Prioritising Disability Webinar - Celebrating Disability webinar series episode recorded on 30th March

Prioritising Disability Webinar

Prioritising Disability webinar held on 30th March 2020


Okay, so just a quick overview of what we will be covering today in today’s webinar. So we will be discovering a brief introduction to Celebrating Disability so that you get to know who I am and kind of why I feel I have the right to talk on the subject a little bit and also what services I provide. We’re going to be covering maximising the opportunity of prioritising disability, as I said in the blog that you may have read, and on the webinar page itself and on the email that I sent you, I really do think that in these – I don’t mean to use a word that’s being used over and over again, but in these unusual and strange times at the moment, I do think it’s a really good opportunity for organisations and businesses to prioritise disability. 


So the four areas that we’re going to be looking at today.  We’re firstly going to be looking at values towards disabled people, we’re going to be looking at accessibility statements, we’re going to be looking at reasonable adjustments. And we’re also going to be looking at inclusive recruitment. So you may see that the order here is a bit different than I’ve put up on the agenda for you. I’ve had to think about the orders that I feel that they should be in. And I think that this is the order which will help to clarify in people’s minds what to do and how to do it. And then we will have a look at the next steps for you getting started on this journey. And any questions at the end that you have. However, if you have questions throughout, please don’t hesitate to ask. Okay, so a little bit about Celebrating Disability. So my name is Esi Hardy. I’m the managing director and founder of Celebrating Disability. So Celebrating Disability is a disability inclusion consultancy and Training business.  We deliver in house and remote training sessions, disability auditing and disability consulting. I will say that the remote training sessions are a new thing that I’ve added in however, we have been doing them for some time.  They are a really good way of being able to deliver that, that expertise and that knowledge and disability awareness and disability inclusion, but making it agile and flexible for many people. So it doesn’t just work in these times it works for for example; if people are working remotely, if there are disabled employees that find it hard to get into the training space, or if it’s just easier to be online.  So all trainers and associates of Celebrating Disability have lived experience of disability, as well as professional expertise. So all of our trainers are disabled people themselves have different impairments and therefore different experiences of the world as a disabled person, but we are all professional expertise in our field. 


Okay, so maximising the opportunity of disability inclusion in the workplace. So, I was thinking why now? So I think the more you can demonstrate the how and why the higher the engagement and reward, I think this is a really good time to demonstrate the how and why especially as lots of people are at home. We’ve seen lots of people on Facebook and on LinkedIn kind of making groups and I think it’s a really good opportunity to maximise on the reasons why this is important for our organisations, and also maximising the opportunity of disability inclusion in the workplace in general removes the barriers and will open opportunities for disabled people. And you know, for removing the barriers we first need to understand what the barriers are which we will touch on a little bit today, but we can touch on more in depth in another time. But once we understand what those barriers are, then we can think about the opportunities because I find personally when I’m working with organisations, that the hardest part is understanding what the problem is. And when organisations then understand the problem, it’s much easier to think of solutions to mitigate these problems. But it’s like anything if you don’t know what the issue is, then you can’t solve it.


And then, you know, I think that solutions don’t have to be hard work. I mean, kind of what I’ve just said, they don’t have to be very expensive. They don’t have to be arduous tasks. I mean, I personally think that if you can involve a greater amount of people, the greater amount of people that you involve, the more the more solutions you’ll come up with, first of all, because there’s more heads in the room to think about it or the space to think about it. And also if you can involve people with different experience a diverse range of people and people with lived experience of disability if you’re talking specific about disability, then you’re talking to people who are already mitigating problems on a daily basis. So those solutions do not specifically have to be that hard work. And they also don’t have to be expensive. Some of the solutions that disabled people need that very inexpensive or have no cost at all.


