davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
... is me beating my head against a brick wall in response to this tweet from Penny Mordaunt MP, Minister of State for Disabled People:

Yep, that's the Minister of State for Disabled People celebrating World Downs Syndrome Day by saying how 'inspiring' it is that a young woman with Downs Syndrome actually has a job. Disabilityconfident she isn't.

I may have been inspired to a rant about the objectification of disabled people as 'inspiring'.

davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)

Beyond my part in the Spartacus Network response to the Work and Health Green Paper, I wanted to do a personal response as I take a slightly different view of the Disability Employment Gap that Work and Health is supposed to challenge and think it's much more to do with employer/recruiter disability discrimination and tacit government acceptance of the same/reluctance to display employers in a bad light.

I'd set today aside to do that, as submissions have to be in before 11:45PM (and dyspraxic, so bad with deadlines and planning), so of course today was the day I crashed and burned and slept all day because of cumulative fatigue.

The consultation had 46 questions, I managed to answer about 30 of them between waking up and remembering and 11:30PM rolling around which was when I pressed submit (just in time, it wasn't exactly quick to respond).

Which means I couldn't thoroughly respond to Work and Health because it was too much work for my health....

*headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk*


davidgillon: Text: I really don't think you should put your hand inside the manticore, you don't know where it's been. (Don't put your hand inside the manticore)

Sigh, even the DWP admitted that Two Ticks was being abused and needed to be replaced because employers were overwhelmingly not following through on their commitments towards disabled people under the scheme. (Research showed one in five did nothing, and over half met only one of five commitments)

So it created Disability Confident as a (badly flawed) replacement

Then what does it do?

It hands Disability Confident status to every company that had Two Ticks

Utterly farcical

Article with comments by Yours Truly

At least it explains where DWP found 2400 firms to sign up to Disability Confident so quickly. 2300 of them didn't.

Ticked Off

Nov. 17th, 2016 10:07 pm
davidgillon: Illo of Oracle in her manual chair in long white dress with short red hair and glasses (wheelchair)
Not me!

"Ticked Off" is a piece of analysis I've been writng to look into the government's Disability Confident scheme, which has morphed into a replacement for Two Ticks, the much derided (by us) and much abused (by employers) scheme to guarantee the employment and fair treatment of disabled staff.

To illustrate the 'quality' of the new scheme, you can be a 'Disability Confident Leader', the top level, with no disabled employees and an inaccessible workplace. It's extremely poorly written, and very difficult to comprehend all the requirements as a whole, so I set out to dissect it. I ended up with 5,500 words, 16 pages and 6 data tables. I don't think anyone had sat down to do a line by line comparison between Disability Confident, Two Ticks, and the Equality Act 2010 before. But when you do it's clear that Disability Confident is actually a weakening of employer commitments, and only very marginally stronger than existing legal requirements, and in places considers legal requirements optional.

The report is here: Ticked Off

A news article on it from Disability News Service is here. I think John Pring did a really good job of extracting the highlights to give a TLDR version, and it was really surprising to see the Business Disability Forum come through with comments that backed my analysis (that must have turned up at the 11th hour as John had had nothing back from them when we talked late last night).



davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
That 'Shockingly Bad' is my quote, in fact the entire first half of the article is one long quote from me. And I wasn't just writing for effect, I commented in a side note to John Pring, the journalist whose article it is, that I'm genuinely appalled.

TLDR: A government disability scheme is so bad it can't even get the legal definition of disability right.

We used to have a scheme called "Two Ticks", which had a logo of, surprisingly, two ticks, which employers could sign up to to say they were disability friendly, in return for agreeing to five measures.Measures like always interviewing disabled candidates who met the requirements, and discussing whether needs were being met on a yearly basis. So not exactly onerous. In practise companies used to sign up, put the logo on their paperwork and do nothing as it was almost never checked (Evil Aerospace are the only company I've ever heard of having it taken off them). Needless to say it fell into disrepute.

We (disabled people) were promised several years ago that a better replacement would be along soon.

In the meantime we've had the worse than useless Disability Confident proclaiming that employers are just embarrassed about disability.

It's now emerged, they aren't confident enough to do a proper launch, that a revamped Disability Confident is the replacement for Two Ticks and will have three tiers.

Tier 1 asks companies to make a single commitment in comparison to Two Ticks five, is self assessed, and once they've sent in the trivial paper work, they get to use the new logo.

