International Day of Persons with Disabilities falls on 3 December each year, with the aim of promoting empowerment and helping to create real opportunities for people with disabilities. Empowerment involves investing in people – in jobs, health, nutrition, education, and social protection.
Four percent of Orbit employees have declared living with a disability. Orbit has a Workability forum that hold quarterly meetings, providing colleagues with a disability and those interested in supporting disabled employees with a platform for discussion and support. .
There are around one billion people living with disabilities worldwide, facing many barriers to inclusion in many key aspects of society.
People with disabilities do not enjoy access to society on an equal basis with others, which includes areas of transportation, employment, and education as well as social and political participation.
When people are empowered they are better prepared to take advantage of opportunities, they become agents of change and can embrace their civic responsibilities.
The government launched a new strategy to break down employment barriers and help more disabled people into work in the next decade.
The strategy includes:
1. Extending fit note certification beyond GPs to a wider group of healthcare professionals, including physiotherapists, psychiatrists and senior nurses, to better identify health conditions and treatments to help workers go back into their jobs faster.
2. Conducting large-scale employment research pilots in West Midlands and Sheffield which will include over 11,000 people to gather evidence to help improve services for those with health conditions, supporting them get into and stay in work, and helping make sure services are accessible and inclusive for all.
3. Work coaches have received training to help them work with benefit claimants with mental health conditions.
4. Investment for the employment of advisors in an existing NHS programme treating people with depression and anxiety disorders.
5. Responding in full to the 40 recommendations of the Stevenson/Farmer Review of mental health and
6. Promoting the Disability Confident scheme.
7. Appointing an Expert Working Group on Occupational Health to champion, shape and drive a programme of work to take an in-depth look at the sector.
Disability and Orbit
The Workability employee forum has:
Identified the need to support employees with dyslexia and members have trailed software to support workplace adjustments
Drafted policies and processes to ensure that workplace adjustments are dealt with efficiently and effectively
Created a Disability Passport to enable employees to discuss and record disability related adjustments
Discussed future plans to promote awareness around mental health – see Time to Talk and watch this space for events coming up in February
Many of Orbit’s customers also have disabilities and to support them the organisation has:
Reviewed the aids and adaptations policy for customers
Provided mental health awareness training for many front line teams to support their awareness of mental health issues and the impact it can have on customers
Introduced Breathing Space for customers - a free 24 hour mental wellbeing support service working in partnership with Mental Health Matters (MHM), The Befriending Scheme, Support Northamptonshire, Mind in Bexley and Re-Instate