Non-profit membership organisation Business Disability Forum (BDF) has launched a set of online resources to help businesses become more accessible places for disabled workers and customers.
The ‘Getting Started’ toolkit sponsored by Lloyds Banking Group, a long-standing Partner of Business Disability Forum, “covers how to meet the needs of disabled employees and customers and why it is important,” where the aim is for businesses to implement this knowledge into their “policies and practices.”
With disability affecting 1 in 5 people in the UK, they account for a significant number of the population, yet according to ONS data from late 2020, only 52.3% were in employment, which was down from 54.1% the year before. Furthermore, they also represent a large consumer population, but are businesses creating enough accessible goods and services to cater to them?
“Many disabled people continue to face barriers in the workplace and as customers. This is often due to a lack of understanding around disability and the often simple steps that can make a difference,” read a statement from the BDF, and considering the statistics about disabled employment in the UK, workplaces cannot be considered equitable spaces until they get the accommodations they need to gain roles and thrive.
Businesses should be considering disability inclusion, not just as a D&I imperative, but as a way to contribute to the economic recovery of the UK economy following COVID-19; which includes the upskilling of more people which forms the backbone of the Government’s Build Back Better scheme. In a published statement about the scheme by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, he said: “Our Plan for Jobs will support new opportunities in every part of the country, while our Lifetime Skills Guarantee will enable anyone to acquire the skills to do those jobs, wherever they live and whatever their stage of life.”
Diane Lightfoot, CEO Business Disability Forum, said: “We often hear that organisations want to do more to make their workplaces, products, and services more accessible and welcoming to disabled colleagues and customers, but simply don’t know how and where to begin.
“These resources provide practical advice on how to get started on becoming more disability-inclusive. Organisations further along on the journey will also find them a useful reminder. After all, there is always more we can all learn when it comes to meeting the needs of disabled employees and customers. We are very grateful to Lloyds Banking Group for sponsoring our work in this area.”
David Oldfield, CEO Commercial Banking, and Interim Group Chief Operating Officer and Group Executive Sponsor for Disability at Lloyds Banking Group added: “We benefit greatly from the expertise and support of the Business Disability Forum, and we’re delighted we’re able to help other organisations get started on their journey through the sponsorship of the Getting Started Toolkit. We recognise it may be a daunting step but having the support, practical advice, and guidance that this toolkit provides will help organisations to navigate through those key milestones to build accessible and inclusive cultures within their organisations.”
Several resources from the toolkit are available to access free of charge including resources on barrier-free recruitment, delivering good customer service, and talking to people about their disabilities.
To find out more about the ‘Getting Started’ toolkit and to view the resources visit this section of the Business Disability Forum’s website here.