Disability Confident: update on a great communication campaign

About the author

Ann is a co-founder of PR Academy. Her special areas of interest are internal communication, change management and project communication. MSc, Dip CAM, MCIPR

Late last year, Yvonne O’Hara – a CIPR PR Diploma graduate and now Deputy Director of Disability Communications at DWP – talked to us about the Disability Confident Campaign.  As the campaign reaches is second birthday, I asked Yvonne for an update…..

Disability Confident encourages employers big, small and medium to recognise the talents of disabled people and challenges the perception that some employers have that recruiting and retaining a disabled person is complicated.

To mark the second anniversary of Disability Confident, a week-long social media campaign celebrating its achievements is taking place. Hosted on a new Linkedin Showcase page which features case studies, videos and blogs from employers such as National Grid, Marks and Spencer, Futjitsu and Reed Smith as well as inspirational quotes from supporters Richard Branson and Sir Stelios Haji Ioannou. Many of these highlight disabled people’s skills, dispel the myths around employing disabled people and tell employers about support they can access to make their workplace more accessible.

Despite only being two years old, with minimal marketing spend, the campaign has already made a difference. Disability employment is now at 3.2 million, a 2.5% increase on last year, the largest year on year increase in a decade.

Disability Confident has 368 partners and supporters. This includes employers large, medium and small and disabled people’s groups and charities. 15 cross-party MP events have taken place with pledges of action from large employers and SMEs as well as six national events with the Minister for Disabled People since January 2015.

For its third year, the campaign is seeking to extend its reach to SMEs and to encourage them to be more disability confident in order to achieve government’s aim to halve the disability employment gap. The campaign aims to dispel myths around the difficulties perceived by some SMEs about recruiting and retaining disabled people. Working with existing and new partners, they will be encouraged to mentor SMEs in their supply chain to embark on the journey to become Disability Confident. The campaign’s identity will be refreshed to reflect the new focus on SMEs and will seek to speak directly to them through trusted voices such as trade bodies, direct marketing, and using LinkedIn as the primary portal for the campaign as well as hosting even more local MP events. Disability Confident also aims to engage more public sector employers to join the campaign and build on the success of which recently became the first Disability Confident city.”

Thanks for the update Yvonne.  If you want to get involved as a Disability Confident partner, you can get in touch with the team here.