Department of Health and Social Care: Disability

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered am ar 24 Mai 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Caroline Nokes Caroline Nokes Chair, Women and Equalities Committee, Chair, Women and Equalities Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps their Department is taking to support the Disability Confident scheme; how many officials in their Department work directly on supporting that scheme; what assessment they have made of the effectiveness of that work in supporting the (a) recruitment and (b) retention of disabled people in their Department; and what further steps they are taking to support their Department’s recruitment and retention of disabled people.

Photo of Andrew Stephenson Andrew Stephenson Assistant Whip, Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

The Department proudly supports the Disability Confident Scheme, and has renewed its status as a Disability Confident employer. No single official works directly on the scheme, and in line with Civil Service guidance, we have moved away from standalone roles and teams to embed equality, diversity, and inclusion activities within existing human resource portfolios and roles. Activity to support the recruitment and retention of colleagues with a disability is undertaken across our recruitment, talent, and employee experience teams.

In the last calendar year, 11.3% of successful applicants applied under the Disability Confident Scheme. This is a slight increase from last year, at 10.9%. We additionally review our disability representation rates on a regular basis to monitor the impact of our recruitment practices and policy changes. We also have dedicated staff networks to support our disabled employees and celebrate achievements. Turnover of permanent employees who have declared they have a disability is currently approximately 6%, which is significantly lower than the average permanent staff turnover of colleagues who do not have a declared disability.

In 2023, we launched a new Workplace Adjustments policy, process, and passport. The new process is designed to ensure everyone in the Department can access the support they need as easily and quickly as possible via a person-centred approach that identifies and seeks to remove workplace barriers.

We also delivered several talent schemes that can assist in supporting the retention and development of disabled colleagues. This includes Beyond Boundaries, a 12-month programme for the Senior Executive Officer grade and below, to support candidates in reaching their full potential. As part of the programme, to support disability positive action, last year we ringfenced six job places out of 30, based on the proportionality of our disabled workforce, the People Survey, and recruitment data. We expect to take similar action this year.

In addition, the Future Leaders Scheme (FLS) is a 12-month accelerated development scheme for Grade 6 or 7 colleagues, who have the potential to progress to the Civil Service’s most senior and critical leadership roles. There is an option for those candidates who declare a disability or long-term health condition, or both, to enrol on the Disability Empowers Leadership Talent Association (DELTA) integrated scheme. In 2022, we had four candidates participate in DELTA out of the 21 successful FLS candidates, and two out of 26 in 2021, as per the data from the Cabinet Office. It should be noted that due to the sensitive nature of the programmes, not all participants are comfortable in being open about participation in DELTA, especially those with disabilities who have yet to disclose this to their colleagues or managers.

Finally, the Department’s mutual mentoring programme encourages underrepresented groups, including colleagues with disabilities, to mentor senior civil service colleagues to help increase the engagement and retention of underrepresented staff, and increase cultural intelligence in senior leaders.

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