Disability Confident Scheme

  • Equality & Diversity
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Peninsula Group, HR and Health & Safety Experts

(Last updated )

In this guide, we'll look at what a disability confident scheme is, what the law covers, and how to conduct the best scheme for your disabled staff.

From recruitment to promotions – a disability confident scheme offers a unique opportunity for businesses and employees alike.

The number of disabled people in employment is around 4.9 million according to UK government statistics. Through the scheme, employers are able to grow and encourage their careers in unimaginable ways.

If you neglect disabled applicants or employees, you could end up facing discrimination claims, compensation penalties, and major business losses.

In this guide, we'll look at what a disability confident scheme is, what the law covers, and how to conduct the best scheme for your disabled staff.

What is a disability confident scheme?

A disability confident scheme is a process that helps businesses nurture and develop disabled people’s careers.

The scheme system was developed by employers and disabled people's representatives. They help recruit and retain disabled people, as well as:

  • Challenge attitudes and increase awareness on disability.
  • Develop a wider pool and better recruitment process.
  • Hire highly-quality employees who are skillful, motivated, and loyal.
  • Grow employee morale through equality, fairness, and collaboration.

Different levels to the disability confident scheme will offer different benefits. But overall, they help promote better work cultures and career opportunities for disabled people.

What does the law say about the disability confident scheme?

Under the Equality Act 2010, disabilities are protected as one of the nine protected characteristics.

This means disabled people have legal protection from unlawful disability discrimination for factors related to their job. Employers also have a legal duty to provide reasonable adjustments that assist disabled people during work.

Following a disability confident scheme is not a legal requirement for employers. It's a government initiative that was conducted on a voluntary basis. Despite that, it can encourage employers to provide support to disabled staff in the best way possible.

Remember, disabilities can include both physical and mental health conditions (under the Equality Act). Legal rights apply to disabled job applicants and employees respectfully.

How to conduct a disability confident scheme

Ultimately, every employer wants to build a company that supports people with disabilities. That means utilising the talents disabled people have within your workplace.

Once you're ready to take this step, you can start your Disability Confident journey. There are three levels towards conducting a disability confident scheme. Let's look at each one in more detail:

Level 1: Disability Confident Committed

The first level of the scheme is called Disability Confident Committed. When you join the scheme, an employer will need to agree to reach five key commitments. These include:

  • Having an inclusive and accessible recruitment process.
  • Communicating job vacancies.
  • Offering a guaranteed interview scheme.
  • Making reasonable adjustments.
  • Supporting existing employees.

You need to identify and carry out at least one action as the minimum criteria. Introduce it as a brand-new practice or make changes to support disabled employees.

Once you’ve signed up, you'll receive a Disability Confident certificate and a recognition badge to display on your company website. You'll also be given supporting material and online self-assessments to progress to level two.

Level 2: Disability Confident Employer

The second level is called Disability Confident Employer. At this stage, an employer will focus two new key themes:

  • Theme 1: Recruit the best people for your company.
  • Theme 2: Retain and develop disabled people.

You'll need to fulfil all core actions, as well as one from your activity action.

Core actions involve removing any unfair barriers in your recruitment process that may affect disabled applicants. Activity actions include things like offering job adverts through apps and platforms aimed at people with disabilities.

Once you complete this online self-assessment, your company will be registered as a Disability Confident Employer for three years. You'll also receive another certificate, as well as potential customary awards.

Level 3: Disability Confident Leader

The third part of the scheme is called Disability Confident Leader. At this stage, an employer must act as an ambassador - promoting Disability Confidence within your local and business industry.

This online self-assessment must be validated by a recognised third party. After receiving their approval and fulfilling certain factors, you will have reached the essential criteria to become a Disability Confident Leader.

If you're successful, you'll receive another certificate. And you'll be recognised as a Disability Confident Leader for three years.

Get expert advice on the disability confident scheme with Peninsula

When it comes to employing disabled people, there are certain additional steps you need to consider. But these reasons should never shadow their potential and talents.

Disability confidence offers an employer many benefits. But if you neglect disabled applicants or employees, you could end up facing discrimination claims and business losses.

Peninsula offers expert advice on the disability confident scheme. Our HR team offers 24/7 HR employment advice and support that's available 365 days a year.

Want to find out more? Contact us on 0800 028 2420 and book a free consultation with an HR consultant today.



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