Overview
“A disability or health condition should not dictate the path a person is able to take in life – or in the workplace.”

(Improving Lives: The Work, Health and Disability Green Paper [2016])

During the 2015 General Election the Conservative Party pledged in their manifesto to halve the disability employment gap, and reduce barriers that prevent people with disabilities or long term health conditions from obtaining or maintaining employment. This half-day forum offers a chance to discuss progress so far two years after the election, share best practice and look forward to the strategy for the next three years.

Halving the Disability Employment Gap

Discussions will focus on the progress made in closing the Disability Employment Gap and ensuring equal access to labour market opportunities. Speakers will consider the latest thinking for reducing the barriers facing individuals with disabilities and long-term illnesses from gaining meaningful employment and analyse the potential reform of the integrated welfare system to provide support.

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Recruiting a Diverse Workforce

Sessions will examine the emerging ways to ensure capable candidates – regardless of any physical or mental ill health – are always considered in the recruitment process as well as options for recruiters and employers to encourage applications from people with disabilities and long-term conditions. Delegates will discuss the impact of the Disability Confident campaign on employer attitudes as well as the practical solutions to deliver a diverse and disparate workforce.

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Encouraging Inclusivity in the Workplace

Sessions will focus on the compelling business case for investing in ways to make working environments more user-friendly and harnessing the power of technology to facilitate and enable accessibility for those with a range of impairments. A focus will also be on the potential evolution of legal responsibilities for employers and how the rights of employees facing disability or long-term illness are best preserved while not dissuading potential employers from employing.


Agenda
Start

08:30 - 09:00
Registration and Networking

 

09:00 - 09:05
Chair’s Welcoming remarks

 

09:05 - 09:25
Disability Employment Gap: Recommendations from the Work and Pensions Committee Inquiry

 

09:25 - 09:45
Long-Term Illness and Employment: Improving work and health outcomes

 
Speaker invitations under consideration  

- - - -  Questions, and answer session with delegates - - - -




09:45 - 10:35
Halving the Disability Employment Gap: Making sustainable employment an option for all

 
  • Understanding the context of unemployment for people with disabilities or illnesses, the barriers which prevent them finding work and the needs of both potential employees and employers alike.
  • What is being done to enhance and improve in-work support; not only helping people into work but helping those who become ill or disabled whilst employed stay in work? How would the planned increase in funding for practical employment support for disabled people be put to best use?
  • Why is it important to acknowledge the need for cross-governmental strategy and for projects like the Work and Health Unit to bring departments together? On a wider level, how could an integration of the health, social care and welfare systems be achieved to provide timely, appropriate and co-ordinated health and employment support to those who need it?
  • How will planned reforms to welfare provisions such as the Work Capability Assessment and ESA, particularly the plans to separate the financial and supportive functions, help people with disabilities or illness find work? 

Speakers invitations under consideration  

 
- - - -  Questions, and answer session with delegates - - - -




Speakers

Laura Wetherly Policy Manager - Welfare & Employment, MS Society

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Gill Dix Head of Strategy, ACAS

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10:35 - 10:40
Chair’s Closing Comments

 

10:40 - 11:10
Refreshments and Networking break

 

11:10 - 11:15
Chair's Welcoming Remarks

 
To be announced

11:15 - 12:05
Recruiting a Diverse Workforce: Ensuring equal access to the labour market

 
  • Removing barriers to employment and creating equal opportunities for disabled people and people with long-term illness; how are capable candidates being disadvantaged and excluded by current recruitment practices and what can employers do to reduce the existing barriers to employment? What does an inclusive recruitment process look like and how can employers attract a range of applicants?
  • What role do organisations like the Jobcentre Plus play in providing appropriate and effective support and how can specialised work coaches and specialist Disability Support Advisors be more accessible for those who wish to gain employment but need extra assistance? How can supported employment provide the appropriate support for those with significant disabilities not only find work but assist with continued career development in the long term?
  • How has the Government’s Disability Confident campaign encouraged and empowered companies to widen their recruitment to be inclusive and accommodating to a variety of disabilities and illnesses? Are employers engaging with the scheme and what more could be done to raise awareness of the support on offer to employers wishing to recruit talented individuals regardless of health conditions?
Speakers invitations under consideration  

- - - -  Questions, and answer session with delegates - - - -




Speakers

Mike Adams Chief Executive Officer, Purple

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12:05 - 12:55
Encouraging Inclusivity in the Workplace: Accessibility, flexibility and acceptance

 
  • What more can be done to bring employers on-board, and incentivise inclusivity? If employees or candidates need extra support to enter the workforce and retain employment, for example assistance with transport or time off for medical appointments, how could employers be persuaded to view this as an essential investment in talent?
  • What practical steps can be taken by employers to limit the issues faced by those with disabilities and long-term illness in the workplace? How can employers take advantage of new technologies and the changing nature of work, for example utilising flexible working, working from home, and providing the in-work support to make employment more realistic for those with disabilities or long-term illness? As we face an increasingly aging workforce, in the future how can the workplace adapt to accommodate the specialist needs of employees?
  • With an understanding of the legal responsibilities of employers and rights of employees, how can employee’s rights be preserved without dissuading employers from employing people with impairments?
  • With disabled men experiencing a pay gap of 11% compared to non-disabled men, and the gap doubling to 22% for women, as reported by the Papworth Trust in 2016; what cultural shift is required to move away from low pay, low hours and low expectations and ensure that the pay gap halves as well as the employment gap?
Speakers invitations under consideration  

- - - -  Questions, and answer session with delegates - - - -




Speakers

Nick Pahl CEO, The Society of Occupational Medicine

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Diane Lightfoot Chief Executive Officer, Business Disability Forum

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12:55 - 13:00
Chair’s and Policy-UK’s Thanks

 
To be announced

End

Speakers

Mike Adams Chief Executive Officer, Purple

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Gill Dix Head of Strategy, ACAS

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Diane Lightfoot Chief Executive Officer, Business Disability Forum

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Nick Pahl CEO, The Society of Occupational Medicine

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Laura Wetherly Policy Manager - Welfare & Employment, MS Society

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James Taylor Head of Policy and Public Affairs, Scope

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Nicola Whiteman Senior Policy Officer, Papworth Trust

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Venue details

One Birdcage Walk 1 Birdcage Walk Westminster London SW1H 9JJ

Venue website

One Birdcage Walk

Speakers
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