So how can this happen? So I think showcasing agile working is really important. I mean, agile working, it’s been around for ages. Obviously, we’re all doing it really well now. But I think this is a really good you point to make that we beat that we are doing it very easily now. And this has come at a very time when we’ve had to move really really quickly. And we’ve all found ways to kind of make agile working work and carry on with our business activities. So I think if we can showcase that in when we go back to the office, when eventually we go back to our organisations and work in our offices, we can showcase the value of agile working and the value of being able to work in different environments in a different way to help all employees and including disabled employees be as productive as possible. I think now is a really good time to research and show that statistical evidence. Sometimes in our daily lives in our day to day jobs in our offices, we don’t have time to do these things that we just want to do. Maybe people are coming to us all the time, or maybe we’re busy firefighting, and putting out the things that are happening. Now that we’ve got a little bit more time on our hands if the workload has slowed down a little bit, to really good time to research, this opportunity of disability in the workplace, research, what’s going on with other organisations, what other organisations are doing, but also what disabled people are saying that they need, what they’re saying their problems are and their barriers are and what they’re saying their solutions are and then show that statistical evidence. There’s lots of evidence out there that shows statistics on disability. And I can provide you some links to some evidence, I have some evidence myself on the Celebrating Disability website. But I think if you can use it statistical evidence to backup, any kind of ideas that you’re coming up with, it really helps to kind of change that idea. And you also have time to trial, test and assess. So obviously, working from home, you have to do it remotely. But I think this is a really good opportunity, because most people have worked while everybody is working remotely. So it’s time to trial and get on maybe your disabled employees, or your disabled customers, maybe send them an email, maybe have a zoom chat, and maybe have some other kind of conference call to say, okay, we’ve had this idea, this is what we’ve put into place. What do you think, what can we change to make it better, and then reassess and then do it differently but I would also say with that you should be co-designing and co-delivering. So using those disabled employees from the very outset, and the disabled customers, so in a way, not coming to them with an almost finished product and saying we produced this, tell me if you like it, but then it’s a bit too late to change it. But actually bringing them in right at the start and saying, we would like to produce something. What do you think? What do you think it should look like? How should it be? Where should we put it? What’s important to put in it, really important.  So the four key areas.  


So the first one values towards disabled people. So in a nutshell, I’ve summed it up by explaining understanding and being able to clearly communicate, why this is important, will help define the steps to take and support others to join you on the journey. By the way, I will just note it I will just note here that in every training session I do or in every seminar because this isn’t really a training session – seminar I do, I feel always read out the slides, and I feel it’s best practice for inclusion of all, because for example, if you had somebody who had dyslexia, or who couldn’t see the words on the slides, they wouldn’t have to be excluded because they can’t see the words because I as the the deliver am reading them out =so what I would suggest that as best practice


So defining what these are and why this is important.  So it’s really important to not just say, Oh, we value disabled people, but say why we value disabled people. I think many organisations and businesses on their websites, they have diversity and inclusion statements, which are really, really good, but very few have statements about valuing disabled people specifically. And yes, inclusion as a whole. We’re all one big world and we’re all.  We’re all in it together and we all want to be diverse and inclusive together. But I think when it comes to disability and other characteristics, there are many areas of disability inclusion that are different to other characteristics because there are physical barriers in the way as well. And I think it’s really important to point out those physical barriers and also those barriers towards the attitudes and points out what you’re going to do. Why you’re valuing disabled people and and how you are valuing disabled people. So engage as many people as possible in the process of exploration. So a little bit like I was saying on the last slide, if you need if you can engage your employee workforce, but your senior team, your senior management team, and the C Suite level, but also your disabled customers and employees and your customers employees in general and find out what they think about why disabled people should be valued. It will help you build a really rounded and really well thought out kind of value statement.