Tier 2 asks companies to sign up to several more commitments, roughly equivalent to Two Ticks, and again it's self assessed and they get a pretty logo. The commitments basically amount to agreeing to do what is already legally required under the Equality Act 2010. (Yes, that's right, Tier 1 signs you up to do less than you're already legally required to).

I thought 'well, at least Tier 3 will better than Two Ticks'. More fool me.

Tier 3 consists of getting yourself assessed on Tier 2. You can pay to get yourself assessed, but you can also be assessed by your mate whose company is already Tier 3, or your mate who runs a Disabled People User Led Organisation, even if it has no interest whatsoever in employment. Pass this and you get to call yourself a 'Disability Confident Leader' and use the appropriate logo.

They've taken a scheme that was worthless because everyone signed up for the logo and never followed through on the commitments, and replaced it with one where you don't have to make the commitments.

The other quotes in the article are interesting, even the people who worked with DWP on producing it, including a DPULO that's stopped being a DPULO and rebranded itself into an assessment company to take advantage, are describing it as a lost opportunity. While others openly say 'if we asked companies to stop being disablist none of them would sign up'.

Talk about being seen to be doing something.





davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
I've already mentioned my opposition to Disability Confident and making myself heard online over their Swansea event last Tuesday, but I got a tweet on Thursday night from the journalist John Pring, who runs the Disability News Service, asking if I'd run my eye over the article he was writing and give him some comments. So I read through it and flung a bunch of stuff his way, expecting him to pick out maybe a sentence. Instead he quoted about a page worth! 

The article has a quote from the Director of the Institute of Directors - Wales, saying that it would be a mistake to enforce disability rights legislation, immediately followed by me noting that industry has had 60 years to comply with disability employment law and clearly isn't about to do it voluntarily. Point to me I think!  (I should actually have said 70 years as I'm counting from 1944). It also linked to my new blog on all the "inspiring" quotes coming out of attendees, which made his insistence they were impressed by their stories look ever so slightly at variance with the recorded facts.

It then goes on to let me comprehensively shred the entire initiative for refusing to even acknowledge that disability discrimination exists. I don't think Disability Confident are going to be very happy with me when they see it on Monday.


davidgillon: Text: You can take a heroic last stand against the forces of darkness. Or you can not die. It's entirely up to you" (Heroic Last Stand)
 Disability Confident is a government initiative to tackle the 2m person disability employment gap, by explaining how employers are just embarrassed about disability. Yeah, right, not exactly taking the bull by the horns, is it? I've been dissecting it pretty much since it started 2 years ago, demonstrating how it refuses to actually acknowledge workplace disability discrimination, and how its own attitudes are problematic for disabled people - it thinks having a disability is a 'problem' that means employers need a 'business case' to consider hiring you - the fact it's illegal to consider disability in an employment decision is never mentioned.

Anyway, they had a big event in Swansea today, declaring it the UK's first Disability Confident city - not that it's actually done anything to deserve it, of course, but maybe someone felt it would be a nice distraction from the closure of the Independent Living Fund. It was so important for government disability policy that the Minister for Disabled People sent a video and the local MP sent a councillor to speak for him....

So as usual I live tweeted my reaction to tweets being posted by people at the event in Swansea - and got about 5 times the volume of retweets as all the actual attendees combined! It was actually even worse than these events usually are for people tweeting how 'inspiring' we are, with a special award going to the woman who doesn't like us calling ourselves 'disabled people' and wanted to start another debate on what we call ourselves and see if we gave the right answer this time....  I'm really not sure she understood the problem with what she was saying, even though she was fully aware what the Social Model is and why we choose to use 'disabled people' as our label of choice. 

I'd added some new tweets to my repertoire, noting that we'd call 2m gay people denied work homophobia, 2m BME people denied work racism, 2m Muslim people denied work Islamophobia, but Disability Confident wants us to say 2m disabled people denied work is just a little employer embarrassment, (I backed off a little on 2m women denied work as I realised at the last moment I don't know how bad the female employment gap actually is and we may call it situation normal) Despite that I've still yet to see anyone come out of a Disability Confident event actually tweeting about how disability discrimination in the workplace must be stopped.

One slight change for the better is that I did get a couple of female attendees (one of them Ms You-Must-Call-Yourselves-PWDs) to engage with me on what the problem with Disability Confident is, which is only the second time in 2 years. OTOH, two gentlemen tweeting about how inspiring we all are disputed they had actually said that when pointed at Stella Young's I'm not here for your Inspiration, thank you. 'I was talking about the speaker's self-confidence. I find that inspiring' - dude, you tweeted 'Inspiring Stories!'!?!


davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
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