Making 'the world of work' inclusive for disabled people

Posted On: 
26th September 2016

Scope has partnered with the Fabian Society to produce essays which looks at ways to reduce the disability employment gap  

According to ONS statistics there are 3.4 million disabled people in work in the UK. For many people, work is an essential element of living independently.

However, less than half of all disabled people are in work, compared to 80 per cent of non-disabled people. The disability employment gap, the gap between the two employment rates, is currently 32 per cent and has remained static for over a decade.

The Government have made an ambitious target of halving the disability employment gap by 2020, a promise David Cameron publicly supported and Work and Pensions Secretary Damian Green has reiterated.

The Government has announced it will publish a Green Paper where it will set out plans to close the disability employment gap and transform the lives and prospects of disabled people. This is an opportunity for disabled people, employers and organisations with expertise in this area to share their views and expertise with Government.

Disabled people can face a range of barriers to employment. This can include employer attitudes, non-specialised employment support or a lack of flexibility in the workplace. Disabled people have told us that one of the most important issues for them is ensuring that the workplace is flexible and adaptable enough to accommodate any changes in their circumstances – 48% of responses to a Scope survey said they would benefit from modified hours in the workplace.

The barriers to work are many and substantive; support for disabled people looking for work has been generic and lacking flexibility and personalisation, many employers remain sceptical of recruiting disabled people, and whilst 96% of employers know about in-work adjustments, many do not know what constitutes a reasonable adjustment.

Scope is calling for specialist and tailored advice for disabled people, similar to the successful Work Choice programme, an improved awareness amongst employers and employees of schemes such as Access to Work and for businesses to embrace the huge potential that can come with hiring from the widest pool of talent possible.

Scope has partnered with the Fabian Society to produce a series of essays that look at how the modern and future world of work can be inclusive for disabled people. Disabled people, MP, councillors and policy experts have all provide essays for this series that offer their insight, analysis and recommendations for how to ensure more disabled people find and progress in employment.

To coincide with the publication of these essays the Fabian Society and Scope will also be holding an event at Labour Party Conference this week to explore these issues and the Labour party’s response.  The panel will be made up of Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Debbie Abrahams, Neil Coyle MP and representatives from Scope and the Fabian Society.

The essays can be read by clicking here.


An Inclusive Future: Ensuring disabled people play a key role in the changing world of work is being held in the Liverpool Maritime Museum on Tuesday 27 September at 12.30pm.