Find ways to communicate these values internally. And this, you know, I’m thinking just before this webinar, I was using my phone to do lots of things for this webinar, for example, I could turn the music off and on on my phone, and I could also use the accessibility tools on my phone. But I was thinking, I use an Apple phone, and Apple have so many accessibility options, but they don’t talk about them. And so it’s only through word of mouth that you find out what these accessibility options are. And I think sometimes that’s the same for communicating things like values and things that they are happening and there’s such good things going on in organisations, but the problem is that they’re not communicated out internally, and when things are communicated out internally, they can communicate it out externally. So you might have people that work in the main office or some other satellite offices that don’t understand what you’re trying to do, because it’s just not communicated. So finding ways to communicate those values is so important to spreading the words and helping the whole organisation take on this culture of inclusion of disability. And then again, revisit, examine and understand, so revisit what you’ve done. You may have done something in the future, you may have been working on this for the last few years, we’ve got something really good, but because it’s there a year ago, it’s just a piece of paper in a drawer, it needs to be revisited and updated, examine what it says on the page or on the document or however you have on the website to make sure it still matches your values. You may have updated quite a bit, so you may want to add things to it. Make sure that you understand what it means. I mean, I know it sounds simple, but my you know my, my ethos towards it is if you can’t sum it up in a sentence, then it’s not clear enough. So if you can’t do that, think about how you can make it clearer for everyone and what it actually means because if your values aren’t transparent, if they’re not easy to pick up, there may not be picked up and embedded become part of the DNA of your organisation. Okay, so use your own assets by that I kind of mean disability networks and other networks. So depending on the size of your organisation, you may have networks. You may have LGBTQ Networks, maybe a Women’s Network, maybe a BAME Network. You may even have a Disabled Person’s network. If you don’t have Disabled People’s Network, use the other networks.  I often find in organisations the other networks are quite often stronger than the disability network. And that might be many reasons that we won’t go into today. But do use the knowledge from those other networks to embed that into the disability network, if, if possible, and if appropriate to share the network out to other people to get it known to to build strategy around it, and to make sure that there is buy in from the senior suite and to make sure that that senior suite actually champions and is an ally for that network. If you don’t have networks within your organisation because perhaps you’re not there yet or you’re smaller. There’s other areas you can reach out to you can reach out externally to DPO’s which are Disabled People’s Organisations, or your local Disabled Persons charity, or even just a Facebook group. There’s groups on Facebook like Disability Confident Group where you could go ask other people for advice as to what they’re doing. So just reach out to as many people as you know, to build that network of knowledge to grow those values.


Okay, so, four key areas number two: accessibility statement. So again, in a nutshell, I have put: One way for an external stakeholders to immediately and clearly see the steps you are taking to be inclusive and aware of the needs of disabled people.


It’s very long sentence I do apologise.


So accessibility statements they’re not exclusively about accessibility. And by accessibility, I mean physical accessibility. Accessibility goes beyond the physical. Obviously, the physical is very, very important. So if I was saying to I was working with a director of a big organisation a few weeks ago. And they said to me, we want to do the attitude and the internal culture first. And then we want to do accessibility afterwards. And I said, well, the kind of the two things need to go hand in hand. It’s not one first and one later. Because if you create a really good culture of inclusion for disabled people, but then that disabled person can’t get close to the table to have the conversation, because the access isn’t right, then it completely defeats the object. So whilst accessibility statements don’t all have to be about accessibility  –  physical accessibility sorry, physical accessibility is very, very important as well. And again, I would say with that getting somebody that knows, so it might be somebody that’s already in your organisation, perhaps somebody who’s disabled themselves, who can help you design and tell you what is really good in the physical aspect. Don’t want needs to be improved on. But if not get somebody outside somebody external to come in and do an access order, but also then to follow that up with manageable recommendations for you to be able to implement. And things don’t always have to happen at once. And because obviously budgets and time constraints are there, but if you’ve got an idea of everything that needs to be done, then it’s easier to see what start an accessibility statement is an opportunity to talk about your value is. So this is why I’ve ordered it in the way that I’ve done so after you’ve decided what your values towards disabled people are, within that statement, you can use that statement talk about those values a bit more.




So an accessibility statement supports disabled people and potential employees and customers to feel valued and confident. So I as a physically disabled person who is also a wheelchair user, if I can see somewhere on the website, and if I’m a candidate, if I go on to the careers page, and I can see that statement that clearly says,  “we welcome disabled people, we value their input because x, y and z, we want to make sure that when a disabled person applies for our roles, we have x, y and z ready for them. And all of our buildings are accessible apart from this one, it’s not accessible because of this reason but this is what we’re doing.”  I’m more likely to want to go and stay and work and interact with that organisation. 


