Disability news

Government’s Disability Confident scheme is lacking confidence

disability confident logo with a tick besides it

Over a third of businesses under the government’s discredited disability scheme still haven’t employed one single disabled member of staff.

According to the Department for Work and Pensions [DWP] just 63 per cent of companies who signed up to Disability Confident have taken on a disabled worker.

Almost a fifth [19 per cent] of firms with over 250 staff did not give a role to a disabled person despite joining the scheme according to 1,200 members of Disability Confident who took part in the study carried out by Ipsos.

The report was compiled in May 2022, but the results were only made public this week, sixteen months later.

Since being launched in 2014 Disability Confident has been scrutinised by campaigners claiming the scheme is  “trivially easy to abuse”, companies joining the initiative can brand themselves as “disability confident” without employing a disabled person.

Disabled disabled Labour MP Marsha de Cordova said: “The findings from the Tory government’s Disability Confident scheme survey confirms what I’ve been saying for years: the scheme lacks accountability, transparency, and performance measures.

“That nearly a fifth of large employers who joined the scheme did not report recruiting a single disabled person, further demonstrates the scheme’s lack of impact and credibility.

“It’s time for the government to scrap it and replace it with a scheme that is fit for purpose. The government needs to stop failing disabled people.”

When the study was last carried out in 2018 the results were even worse, back then just 48 per cent of companies had employed a disabled member of staff. 

But the new findings show only 55 per cent of members were satisfied with the information provided by the scheme in comparison to 69 per cent in 2018.

A DWP spokesperson said: “We are committed to improving workplace inclusivity and progress is already being made with more employers hiring at least one employee with a disability or long-term health condition in 2022 compared to 2018.

“But we know there is more to do, which is why we continue to work with stakeholders to develop and grow the Disability Confident scheme to increase the number of inclusive employers in the UK.”

[ In July 2020 a business claiming they lead the way for being Disability Confident sacked more than 50 disabled staff before hiring non-disabled agency workers.]

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