Disability Confident: welcome guide for new members

Written by the Department for Work & Pensions

Being Disability Confident can benefit your organisation in a number of ways. It could help you:

  • tap into the huge pool of talent amongst disabled people, and recruit, retain and develop people with the skills you need
  • increase your understanding of disability and how to make the most of the opportunities provided by employing disabled people
  • remove barriers that might be preventing disabled people and those with long term health conditions from accessing employment with you
  • play your part in ensuring that disabled people have opportunities to fulfil their potential and realise their aspirations

As a Disability Confident member, you have access to free information, support and guidance, and a range of exclusive activities, including:

  • regular newsletters including up-to-date advice and support
  • member-only online forums where you can ask questions, and share good practice
  • exclusive events like webinars and conferences led by leaders and experts on key disability employment topics
  • top tips guides
  • a wealth of information and advice to help you on your Disability Confident journey

So you can access this information and advice, make sure you keep us up to date if the named contact or contact details for your organisation change, by emailing disabilityconfident.scheme@dwp.gov.uk.

Your membership as a Disability Confident Committed employer lasts for 3 years. If during that period, you progressed to a higher level, then the 3-year period will restart at the new level. If you reach the end of the 3-year period without progressing, you’ll be able to renew your membership.

But now you’re a Disability Confident member, there is nothing to stop you making progress straight away, building your reputation as a leader in the field, and realising more of the benefits of being an inclusive employer.

Find out more about the 3 Disability Confident levels in the Progressing through the Disability Confident scheme section.

The Disability Confident community

More and more organisations are joining Disability Confident. To see a full list of scheme members, you can take a look at our members list.

Many Disability Confident members are keen to share their experiences and good practice. Members from all sectors and of all sizes like to learn from each other. There are a few ways you can do this.

Disability Confident online forums

Join our forums on Facebook and LinkedIn where members can talk to other employers, ask questions, and share good practice. Forum members also receive live updates from the Disability Confident scheme.

You can join and take part in these forums at:

Training on specialist topics

Disability Confident members are invited to exclusive, specialist events on a range of disability employment topics. These include seminars, webinars and information-sharing sessions. These are delivered by Disability Confident Level 3 Leaders who are themselves employers and will understand the issues you face. Previous themes have included successful recruitment, mental health at work, workplace adjustments and supporting workers with terminal illnesses.

To make sure you can participate in these activities, keep us up to date if the named contact or contact details for your organisation change, by emailing disabilityconfident.scheme@dwp.gov.uk.

Business Leaders’ Group

The development and delivery of Disability Confident is guided by a group of business leaders who make sure the scheme is meeting the needs of businesses and disabled people in the UK. It’s made up of employers drawn from different industry sectors and includes disabled people in the group.

The group comprises representatives from:

Arsenal FC
Channel 4
Coca-Cola European Partners
Ford of Britain
John Lewis and Partners
Kier Group
M&G Prudential
Network Rail
Odgers Berndtson
Royal Mail

Getting started

There is a wide range of guidance and support available to help businesses develop their services for people with a disability or health condition. Disability Confident can help you to access this support.

This pack provides links to a number of sources of information and support. It is not an exhaustive list, but it should help to get you started.

Help to meet the Disability Confident commitments

As a Disability Confident Committed organisation, you have agreed to the 5 Disability Confident core commitments and identified at least 1 thing you’ll do that will make a difference for disabled people.

You can find out more about the commitments and get advice on how to meet them in Disability Confident Committed: hiring good people is good business. This guidance contains links to a variety of sources of information and organisations that can support employers.

Top tip guides

The following guides have been developed by Disability Confident Leaders with support from expert organisations. The full range of resources can be found online.

For directors

Leading from the front

This guide is written with a board-level audience in mind to reflect the importance of senior leadership in setting both strategic direction and the public agenda. It was authored jointly by KPMG and Purple, (an organisation that brings together business and disabled people). Both are Disability Confident Leaders and worked together with other leading organisations to produce this guide.

