How can we close the disability employment gap? Kim Hoque, Warwick Business School [email protected] All Party Parliamentary Group for Disability report: Ahead of the Arc, a contribution to halving the disability employment gap co-authored by Philip Connolly (Leonard Cheshire, formerly Disability Rights UK); Vicki Wass and Melanie Jones (Cardiff Business School); Nick Bacon (Cass Business School) and Kim Hoque (Warwick Business School)
based on an enquiry in summer of 2016 with either verbal or written evidence being provided by over 80 charities, pressure groups, academics, disabled people launched December 2016, endorsed by 15 MPs and 7 peers across 7 political parties The governments manifesto commitment(s) In 2015 the Government set a target to halve the disability employment gap by 2020. Not heading in the right direction: our estimate (December 2016): at current rates of progress it would take until 2065 for the governments 2015
commitment to halve the disability employment gap to be met In 2017, the target became to increase the employment of disabled people by 1 million by 2027. This is likely to be met (ahead of schedule). But this is due to increasing workforce size/ increased disability prevalence, rather than a reduction in the disability employment gap New policy approach is needed to reduce the disability employment gap
What are the APPG reports recommendations? basic message: greater focus is needed on the demand side (i.e. the barriers disabled people face in getting into work and the attitudes of employers towards disabled people), rather
than on supply side labour market activation policies. Governments current demand-side focus: the Disability Confident Campaign Our research on the forerunner to Disability Confident (Two Ticks): No evidence that Two Ticks workplaces employ disabled people in larger numbers, are more likely to have implemented disability equality policies/ practice; that disabled people report greater job satisfaction, well-being, fairness perceptions etc.
Disability Confident is likely to suffer the same problems Possible (unannounced!!) changes. Requirement for Disability Confident Level 3 employers to implement: Stevenson Farmer recommendations in full compulsory reporting (of the number of disabled employees) Does this go far enough? Need for monitoring, benchmarking, action plans etc. Specific recommendations in the APPG report 1. Disabled peoples entrepreneurship and self-employment
limited support from mainstream business networks (e.g. Federation of Small Businesses and local chambers of commerce): - Disabled Persons Organisations possess the necessary expertise, but are small: mainstream business networks need to partner with them. Innovate UK and the Business Bank (e.g. since 2007 Innovate UK has spent 1.8bn supporting innovation): - they do not collect data on how much support has gone to disabled people
- the APPG report recommends that they: - monitor whether their services are being accessed by disabled people - actively promote their services to disabled people - are measured against targets 2. Improving employer disability equality policy and practice the business case: - disabled people have a disposable income collectively worth over 80bn - the purple pound
- Labour supply issues (Brexit) - public sector procurement (worth 242 billion in 2015): the government should leverage this by stipulating that public sector contracts will only be granted to firms that commit to improving disabled peoples employment prospects - the Cabinet office has consulted on this recently following David Lidingtons announcement last year that central government procurement must take social value into account support for the role of unions: e.g. Disability Champions and Equality Representatives
role of the law: - the Financial Reporting Council should amend the UK corporate governance code to require reporting on the proportion of disabled people employed - corporation tax law - higher financial penalties in discrimination cases where substantive EO policies not in place - requirement for employers to demonstrate in writing that the cost of reasonable adjustments is excessive when not granting requests. - rights for paid leave for assessment, rehabilitation or training.
Business advisory networks (CBI, IoD, Chambers of Commerce): - not great at providing advice to mainstream business employers on how to employ disabled people. - some DPOs offer very high quality advice to employers e.g. Downs Syndrome Associations WorkFit employment programme. Either they need to be better funded or they need to partner with national bodies to extend their reach.
Importance of measurement (currently, most employers dont know how many disabled people they employ) - government introduced the Voluntary Reporting Framework many employers will engage with it? in 2018. How Getting the APPG reports recommendations into practice key interventions from Lisa Cameron MP (Chair of the APPG
for Disability), who raised the report in January 2017 in Prime Ministers Questions, asking whether the Prime Minister will ensure that ministers engage with the APPG and its recommendations - the Prime Minister responded by saying that she is sure the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions will see the requests she has made in relation to the APPG Subsequently (since August, 2017), meetings with:
- BEIS Industrial Strategy Team (resulting in a commitment to increase the proportion of disabled people starting apprenticeships by 20 per cent) - HM Treasury - DWP (Office for Disability Issues and the Work and Health Unit) - Cabinet Office (including with the governments Chief Procurement Officer) - Infrastructure and Projects Authority (National Infrastructure Delivery Plan) - British Business Bank - Innovate UK - roundtable events (with business networks (CBI, IoD, FSB, CIPD etc.), growth sector champions; DWP/ WHU) - No. 10 policy unit (Prime Ministers special adviser for disability)
To access the All Party Parliamentary Group for Disability report: https://www.disabilityatwork.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/All-Party-ParliamentaryGroup-on-Disability-Ahead-of-the-Arc-Report.pdf
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