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Business Disability Forum

Business Disability Forum is a not-for-profit membership organisation that supports businesses to recruit, retain and develop disabled employees and serve disabled customers. Our 400 members employ around 20% of the UK workforce and an estimated 8 million people worldwide.

Business Disability Forum

“At Business Disability Forum we are excited to be Includability’s official disability partner. As part of that we are very pleased to be accredited as an Includability Committed Partner via its thorough 5 Star Verification process, in the areas of accessibility, diversity and inclusion, mental health, sustainability, and wellbeing. This helps us to evaluate what we are doing well and where we can grow. We look forward to continue working with Includability and to spreading the word on the importance of reaching the widest possible talent pool.”

Diane Lightfoot CEO of Business Disability Forum

Member Details

Partner Experts are Members & Ambassadors that have proved to supply the highest levels of training and support. They have also shown their commitment to excellence through their support of Includability Members & the community.

Company Summary
Business Disability Forum is a not-for-profit membership organisation that supports businesses to recruit, retain and develop disabled employees and serve disabled customers. Our 400 members employ around 20% of the UK workforce and an estimated 8 million people worldwide.
Sector or Specialism
D&I Consultancy, Membership Body
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Business Disability Forum

Business Disability Forum is a not-for-profit membership organisation that supports businesses to recruit, retain and develop disabled employees and serve disabled customers. Our 400 members employ around 20% of the UK workforce and an estimated 8 million people worldwide.

Ultimately, we exist to transform the life chances of disabled people, working through and with business to create a disability-smart world. We do this by bringing business leaders, disabled people, and Government together to understand what needs to change to improve the life opportunities and experiences of disabled people in employment, economic growth, and society more widely.

Our Members and Partners represent a huge cross sector of UK and global business, ranging from FTSE 500 companies to central government departments, construction companies, retailers, NHS trusts, emergency services and more. Whichever sector they come from, we provide them with a wealth of practical advice and support, thought leadership and networking opportunities to share what works – and what doesn’t! – in a safe space with peers.

In turn, we share this feedback and experience with government and policy makers to help shape disability policy that works.

We think. We advise. We share.

Our community of businesses, thought leaders, and disabled people develop research which influences Government and business policy development.

Our leading business inclusion Advice Service provide a responsive and confidential space for any professional working on any aspect of disability inclusion to talk through ideas, trouble shoot, and get expert case management support on the disability related challenges in their business.

Our events, sector networks, and subject task groups bring together professionals with shared interests to learn from one another, share insight on what works, and collaborate on projects.

We provide practical, evidence-based, strategic solutions for businesses to recruit, retain, and provide inclusive products and services to disabled people via our Disability Business Partners and Senior Disability Business Partners. Our policy, research, and advice related functions are channels by which Business Disability Forum has access to the latest business insight on challenges, changing business structures and landscapes, and the types of practices that employers and service providers are currently developing and are most effective for removing barriers for people with disabilities and long-term conditions.

To find out more about membership, please visit our Membership page or contact our Director – Membership, David Goodchild via email or call 020-7089-2411

What Makes Us Different

We are the only organisation that exists to equip and work with every area and level of a business. The depth of relationships we have enables us to us to harness the combined experience of business and disabled people to improve business practices and influence disability related Government policy development.

We speak across the whole business. We have tools and resources for leaders, recruitment, learning and development, talent and inclusion, human resources, employee relations and engagement, organisational development, health and safety, estates and facilities, communications and marketing, technology, and procurement.

We speak at every level. C-suite, board, senior management, policy and legal, ‘mid’ management, line managers, employee networks. Whether you are communicating your businesses’ vision, driving strategy, writing policies, implementing procedures, designing processes, or managing people, we can work with you and share the approaches other businesses in your sector and beyond take.

We are experienced specialists. Our experts have worked in a range of sectors in many professions: diversity management, recruitment, human resources management, employment law, education, disabled people’s care and support services, people and business management, social research.

We are disability inclusion. 65 percent of our own staff and 60 percent of our leadership team have a disability or long-term condition. Many of our staff are involved in disabled people’s organisations that represent our own conditions or interests. We speak as qualified business professionals as well as from the experience of our own stories as people with disabilities and long-term conditions.

Mission & Values

We are Business Disability Forum. We believe the 26 million people in the UK and over 1 billion people worldwide with disabilities and long-term conditions enhance the social and economic health of our societies. We exist to remove barriers in business structures and Government that prevent disabled people from thriving and contributing in this way.

Ultimately, our mission is to transform the life chances of disabled people as employees and consumers.