For line managers

Recruiting, managing and developing people with a disability or health condition – a guide for line managers

Disability Confident, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), and other experts produced this quick and easy reference tool for line managers – from those working in large organisations to owner-managers of small firms. It gives top tips on a range of areas relating to disability employment.

Expert advice

Jobcentre Plus and Find a Job

Jobcentre Plus has a range of recruitment services that can help you as an employer – this could include:

  • advice and specialist support
  • help setting up work trials
  • support from other employment schemes

The Find a Job recruitment website is a free to use resource, with a Disability Confident jobs filter, so jobseekers can find inclusive companies like yours.

Work and Health Programme providers

The Work and Health Programme (WHP) was launched throughout England and Wales on a rolling basis between November 2017 and March 2018, helping people who have a disability to find sustained work.

Providers work in each part of the country and can offer support and advice for businesses on the recruitment, retention and development of disabled people. They offer a range of services and can often tailor the help they provide to meet your circumstances. Most of their services are free to employers.

To find your nearest provider, check the list below:

Central EnglandShaw Trust
North EastReed In Partnership
North WestIngeus
Home CountiesShaw Trust
Greater ManchesterIn Work (Ingeus / Growth Company)
West London AllianceShaw Trust
Central LondonIngeus
Local LondonMaximus
South London PartnershipReed In Partnership

Employment support in Scotland

Fair Start Scotland is an employment support service which helps people living in Scotland to prepare for and find work. You can find out more about the service and the different providers across Scotland online.

The Disability Confident website

The website contains a range of information on the scheme and guidance on employing disabled people. This includes:

Sharing your success

Signing up to be Disability Confident Level 1 Committed means your Disability Confident journey has begun.

When you joined you received a Disability Confident badge and certificate for you to use on your website and in other promotional materials.

Why not use them straight away to tell everyone associated with your business about the commitment you have made?

You can find a range of materials for members online to help you promote your success and encourage others to sign up.

Your current employees

Tell colleagues who work in your organisation that you’re Disability Confident, so they can take pride in where they work and feel empowered to talk about disability and well-being at work. Why not share the Disability Confident line manager guide with your managers to help build their confidence?

There are ready-to-use internal communications resources for you on our promotional material page.

Your future employees

You can use your Disability Confident badge to flag up to disabled jobseekers that you’re an attractive employer to apply to. Include the Disability Confident badge on your website and in your recruitment advertising.

Why not advertise vacancies on the Find a Job website? It has a Disability Confident filter so candidates can search for jobs advertised by Disability Confident employers. You may also want to let recruitment agencies know that you’re Disability Confident and want to actively encourage people with disabilities and health conditions to apply for your roles.

Your business partners

Make sure your partners and suppliers know about Disability Confident and your commitment to inclusion. Why not suggest that they join too?

Your customers

Being an inclusive business can enhance your reputation, helping you to attract new customers and retain the loyalty of your current customers.

Disabled customers and their families are estimated to have a collective spending power of £249 billion. So inclusion makes good commercial sense.

Progressing through the Disability Confident scheme

Disability Confident is a journey.

The Disability Confident scheme has 3 levels:

  • level 1: Disability Confident Committed
  • level 2: Disability Confident Employer
  • level 3: Disability Confident Leader

By joining, you and your business have taken a first step on that journey. The support and guidance available can help you develop the knowledge, skills and confidence you need to be an inclusive employer.

Even if you have only recently joined Disability Confident, there is nothing to stop you progressing rapidly through the scheme, building your knowledge, your skills and your reputation, and realising more of the benefits of employing disabled people.

To become a Disability Confident Level 2 Employer, you’ll need to carry out a self-assessment of your business to ensure it meets a range of criteria under 2 themes – ‘Getting the right people for your business’ and ‘Keeping and developing your people’. We provide a tool to help you with this.

