisations and disabled opinion leaders.

Seven prizes were awarded in total.

Senior disability champion of the year: Tony Cates, UK Partner at KPMG

Tony Cates received glowing praise for his leadership around disability issues at KPMG. Tony’s work has included sponsoring support networks for disability and mental health and also sharing expertise with companies that KPMG works with across the UK. Colleagues have said that Tony “is known not just internally at KPMG, but he is an executive disability champion who is recognised elsewhere across multiple sectors.” 

Inclusive service provider of the year: Procter and Gamble

Procter and Gamble has been recognised for creating the first TV adverts ever aired with audio-description in the UK. 

Positive cultural change of the year: Civil Service

Judges recognised the Civil Service for making concerted efforts to create a more open and supportive culture around disability and mental health. 

Workplace adjustments innovation of the year: RBS

RBS developed their own method of approaching workplace adjustments in a way that did not focus on disability and which was described by Business Disability Forum’s assessors earlier this year as “one of the best we have ever seen.” 

Influential business of the year: Macmillan Cancer Support

Macmillan won the Award for their Working Through Cancer programme, a nationwide campaign to tackle the barriers faced by employees affected by cancer. The campaign sought to change workplace attitudes and challenge misconceptions, as well as equipping people affected with cancer with the knowledge to request support and adjustments from their employers and help returning to work. 

Technology initiative of the year: Barclays

Barclays was recognised for becoming the first bank in the UK to introduce accessible debit card readers for disabled customers. 

'Nothing about us without us’ award: Lloyds Banking Group

Judges praised Lloyds Banking Group for bringing together groups of disabled customers with staff to explore how the organisation’s services could be made as accessible as possible.

2016 Winners


  • Executive Disability Champion: Steve Thorn, CGI
  • Disability Champion: Heather Carey, Cisco
  • Branding: Sainsbury's
  • Know-how: Victim Support
  • Adjustments: Lloyds Banking Group
  • Recruitment: Equal Approach & Remploy
  • Staff retention: Barclays 
  • Disabled Employee Network: Fujitsu
  • Products & services – Business to business: Barclays
  • Extra Costs Award: Uber
  • ICT: Fujitsu


Highly commended:

  • Executive Disability Champion: Debbie Alder, Department for Work & Pensions
  • Disability Champion: Mayte Cubino Gonzalez, Cisco
  • Know-how: Nationwide
  • Adjustments: Department for Work & Pensions
  • Disabled Employee Network: Lloyds Banking Group 


2015 Winners

  • Executive Disability Champion: David Oldfield, Lloyds Banking Group
  • Disability Champion: Neil Milliken, Atos
  • Know-how: HMRC
  • Adjustments: Lloyds Banking Group
  • Recruitment: Sainsbury’s
  • Retention: Barclays
  • Career Development: Civil Service
  • Products and Services, B2B: Nuance
  • Products and Services, B2C: BT
  • Product Development: Sainsbury’s
  • Communication: HSBC
  • Premises: Brent Council
  • ICT: Barclays

Highly Commended:

  • Executive Disability Champion: Janice Henson, de Poel
  • Disability Champion: Ole Black, Office for National Statistics
  • Know-how: Accenture
  • Adjustments: Office for National Statistics
  • Recruitment: EY
  • Retention: Lloyds Banking Group
  • Products and Services, B2B: Microlink
  • Products and Services, B2C: Barclays
  • Product Development: RBS
  • ICT: EE


2014 Winners

  • Executive Champion: Ian Wilkie, Partner, EY
  • Disability Champion: Sean Smith, HM Revenue & Customs
  • Branding: Barclays
  • Know-how: Brunel University
  • Adjustments: Lloyds Banking Group
  • Recruitment: Barclays
  • Staff Retention: Lloyds Banking Group
  • Career Development: EY
  • Products and Services, B2B: AvePoint
  • Products and Services, B2C: Money Advice Service
  • Product Development: Lloyds Banking Group
  • Suppliers and Partners: Barclays
  • Website Communications: Barclays
  • Contact Centre: Lloyds Banking Group
  • Premises: Shell
  • ICT: HM Revenue & Customs