Opinions

Modifying HR processes is key to closing the employment gap for disabled people.

Written by: Louise Coupland, Development Officer, the ALLIANCE

Published: 31/07/2018

Illustration of 9 people sitting around a table in birdseye view, with the caption 'Change' in the middle

Louise reflects on the key findings from a recent ALLIANCE consultation event on employability.

The ALLIANCE recently worked in partnership with the Poverty Alliance and SUSE (the Scottish Union of Supported Employment) to hold an event in response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on increasing the employment of disabled people in the public sector.

The event was attended by participants with a range of lived experience as well as those working in the employability sector, delivering in both the public and third sectors.

The ALLIANCE has produced a briefing on the event covering the discussions which took place, however, it’s fair to say that it’s difficult to do justice to the passion that was in the room and the quality of the feedback in just a few pages.

I wanted to write this piece to share with our members the innovative and well devised response which emerged from our participants. Despite working separately in different groups, each one reached the same, unanimous conclusion about the use of targets in relation to the employment of disabled people.

Our attendees didn’t agree with the notion of setting targets for the number of disabled people employed in the public sector. The reason for this was concern that this measure could lead to positive discrimination or more distressingly, the creation of poor quality jobs that are ring-fenced for disabled people, with the core criteria being to meet the ‘quota’ set by the Scottish Government. Participants voiced a passion for employment processes to be targeted – for public bodies and employers to be targeted in their approaches to recruitment, disability awareness, flexibility in working structures and employee support. By targeting such processes, a gold standard would finally be created, altering Human Resource practices which would enable a culture change. This would be the catalyst to change, introducing transparency and unity into the workplace.

The groups went on to discuss and identify measurable outcomes which would indicate whether this move had been successful. They also scoped out an ‘offer’ in terms of how they could work together with the Scottish Government to design and implement targeted HR processes in employment.

I am working on completing the ALLIANCE’s consultation response, together with our partners at SUSE, which will capture the views and proposals that were aired at our session. I felt I wanted to share this vision with our members to see whether you echoed the support that we heard for such a concept, and to welcome offers of its support.

If you would like to discuss this in further detail, please email me via louise.coupland@alliance-scotland.org.uk or call 0141 404 0231.

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