So it’s a clear message to employees and candidates showing what is expected in terms of behaviour from them. So if let’s say you’ve done your values towards disabled people in 2017, and they’re really displayed really well, on your intranet all over your message boards internally within your organisation, but then a new employee comes along who hasn’t been there for the setup and they’re not in there reading all those values, they don’t know what those values are, and they might come along with their own idea. So being able to set out those values on your careers page and where you’re advertising your roles, tells potential candidates and employees; “this is what I expect from you. And this is what you can expect when you work for us because this is part of our DNA.” So it’s a really good and I suppose promotional message to advertise your inclusion within the organisation. But it’s also a really good kind of statement to any potential people who might want to work for you that you expect a certain level of behaviour. Okay, and accessibility statement. It doesn’t have to be a finished article and I don’t think it ever can be finished article Because when you’re learning and you’re testing and you’re researching and you’re examining everything, things are going to change all the time. And just one example; technology is developing all the time. So what might be the best practice today, for example, is probably not going to be the best practice and probably six months, three months, to be honest. And so it really doesn’t have to be the finished article. And even the finish article for now, I don’t think that you need a perfect thing before you put it out. I think you just need to clearly state your intentions and the reasons why your intentions. And also in this statement, you could say this is what we intend to do. This is what we want to do in the future. We haven’t quite got there yet, but this is what we’re aiming for, I think it’s fine. I think the more you can support people to understand where you’re coming from the better is more important than the finished product. 


Okay, so can we just have a quick raise of hands to see how we’re doing to make sure everybody’s still there? And the we haven’t kind of gone and had lunch. Oh, that’s excellent. Thank you very much. Does anyone have any questions they’d like to ask?


Joanne I can see that.




I just need to move my face.


Joanne, did you say you had a question?


You raised your hand. Okay. I’m justgoing to find you and unmute you.


Hello, Joanne.


Hi, how are you? Hi, everyone. So we talk about the disability statement the how you can include people? Yeah, my thought is, often these are written from a non disabled lens. I appreciate you can’t involve everybody in every in every thought, but how can organisations make sure that their disability statement is relevant to disabled people be that physical, neuro, or hearing, sight loss, etc? Because often an able bodied person would would would write policy from a non disabled perspective. So how would you encourage people to get that input?


You are right, and that is a really good question. I think that’s great. I think it goes back to what I’ve kind of been saying already about evolving and engaging as many people as possible. So I mean, I will say that a lot of organisations or businesses say to me, we don’t think we have disabled people within our organisations. But I would say I would remind them that a very high percentage; Around 85% of disabled people have invisible disabilities. And a lot of those disabled people,  don’t recognise their impairment as a disability. So if you can involve the biggest amount of people possible with it, you know, without necessarily saying, oh, we’re looking for disabled people to help us, although that would be a very good thing to say as well. But if you can say, we’re looking for experiences in this and you might outline some of the experiences you would like to help you with your statement. So for example, you might talk about do you experience, difficulty getting into buildings?  Do you experience trouble when you are looking for a new job to access the application process and things like that, but you can also ask specifically for any disabled people to be involved. But I think the more people that you involve in the process, the more More, the wider the breadth of experience you’ll get, and you’ll definitely have disabled people there. But I think it’s really important not to shy away from specifically asking disabled people for their advice. So if you’re looking for an internal accessibility statement, obviously you want to want to use your employees. So you can put things out fly your intranet, via your meetings, via your team leaders and things like that to watch for that specific advice. And it doesn’t have to be – people don’t necessarily have to tell you who they are because a lot of disabled people don’t want to disclose their disability into the workplace. So having several options for them to be able to do that is really important. So they can they can give their points of view anonymously if they want, but also having an opportunity for them to come and tell you themselves is really, really important. So having lots of different ways. I use the word survey very lightly to summarise having different ways to gather information from people. When you’re looking at external people, so customers, for example, and external stakeholders, I would also always advocate for having something for a start on your feedback forms that talks specifically to disabled people. So they might be new on your on your customer feedback form might have something towards the bottom, asking, do you identify yourself as disabled? And then if they take Yes, then you ask them a couple of other questions. You know, how did you find x, y and z? What would have helped you more to access the material we were giving? And how could you feel that you would have been more involved in the opportunity and then taking that information and using it to develop your accessibility statement, but then also going back to those same people and saying, Okay, this is what we’ve come up with. What do you think we can we can prove. And depending on your resources, you could co design and co deliver this whole thing. So instead of just asking people for their advice when you’ve done certain things, getting people in from the very beginning, but more again, if you go back to values, the more you can talk about your values and talk about why you want this to happen, the more engaged people will be. When they you when you put your adverts out, the more engaged people will be back to you and say, Yes, I would like to be involved, if you can show that you value them. And if you can show that you really, really want people support, people will tend to come forward.


