Disability Action Plan must be a Government priority says Forum

Plans announced as Ricoh launches new affinity group

A new Disability Action Plan will be consulted on and published in 2023, the Government has confirmed.

The announcement coincided with the UN’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities. At the same time, Ricoh UK launched an affinity group for colleagues with disabilities.

Policies in the Disability Action Plan, setting out the practical action ministers across Government will take over the next two years to improve disabled people’s lives, will be further developed in the New Year, with a consultation expected in 2023, so that disabled people, disabled people’s organisations and other interested parties can have their say.

Responding to the announcement, Angela Matthews, Head of Policy at the Business Disability Forum, said: “For people who are trying to find work or are struggling in work, Access to Work is causing additional barriers itself, and an outdated sick pay system is delaying recovery and causing people to fall out of work. We expect to see these issues covered in the plan.

“We also want to see plans for long-term social care reform and proposals to ensure that disabled people do not pick up the costs when they need adaptations to their rented accommodations. We expect to see these issues explored in a consultation document, and we look forward to consulting with our members, businesses, and disabled employees on the consultation next year.”

Ricoh UK’s new disability affinity group is the fourth programme to be launched in 2022, following ethnicityLGBTQ+ and gender. It is a voluntary, employee-led programme that aims to understand any barriers in the organisation and work together to remove them, support employees through policy, process and benefits and ultimately make sure people with disabilities are able to perform at their best and progress within Ricoh. The company has recently been recognised as a Disability Confident Employer.

The International Day of Persons with Disabilities highlighted the importance of educating employers on their responsibilities to their staff, according to Binna Kandola, Business Psychologist, Senior Partner and Co-Founder of Pearn Kandola.

The firm’s research showed that two in five workers with a disability reported not receiving the reasonable adjustments (RAs) they needed from their employer.

“We need to do a lot better around training and awareness of disabilities in the workplace,” said Kandola. “This comes down to creating an environment of psychological safety so that employees feel comfortable discussing their disability.”

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