We live and work by our values which are:

  • Purposeful: We are focused
  • Respectful: We respect our colleagues and customers
  • Pragmatic: We find solutions and deliver outcomes
  • Empowered: We are empowered and take ownership
  • Evolving: We constantly learn and evolve

Our Services

We provide a wide range of practical support to our Members and Partners to support them in their Disability Smart journey.

At the heart of our support is our confidential Advice Service, a team of expert advisers with a wealth of experience in disability, HR, legal and wider employment and consumer issues. Our Members and Partners get in touch often because we are pragmatic problem-solvers. We give advice that will help you practically ‘now’, and we will also advise on the wider strategic or policy implications and improvements to help you avoid future challenges.

People get in touch with the Advice Service for a number of reasons, such as:

  • Something has gone wrong, and they want to know the best way to fix it.
  • To get advice on a specific situation.
  • To check something they have been told by someone else or read in guidance.
  • To run an idea by us or to get a ‘second opinion’ on a situation.
  • To seek advice or build an evidence base for a consultation, equality analysis, or other evidence gathering exercise.
  • To request a connection to another Member to share ideas and challenges on a shared interest or practice.

Some of our most frequently asked queries include:

  • Case management support – for example, when carrying out absences, performance, or dismissal procedures
  • Reviewing language and accuracy of forms, documents, organisational communications, announcement, surveys, and consultations.
  • Advice on customer complaints and disputes.
  • Advice on how to understand when adjustments may and may not be ‘reasonable’.
  • Managing employees and customers with a disability or long-term condition.

Many of our Members and Partners contact us even when they don’t have specific questions – for example, to let us know what they are currently working on, to run ideas by us, or to get our view on a situation even if they know the answer.

Other services we provide include:

  • Learning & development – bespoke and standard packages on everything from barrier recruitment to neurodiversity in the workplace
  • Consultancy – to give you in-depth support on a range of issues from reviewing your recruitment processes to ensure they are accessible to putting a workplace adjustments process in place
  • Resources – a wide range of online publications and toolkits with bite-sized resources to support busy people managers, HR professionals and senior leaders including our brand new “Getting Started” toolkit to help you take the first steps towards disability inclusion.
  • Networks and Task Forces on a range of topics and sectors to provide a safe and confidential space to share best practice – as well as issues and challenges! – with your peers.

Our Community

Our membership includes many of the UK’s largest businesses and global brands as well as public sector employers and SMEs. Join our friendly community and learn from organisations who are at different stages of their Disability-Smart journey as well as accessing a wide range of advice and support.

As a Business Disability Forum Member, you will receive:

Access to personalised Services

  • Access to our Advice Service, for people who are working on behalf of our Member and Partner organisations such as HR professionals, D&I professionals and people managers, via email and telephone.
  • An assigned Business Partner (relationship manager) to help you make full use of your Business Disability Forum membership.
  • Department for Work and Pensions ‘Disability Confident’ Level 3 (DCL3) review and validation: validation document plus best practice advice; one-hour consultative phone call; recommendations to help inform and plan.
  • Online access to our Disability Smart self-assessment management tool (with a diagnostic report), designed to help build your strategy around getting it right on disability as it affects your organisation.
  • Access to the Global Business Disability Framework, a global tool to enable disability inclusion around the world.
  • Policy review service, focusing on disability smart best practice – up to five policies reviewed annually.
  • Advice on your annual workforce surveys, including question and language review.
  • Wide-ranging programme of training and events – some free as part of membership, including networking events, the Disability-Smart Awards ceremony, and Technology Task Force events; and others discounted, including professional development courses and seminars (all currently online).
  • Signposting to other specialist services, including site audits, web development, consumer research and mystery shopping.

Access to insightful resources and publications

  • Introductory pack of our customer communication guides and briefings (circa 35 publications), plus discounted licensing for use of all our content resources on your intranet.
  • Access to our Toolkits – a continuously developing multiple resource (comprising Mental Health, Welcoming Disabled Customers, Neurodiversity, Inclusive Communications, Redeployment and Redundancy, Getting Started and COVID-19) to assist, inform and guide you in creating workplace policies and consider the wellbeing of your staff. As an additional paid-for resource we also offer a ‘People Manager Toolkit’ containing advice on the barriers disabled employees might face, and how to support them to thrive and work to the best of their ability.
  • Access to the Knowledge Hub offering resources that include information sheets, toolkits, and case studies
  • Communications such as our newsletter, legal update, and Technology Task Force newsletter.

Access to unique Networking opportunities:

  • Task Forces and Networks on a range of topics plus other networking and 121 connections
  • The Forum – bringing together business, disabled people and policy makers for discussion and debate

Please find out more about Member and Partner benefits:

View Business Disability Forum’s brochure (PDF Document)

or alternatively

Download Business-Disability-Forum’s-brochure (Word Document)

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