Get Disability Confident – It Makes Business Sense

The Disability Confident Accreditation Scheme provides a real opportunity for businesses to demonstrate a concrete commitment to the recruitment and retention of disabled employees and, indirectly, the disability consumer market.

Last week, with the maelstrom of current Westminster politics, the government quietly launched its Disability Confident Accreditation Scheme. My view is the scheme provides a real opportunity for businesses to demonstrate a concrete commitment to the recruitment and retention of disabled employees and, indirectly, the disability consumer market.

The scheme has three levels of accreditation

  • At level 1 businesses are asked to ‘sign-up’ to the principles of the scheme and make a commitment to take action to change the culture and practice of their organisation. For some businesses this will provide the platform to ‘come out’ in disability terms and for others, provide a visible endorsement of what they have already been doing.
  • Level 2 is a light touch self-assessment process which asks for more than an intent and commitment. It asks for demonstrable actions in making your business Disability Confident. These actions could include: recruitment and retention policies that are fully inclusive; how and where you advertise; your training and development offer; and an action plan for continuous improvements.
  • Level 3 is external validation of businesses self-assessment. It is a way of ‘opening up your books’ and being confident in your approach to disabled people. Level 3 also requires businesses to use their acquired disability knowledge and experience and put this back into the community. This could happen in a variety of ways, from being involved in local disability networks, hosting and/or speaking at disability employment related events, to providing coaching/mentoring to other business leaders. Supporting them to become Disability Confident.

Purple is committed to working in partnership with businesses

We fully recognise it is not that easy to translate intent into a coherent set of actions and I always worry when the government launches initiatives and then just expects you to independently get on with it yourself.

In the disability world I inhabit I have always banged the drum that independence does not mean you have to do things solely on your own – but to have the wherewithal to choose how these things are done, which might include paying someone to assist you. I recently purchased an iPad as my Blackberry was becoming archaic and didn’t reflect the profile of a disability forward thinking organisation (and by definition Chief Executive)! I have never been able to use a touchstone screen but with the assistance of REMAP ( a stylus was created that I could use holding it in my mouth. Over time, and little by little, I have been able to learn more and get used to some of the functionality which is making me more efficient and effective in my working practice. Our Disability Confident offer to businesses will work from the same principles in terms of supporting organisations to understand the value of new approaches.

Purple has an offer at all three levels of Disability Confident accreditation

We want to be a partner for businesses and not simply do it all. We want to build the capacity and capability of business leaders and their teams – more than a bit of paper which says you have passed, but an ability to grow your business with disability being a key part of your strategy.

Our offer is unique:

  • We understand disability. We understand business imperatives. Our delivery model will marry the two delivering tangible outcomes
  • We think if businesses are to make Disability Confident work, activities around how to make the most of the disability consumer market (the £212 billion a year purple pound) are required. Our offer will help you to better access the purple pound
  • We can add value to businesses through Purple and the other disability related activities we undertake
  • We can help businesses deal with the practical disability related issues facing you today, including HR support, alongside wider strategic developments.

We want to work alongside businesses for the longer term. We want to support businesses to build Disability Confidence in supply chains, develop a modern corporate social responsibility approach where there are mutual benefits, and invest Disability Confidence in your individual staff members through training, development and disability leadership. We believe there is real opportunities for businesses – with Purple – to become market leaders in this space.

For more information on our Purple offer please visit our dedicated Disability Confident page.

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