Supplementary memorandum by Bryan Heiser, Engage Network (PAP 57(a))
I thought it might be useful if I left your Committee with our overall message:
There are three possible objectives with respect to the appointment of disabled people:
(a) Removing discriminatory barriers (a legal duty, but still in need of implementation).
(b) Positive action to compensate for the historic exclusion of disabled people from the mainstream, with the objective of achieving a proportion of disabled appointees equal to the proportion of disabled people in the general population.
(c) Specific and targeted action to appoint disabled people in particular numbers to particular bodies where our presence is particularly wanted for specific disability-related skills and experience.
Each of the above is a legitimate aspiration; the Government should ensure that each Department determines the appropriate objective for each body, and then follows robust and monitored action plans for achieving these objectives.
Critical to the achievement of these targets, and the success of the action plans, will be the following three actions:
1. Urgent action to remove the barrier to appointment presented by the benefit rules (this was, as you know, the subject of a detailed briefing to your committee).
2. The creation of a Government website which is accessible to everyone including disabled people as a single source of information on all Government public appointments.
3. Provision of opportunities for mentoring, shadowing and training for disabled people who wish to achieve public office.