DRUK Current News Received 2022

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Disability Rights UK (DRUK) –
We work with our members to influence national policy on independent living, benefits, education, employment, transport, human rights and other issues – shaping policy through direct experience and expertise.

We also work with our local individual and organisation members to empower and to influence local policy and services. To contact Disability Rights UK (DR UK) see www.disabilityrightsuk.org/contact-us

DRUK - News Round Up - 8th July 2022

DRUK - News Round Up - 15th July 2022

News up to 22nd July 2022

In This Issue
Census Reveals Inaccessible Services And Businesses
Report Confirms Widespread Workplace Discrimination
Disabled People’s Experiences Of Remote And Hybrid Work

Census Reveals Inaccessible Services And Businesses
Disabled people face barriers undertaking everyday activities that impose financial, physical and psychological costs, an in-depth study by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has found.

Based on interviews with 56 Disabled people across the UK, the study analyses people's experiences accessing activities, goods and services. The participants, who had a range of disabilities and demographic backgrounds, highlighted problems with physical access, restrictive building layouts, inaccessible online services, inadequate information and inflexible design of customer services.

Dawn Snape, Assistant Director of the Sustainability and Inequalities Division at ONS, said: “Listening to participants, it was striking the range of ways they faced barriers in everyday life, and the effort and energy that went into finding ways to navigate them. The cost of navigating these barriers was clear, both financially and in terms of physical and mental wellbeing.”

Disabled people often have to engage in extensive preparation to find “workarounds” while others relied on family and friends for support. The additional financial costs often involved limited choice, while the need to prepare for activities in advance limited spontaneity and freedom.

The study said: “The impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) caused negative experiences of isolation with limited access to support for some disabled people, which extended beyond the pandemic. However, others saw the increase in online services as providing them with more opportunities to access, connect and communicate.” It reported mixed experiences of online services – with some finding they helped mitigate physical design barriers while others reported access problems that amounted to digital exclusion.

DR UK’s Head of Policy, Fazilet Hadi, said: “This is a valuable – but sadly predictable – piece of work by a hugely-credible organisation. It should set alarm bells ringing across Whitehall and amongst all businesses and service providers. It is grotesquely unfair that businesses and service providers are piling additional financial, physical and psychological costs on to Disabled people despite decades of campaigning and legislation.

“Businesses should also wake up to the fact that they losing potential income by alienating or excluding such a large proportion of the population.” Participants identified priorities for future service provision, including:

  • Accessible physical and online environments that recognise and accommodate a range of needs
  • Service providers involving Disabled people in policy and service decisions
  • Raising awareness and empathy for people with a range of impairments T
  • The provision of meaningful, readily-available help for disabled people when accessing activities, goods and services.

The study comes weeks after the ONS published a quantitative report based on last year’s census returns around the experiences of Disabled people.

Report Confirms Widespread Workplace Discrimination
The Equality Act is failing to protect thousands of Disabled workers, a report on workplace discrimination has concluded. Commissioned by the Association of Disabled Professionals, the report identified “significant misconceptions on the part of employers and line managers with reference to what disability means, how disabled people should be treated in the workplace, and the costs of reasonable adjustments”.

The research by two University College London academics comes six years after the All Party Parliamentary Group on Disability warned that around 46,000 people are “managed out” of their jobs every year.

Key findings and recommendations include:

  • The Government’s Access to Work scheme can frustrate employers and Disabled applicants by being inflexible or slow in responding – leaving the employee to start work without agreed reasonable adjustments in place
  • The cost of legal representation at employment tribunals is prohibitive for many Disabled people and lawyers often recommend early settlement of cases because the tribunal process can be “traumatising”
  • Employers should develop inclusive, accessible and disability-positive cultures to increase trust and create safe spaces for conversations about disability and the provision and costs of reasonable adjustments.

The report is based on interviews with 38 experts on disability – including people from the private sector, politicians, lawyers, third sector representatives, union officials and Disabled people with lived experience.

Highlighting the role of Disabled and Deaf people’s organisations, the report says they should be seen as a valuable source of advice and support.

DR UK’s Head of Policy, Fazilet Hadi, said: “While we hear much talk about closing the disability employment gap research such as this reminds us that decades after discrimination was made illegal Disabled people still face ignorance and grotesque unfairness in the workplace. It is particularly galling that the Government’s Access to Work scheme often lets Disabled people and their employers down – contributing to workplace stress and many people losing their jobs.”

Ableism and the Labour Market, written by Dr Sarabajaya Kumar and Dr Colin Provost, is available here. A link to a podcast with the authors discussing their research can be accessed via this link.. You need to scroll down through the publications list.

Disabled People’s Experiences Of Remote And Hybrid Work
report from the Work Foundation has highlighted the benefits for Disabled people of remote and hybrid working. The think tank surveyed more than 400 Disabled people and held two roundtables with employers and other stakeholders for the report, The changing workplace: enabling disability inclusive hybrid working.

DR UK contributed to the research at a roundtable discussion and as part of the Research Advisory Group. The majority of Disabled workers who participated in the research said they value the opportunity to decide where they work, which has positive impacts for them and their organisation. The report also draws attention to the challenges some Disabled workers have experienced and makes recommendations for employers and to the Government for policy changes.

Anna Denham, Bridge to Work Evaluation Programme Manager at Disability Rights UK said: “This important and very timely piece of research has highlighted the benefits of being able to work flexibly and with autonomy. Around 85% of Disabled workers taking part in the survey reported they felt more productive when working from home. However, remote working isn’t for everyone, and the research findings are very clear – choice and control over the working environment enables people to better manage health conditions. That means they feel healthier and more productive, which ultimately benefits everyone.

“While remote working isn’t for everyone, the results of this research are very clear – when workers are able to control their working environment, health conditions are more easily managed, and people feel healthier and more productive.”

Tony Stevens, DR UK’s Head of Development said “We are delighted to support this project which will provide support and paid employment for a significant group of young disabled people. This will include many who wouldn’t normally have considered a career in natural heritage.”


20:37, 28 Jul 2022 by Lesley Windle