Does that answer your question?


Have I turned your… hang on….


Oh, I have. Yes. That’s brilliant. Thank you very much.


Does anyone else Have a question before Oh, I can see two other questions up here. 2 seconds


Sarah, what are some of the reasons why we should include disabled people? That’s a very, very good question. And I think disabled people have a wealth of experience. Because we, I will say we instead of them, we have a background of experience of, for example, been battling through adversity, battling through discrimination and prejudice our entire lives. We also have a wealth of experience when it comes to problem solving. So we’re really good problem solvers. Because, again, I won’t go in to it too much today, but because of the way society is shaped, it’s not shaped for disabled people to easily access and so we have to problem so every single day, I say I problem solve about 10 problems before I leave the house at the moment, I’m not leaving the house. But I have to problem solve probably about 15 things now, in order to make things work for me at home, because I’m not going to and I’ve managed to work out how it works. So I think those are some of the reasons why we should include disabled people. And also like everybody else, everybody knows best about what works for them. So if you’re designing something for disabled people, and you don’t have an experience of disability, you are not going to know everything that needs to be involved. If you involve people that know best, then they will be able to tell you and they will be able to back that up with experience and examples of how it can be improved as well. I hope that answers your question, Sarah, thank you very much.


Okay, so.  I’m just going to get, move this off my page and then we’re going to go back


And of course, my cursor has decided not to work.


There we go.


Sorry about that everybody we’re back. Okay.


Right. So the third key area is reasonable or workplace adjustments.


So, in a nutshell, it’s ensuring fairness and equality and equal opportunity across business organisation and education. So there is I will say just now that there is a very big difference between equality and fairness, and I think that quite often gets missed out and misinterpreted the two words. And so if I can summarise up with an example very quickly. So if I see equality as far as I can see it, quality is giving everybody things the same. Fairness is making sure that the opportunities that people have meet their requirements and making sure that they can be on the same level with that opportunity. So for example, in a workplace, if you were to implement a policy that every Wednesday everybody had to eat pork, that would be unfair, that would be very equal, but that would be unfair and discriminating against people, certain religions and Muslims, for example. And also Rastafarians.  Similarly you might put in a policy in your workplace that everybody wear has to wear high heels. Now again, it’s equal because everybody is on the same, but it’s it’s putting at the disadvantage people that can’t walk in High heels. So men, for example, and disabled people, or even women who aren’t experienced and walking in heels, it makes life harder for everyone. So equality versus fairness is again equality is putting everything the same everything at the same level across the board. Fairness is making sure that the opportunities are there for everyone, but adapting that way of working so that everybody can be at the same level.


So I ummed and aarred as to whether to put this at the top because I always think that legislation is very important. But if you are going to be inclusive and aware of disability anyway, you are going to follow the legislation, but I thought I would put it in here. So a reasonable adjustment is a legislative duty under the Equality Act 2010. And I think that’s helpful for perhaps organisations that work in teams where I didn’t know the manager of that team needs a little bit more convincing. And that is a legislative duty.


So there is that to support disabled people to realise the same opportunity as non disabled people.


