Gateway Family Services has recently applied for, and been accepted to, the Jobcentre Plus “Two Ticks – Positive About People with Disabilities” scheme.
It means we have made a public commitment to being positive about employing disabled people, and shows our existing employees that we value their contribution and will treat them fairly if they become disabled.
It also means that you’ll be seeing the Two Ticks symbol a lot more from now on – on our stationery, our website, our newsletter and any job or volunteer adverts!
Why employ people with disabilities?
Nearly seven million people of working age are disabled or have a long term health condition. Historically there has been a significant gap between the proportion of people with disabilities employed compared to non-disabled people. This is despite it being against the law to treat a person less favourably than someone else because they have a disability – whether that’s at recruitment, in relation to pay or conditions, or when selecting for redundancy.
Gateway would like to encourage and support applications for jobs from people with disabilities, to create a workforce that reflects the diverse range of people that we serve.
We’d also like to be able to retain, or support into alternative employment, any of our current employees who become disabled whilst working for us.
In order to achieve the Two Ticks, we have made formal commitments to the following five areas:
- To interview all disabled candidates who meet the minimum requirement of the job and to consider them on their abilities. This is now included in our Shortlisting and Recruitment Policies.
- To discuss with disabled employees, at any time but at least once a year, what we can do to make sure they can develop and use their abilities. This should be included in their one to ones and appraisals.
- To make every effort, should an employee become disabled, to make sure they stay in employment.
- To take action to ensure that all employees develop the appropriate level of disability awareness to make these commitments work. This is now included in our mandatory equality training.
- To review these commitments every year, to assess what has been achieved and plan ways to improve on them – and to let employees and Jobcentre Plus know about progress and future plans. This will be included in our Annual Business Plan from now on.
As an organisation we have always aimed to be positive about everyone’s abilities, and – as we talked about to some extent in last week’s blog post, Fair doesn’t mean equal – to make sure that everyone is able to participate fully. By applying for – and achieving – the Two Ticks, we’re happy to say we have simply formalised many of the things we already do.
As a disabled worker at Gateway I can say that the organization has this notion of fairness woven through every aspect of work and service.
I was hired after being unemployed for many months, always being given the same ‘You interviewed well, but don’t have enough experience’ line, despite being a graduate with retail and civil service admin experience. Gateway gave me a chance. And now I’m co-ordinating University trials and being given training and experience opportunities for management.
Not only that, but I can also say that I’ve been given all the help I could need to adapt my work to my disability. Even before an ATOS and Access to Work visit by Jobcentre Plus I’d been provided with a top-of-the-line angle-poise arm for my computer monitor, at the company’s expense. They didn’t have to do that by any legal requirement – it could have waited for the ATOS inspection – but they saw I had a need and did not hesitate to put resources into fulfilling it.