Once you achieve Level 2 Employer status, your organisation will:

  • have learnt from the self-assessment tools on our website
  • have developed greater disability confidence and awareness and improved employment practices
  • receive a certificate of recognition, a badge for your website and branding materials to use for 3 years
  • receive tailored newsletters specifically for Level 2 Disability Confident Employers, covering issues relevant to you

The self-assessment tool

A tool is available to help you complete your self-assessment. It provides a framework for moving to the next level, outlining the issues you need to consider and the evidence you need to collect. It helps you to identify any practices that may inadvertently discourage people with a disability. It will also help you to identify the areas in which you’re doing well, and those where there are gaps.

In fact, by signing-up to the scheme and committing to take action, you have already started to assess how your business is performing. Completing the self-assessment is the natural next step.

You can start your self-assessment as soon as you’re ready. Read guidance on moving to level 2. There is also a self-assessment template where you can record your evidence on key questions.

Sources of support and guidance

Access to Work

Access to Work is a specialist disability service delivered by Jobcentre Plus that gives practical advice and support to disabled people and those with a health condition, whether they’re looking for employment, working for an employer or self-employed.

It provides funding for employees towards necessary assessments and workplace adjustments, including items such as:

  • assessments of the person’s needs and how these can be met
  • special equipment or support to help at the interview
  • adaptations to the equipment used by the employee
  • special equipment or software
  • British Sign Language interpreters and video relay service support, lip speakers or note takers
  • adaptations to a vehicle to enable travel to work
  • taxi fares to work or a support worker for those who can’t use public transport
  • a support worker or job coach to help people in your workplace
  • a support service for those with a mental health condition
  • disability awareness training for colleagues
  • the cost of moving equipment if there is a change of location or job

Applications must be made by the employee (although managers should ensure that an application has been made if funding is needed).

Individuals will not get an Access to Work grant to pay for:

  • changes that an employer has to make by law (reasonable adjustments)
  • items that would normally be needed to do the job whether a person is disabled or not
  • support that an employer used to provide but has stopped providing

Advisory organisations

There are a range of other organisations who can provide specialist advice and support on disability employment. Here are some examples of national organisations, but there may be other local organisations in your area who can help.

British Association for Supported Employment (BASE)

BASE is the national trade association involved in securing employment for disabled people. Their website offers guidance for employers on disability and work. BASE members work closely with disabled jobseekers and employers to help find sustainable work for the disabled person.

Business Disability Forum (BDF)

BDF is a not-for-profit member organisation that offers information, support and advice to help businesses across all sectors to recruit and retain disabled people and to serve disabled customers. It can help employers to make sure that their recruitment tools and processes are fully accessible for disabled people.

Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion (enei)

enei is an employer network promoting workplace equality and inclusion of employers. It can provide training, consultancy and information for members.


Microlink are leaders in the field of workplace adjustments for people with a disability or health condition in the workplace. Microlink are the main providers of Assistive Technology and ergonomic equipment to the largest employers in the UK.


Purple seeks to bring disabled people and businesses together and provides a range of support services.


PurpleSpace is a professional development hub for disability network/resource group leaders. They’re disability confident employees, networks, allies and champions driving business change on disability from the inside out.

The Recruitment Industry Disability Initiative (RIDI)

RIDI’s purpose is to break down the barriers faced by disabled people who are entering or progressing through the job market. They help recruiters and employers to become disability confident and offer more job opportunities to people with disabilities. 

Disability organisations

There are a wide range of organisations – both national and local – who represent the views of disabled people. These have specialist knowledge about particular disabilities or health conditions and can offer advice and guidance for employers, as well as support for disabled people.

A number of these organisations are listed below. These are mainly national-level, although some may have a local presence around the country.

AADD-UK – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Action on Hearing Loss
Arthritis Research UK
Autism Alliance UK
Autism Plus
British Deaf Association
British Dyslexia Association
British Heart Foundation
British Institute of Learning Disabilities
The British Stammering Association
Diabetes UK
Disability Rights UK
Dyslexia Action
Dyspraxia Foundation
Epilepsy Action
Leonard Cheshire Disability
Multiple Sclerosis Society
Muscular Dystrophy UK
The National Autistic Society
Rethink Mental Illness
Spinal Injuries Association
Stroke Association
Time to Change
UK Council on Deafness