So for example, what sums it up quite nicely, but for example, I, running my own business, I don’t have a PA or a personal assistant within Office Hours to help me my choice entirely, but it does mean that I work at a slightly slower rate than perhaps a peer who is not disabled or even a peer who is disabled and has a personal assistant. So my reasonable adjustments, and this is the adjustment if I was a manager I put in for my disabled employee is that my deadlines are a little bit extended to that I have a bit longer to complete the job, the job will be done to the same standard, but it just takes me a bit longer because of my physical barriers. So examples of reasonable adjustments include equipment. So it might be, for example, a piece of software on a computer or laptop, it might be a desk or a chair.  It could also be an agile, flexible and remote working. So a reasonable adjustment doesn’t just have to be the physical tangible things that you can see. It could be the intangible things of allowing somebody to work in the way that means that means that they can have the same opportunities and works for them the best and makes them the most productive. It could also be things like physical access. So, organising the office furniture in a way that somebody doesn’t have to wheel their wheelchair all the way to the back of the room in between loads of chairs, for example, it could be  having a lower counter in the kitchen for somebody to reach the coffee machine. And it could be having that disabled person’s parking bay, closer to the door, even if that is kind of C levels parking area. So that disabled person doesn’t have to walk miles to get into work every day. It could be an extra pair of eyes. So for example, if somebody, for example, had dyslexia, and they had to write projects and project outlines, it could be the reasonable adjustment could be that extra pair of eyes to look over it to make sure that the grammar is all correct before they submit it. It could be alternative ways of presenting information. So for example, when I was talking earlier about the best practice of reading a presentation out so that everybody can access it, that could be a policy that you could implement in meetings for someone specifically, or just in general, and that would be a reasonable adjustment to ensure that everybody had the same opportunities to engage and to interact within the meeting. Those are just a few examples, a tiny example of things that might be implemented to support somebody.  What is really important to note is that a reasonable adjustment has to be unique for the individual. So even if you have two wheelchair users, those are reasonable adjustments might be completely different for both wheelchair users. It’s about talking to that disabled person, as we were saying earlier, it’s about understanding that they know best about themselves and then supporting them to come up with an opportunity and a situation that works best. I can see a hand raised Sarah Give me two seconds I’ll be there with you. It might also be extended deadlines, which is something I talked about a minute ago that I do for myself because of my physical access, but it might be because of a learning disability. It might be because I’ve had mental health impairment.  Might be for all sorts of reasons.


Okay, I’m coming to your question, Sarah.


Oh, y’all hadn’t raised I apologise.


Hey, Sarah, I’ve unmuted you




I say Hi, Sarah. And just to add to that, asking open questions, and not closed is one important part of it.


Yeah, I completely agree. Thank you. Yeah, no, I agree with what Sarah just said they’re asking open questions all the time and not close questions, giving people the opportunities to answer and tell you what they need. Not assuming whilst that they are the experts in their own field not assuming that they know always know all the answers and being prepared to support them with their answers and support them with with with responses and conclusions as well.


Sarah, would you like to add anything more?


Um, I guess it’s important to  highlight, it can change over time too 


Absolutely, completely agree. And just because lots of disabled people, for example, acquire their disability, lots of disabled people also have fluctuating disabilities. So just because something is working for somebody at the time, doesn’t mean it’s going to work forever. It doesn’t mean that they might necessarily have to have the same level of support, it might mean that they have to have more support. So you’re absolutely right. Thank you very much for that, Sarah.


Just to explain what I’m doing, my cursor keeps disappearing, which is not very helpful, so I can’t see where the buttons are.


I can mute myself. I’ve done it. Thanks, Sarah.


Okay, so Okay,


 So the key area number 4 – inclusive recruitment. So in a nutshell again, making your recruitment processes accessible and inclusive for disabled applicants will improve your response rate. And that’s not the only reason you should be inclusive of disabled people. Again, I think it goes back to values as well if you value disabled people up value their input, making the recruitment stage and every stage of the applicants and employees journey and customers journey is imperative.


So a few barriers to the inclusive recruitment. I thought that process would be would be useful to kind of outline. So lack of opportunity to demonstrate on application form. So by that what I mean is, it might be physical opportunity to demonstrate. So a lot of application processes and application forms are digital and then they’re on a digital system,  that businesses have bought the software rights to within their organisation. And  those systems aren’t necessarily designed to be accessible for disabled people. So the physical access of those can be a limiting factor. And I could go into specifically things that don’t make them accessible, but I think that would be for another webinar. Also, the style of how the questions are written might not be accessible or inclusive of disabled people. Say for example, if somebody is on the autistic spectrum For more how to the neurodiverse disability, and asking a competency question on the application process, and indeed, in the interview process will not support that person to answer the question. So I would go back to Sarah’s point earlier about asking open questions. So, so finding lots of different ways to ask questions, I would mix it up by asking open and closed questions if somebody was able to answer yes or no. And then somebody else would be able to expand if, if they felt they wanted to, but finding ways of finding out what it is that you actually want to know. And then finding different ways of getting that information from people, I think, is the best way to make it accessible and inclusive in the way that people answer questions. And also, I would add to that if you’re asking about people’s prior experiences, due to discrimination and barriers to employment for the disabled people, there might be a lot of disabled candidates that don’t have that professional experience that they may think that you’re looking for. So don’t telling them and communicating that experience does not have to be work related. It doesn’t have to be professional work related. It could be volunteer work, it could be things that you do in your daily basis, because what you’re trying to get at is whether they’re competent to do the job. So that’s not all about what they’ve done in their prior business life or their worklife . So thinking outside the box, and that would be really important.


And think about your essential criteria. Again, what I’ve just said about lack of opportunities for disabled people, meaning that they, they might lack the opportunity in the workplace in the past, they also might have lack those educational opportunities. So thinking critically about whether the criteria that you usually add is essential. would be really, really important. And if it’s not essential, take it off. So is it really essential that that person has a degree in X, Y and Z? Or is it? Is it just some? Would you like the skills that come out of that degree? And actually, could you find other ways for those people to tell you that they have the skills already, say, for example, I used to work in the care home. And when I applied for the job, it wanted me to have a diploma in health and social care. And I didn’t have a diploma in health and social care, but I knew everything I needed to know about the job, because of my previous work experience, but also my personal experience of being disabled, and being a service user. And so I actually explained that in my application form, and I got an interview and then got the job. So thinking outside the box about what is essential and what is you know, what would just be like and what how you can ask the question different way to make sure the person has that skill. It’s really important. And then also if they don’t have the skill, but if you see potential, what could you do to support them to upskill themselves, maybe on work training experience.  The application process itself was quite inaccessible for disabled people. So if I just explain, going back over what I just explained, just now, the filling in of the application form is inaccessible and answering the questions. But also, even if you’re, you can download the application form onto your laptop, it might be difficult because somebody hasn’t access, the support, they need to fill in that application form. So having different ways for people filling in that application form is really important. So it might be a downloadable version. As I said.  It might be an audio version. So if somebody is blind or has a hearing impairment, they could listen to the questions and then record their own answers. And also I would recommend having a contact centre. So you don’t need to name your contact but having a phone number for somebody to call up and maybe ask them questions about the job and the application form and ask for a bit of support. And having those people on the end of the phone that are ready and knowledgeable, to be able to offer that support and answer those questions is really important. The interview process as well, it’s quite inaccessible sometimes or can be, and it could be down to physical access. It could be down to the interviewer not understanding when they’re building is accessible or not making sure that building is completely accessible all the way through is really important. The structure of the interview as well as the questions that they’re asked how the questions are asked how that person is expected to then answer or if they have to present something in the interview how they’re expected to present that information and think about all those barriers and thinking about, okay, what what could we do in the organisation to mitigate those barriers. And again, going back to using the be experiences of people, disabled people with lived experiences will help you in this when designing that interview process to call it to think about what those barriers are, and then not with that knowledge, working with them to think about ways to mitigate that to train to that structural way of doing interviews in the future.


Bias in recruitment.  We all know a bit about unconscious bias, but there is a lot of bias towards disabled people, that they won’t be able to do it as well as a non disabled person, because they don’t understand that these barriers have happened beforehand. They don’t have the empathy to understand why that person hasn’t got the same experience as everybody else. So for example to limit that bias in the interview, one thing you might be able to do is have the interview structured as a panel interview instead of just one person. So these people have to discuss the answers and explore the reasons why they’ve come to the determination of whether they’re going to take that person forward or not. And if you can’t think of an actual reason, other than Oh, I don’t like the feeling they’re not a culture fit, or they couldn’t physically do that, or they couldn’t answer that question the way I would have liked it to be answered. Then think again about why that person isn’t going forward in that interview process.


Lack of awareness of resources and support available. So I think that’s summed up throughout what I’ve been talking about this morning. So the more aware you can be of what’s available for people, not just available within your organisation, but maybe external resources. Maybe resources from other organisations, maybe equipment resources and also support that’s available, the more you can prepare yourself and support your candidates to be prepared.


Okay, so… just a reminder of their of the barriers and ways to mitigate and barriers. So lack of opportunity, understanding and empathising and communicating expectation not just to the disabled people themselves, but maybe to the people who are in charge of the recruitment and selection panel, the people that put up the adverts and everything.


And if it doesn’t need to be essential, take it off. So just a reminder of what it said before.


And so the application process – having support teams and contact numbers and names, alternative forms Matt’s perhaps an ask the question in a different way. So I said contact numbers and names, but I don’t necessarily feel that you have to have a name. You just have to have a contact number with people on the end, that you can know the answers to the question, and then knowledgeable and to be able to give them support the way that somebody needs that support. The interview process, be productive about access requirements. So proactive, my apologies. So by that, I mean, don’t wait for the disabled candidate themselves to ask about your access. Tell them what your accesses and ask them yourself. So you don’t have to say are you disabled? You can say, Are there any access requirements you would like me to be aware of for this interview process? And always be aware that you can’t ask about some of these disability at any stage and in the interview itself, you can’t ask about somebody’s disability in relation to the job, you can only ask that sorry that access requirements in relation to the job, you can ask that after you’ve accepted them into the position. You can ask them about access requirements in relation to the interview. And the more information you can give somebody so you can say for example, we will be asking you to do X, Y and Z. Then that disabled person themselves will be able to say, Oh, yes, I’m a wheelchair user, I need step free access, for example, or I am partially sighted I will need somebody to physically lead me to the interview space. And you might want to give options as well examples of what you can do; help somebody feel a bit more confident about asking for that extra support. And as I said, I have a recruitment panel made up of diverse members from across the organisation So by that I mean diversity in characteristics but also diversity in job roles across the organisation, and have open communication and scrutinise your responses and why you feel what you feel. 


I’m just mindful of time here


Communicate to your reasonably communicate your blood justement policy, to your staff, to your employees, and also to disabled people so that they know what your policy is and how they, as a disabled person, they can be supported within your organisation and as a member of staff as a hiring manager, for example. They know what is possible, and what support is available to help them as a hiring manager support that simple person in the workplace and also what’s available for that same person in the first place. 


Okay, so next steps. So I would suggest that you decide on an objective, be clear and specific about what that objective is. Understand what already exists, because there might be things that already exist but again, if they’re not communicated properly, might not know about them, and doesn’t match your organisation values for disabled people. So obviously, after you’ve come up with your value, why you value disabled people, does what already exists matches those values or does it need to be updated and looked at again.  Who needs to be involved and use your assets in this.  So involve your disabled employees and customers and also involve everybody else you need to involve make sure that people with lived experience are involved at every stage of this process.  Because you can design it once with disabled people or you could design it twice,  without using disabled people and then realising there’s things that are missing. So and I recommend that you follow the orders that in this presentation


so how can Celebrating Disability help I hear you ask?


Well, so I have designed a support package, just support anyone support businesses through this process. So we would start with an exploratory call to find out exactly what is going on within your organisation, what what you would like your values to be where you would like to get to and then support you to get there. And we would design and develop an action plan suitable for remote working and we could deliver online training to support your chosen key areas and areas to take shape and included in the training and the other resources, we will include information to support buy in from around the organisation. And we will also provide you with example documents of how and where to get started. And you could also have unlimited access to me through throughout this project to bounce ideas and answer questions to support with engagement of key stakeholders and to review your documentation.

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