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Want to stay on the right side of the law? We support businesses and public authorities and help them to promote good practice.
 
 

Good practice

Recruiting people with disabilities

What you need to know

Publications

Useful contacts

 

Good Practice - Recruiting people with disabilities


Adopting fair recruitment and selection measures are likely to benefit all job seekers and will often remove barriers that prevent people with disabilities from enjoying equality of opportunity.

Adopt good employment practices generally

As an employer, you should:
 
  • adopt policies to promote equal opportunities and a good and harmonious working environment
  • carry-out a disability access audit of your premises
  • promote flexible working
  • operate fair procedures relating to:
- recruitment and selection
- absence management
- performance management
- discipline
- redundancy

 
Make staff aware through training or otherwise that you wish them to conform to the standards of behaviour outlined in your policies and procedures.
 

Conduct equal opportunities monitoring

As an employer, you should monitor the composition of job applicants in terms of disability.

This should be done by asking applicants to submit a separate monitoring questionnaire with their job application form. Our suggested question for this purpose is below or download our disability monitoring question as a Word Document.


 
Under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 a person is deemed to be a disabled person if they have, or had, any of the following:

•    cancer
•    multiple sclerosis
•    HIV infection
•    a severe disfigurement, or
•    a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

Do you consider that you are a disabled person?

If Yes, do you require a reasonable adjustment in respect of the interview process? 

Please provide information on the reasonable adjustment you require?

If you wish to speak to use about a reasonable adjustment please contact: .………………………..


The data you collect should be used, on completion of a recruitment exercise, to monitor the progress of disabled job applicants through each stage of the process. This will enable you to assess whether any particular parts of the process (e.g. shortlisting, interviewing, aptitude testing, medical assessments) present particular barriers for people with disabilities generally, or for people with particular impairments e.g. applicants with learning disabilities.
 

Develop partnerships with disability organisations

As an employer, you should:

Liaise or develop partnerships with local disability organisations [see Useful Contacts above].

These organisations may provide information, advice and expertise on recruiting and employing people with disabilities. They may also provide direct support to employers and disabled job seekers and employees, such as:

 

 

Review your job descriptions and personnel specifications

As an employer, you should anticipate the needs that job applicants, including those who have disabilities, may have when working for you and modify your job descriptions and personnel specifications accordingly.

Remove or modify duties, conditions or criteria which may present barriers to the recruitment or employment of people with disabilities and which cannot be justified by your business needs.

There may be some changes that you can readily anticipate and reasonably make. Examples may include:

 
  • introducing flexible working arrangements: e.g. permitting a job to be done on a part-time basis where previously it was done on a full-time basis
  • abandoning or modifying job selection criteria that are not an accurate test of the skills needed to do the job

For example:
  • do not ask for a qualification in mathematics if numeracy skills are not required for the job
  • do not ask for a qualification in English if literacy skills are not required for the job
  • do not ask for a driving licence if it is not required by the job or if any essential travelling duties could be done using public transport
  • when asking about work experience, do not limit the criterion to paid work experience but be prepared to accept unpaid or voluntary work experience or time spent in vocational training.
 

Application process: asking about disability - reasonable adjustments

As an employer, you should:
 
  • include a question on your standard application form or monitoring questionnaire that invites applicants to tell you about any specific requirements they may have. For example:
 
Specific requirements
Please inform us about any arrangements or adjustments that you may need us to put in place for you in the selection process, such as for an interview or test. This will help us to help you.

If, instead, you would prefer to discuss this with us, please telephone [insert name of relevant person and contact number] as soon as possible.
 
  • on receiving a positive answer to this question, it may be appropriate to contact the applicant well in advance of the job interview or selection test to ensure that you understand what their needs may be and to give yourself sufficient time to address them
  • ensure that the relevant information is provided to the selector or selectors who may need to know it in order to implement the reasonable adjustments
 

Application process: asking about disability - positive action

When taking certain positive action measures for people who are disabled, such as guaranteed interviews or when ring-fencing jobs, you should:
 
  • include a question on your monitoring questionnaire form that invites applicants to disclose if they have a disability. For example:
 
Guaranteed interviews
We guarantee an interview to all disabled applicants who meet the essential selection criteria for this post. If you wish to benefit from this, please answer the following question:

Are you a disabled person?        Yes               No   


Ring-fenced jobs for people who are disabled
This post is [or, a number of the available posts are] ring-fenced for people who are disabled:

Are you a disabled person?        Yes              No
  

  • ensure that the relevant information is provided to the selector or selectors who need to know it in order to implement the positive action measure
 

Application process – asking about health

As an employer, if you wish to ask applicants about their current health or health history, you should:
 
  • delay asking those questions until the end of the normal selection process when you are prepared to make a conditional offer of employment to an applicant
  • not revoke a conditional job offer on the basis of such information alone. You should always make further enquiries about the applicant’s ability to do the job in question, with or without reasonable adjustments, and comply with that duty.
 

Make advertising count

As an employer, you should reach out to and encourage all eligible persons to apply for the jobs you are seeking to fill or the training opportunities you are offering. This may be done by:
 
  • advertising widely and in a variety of media; such as in Jobs and Benefits offices, in newspapers, on job websites and social media and/or through disability organisations and the online or print media that they produce
  • include an equal opportunities welcoming statement in your advertisements such as: “As an equal opportunities employer we specifically welcome applications from people who have disabilities.”
  • include a statement such as: “We will make reasonable adjustments for applicants who have disabilities.”
  • include a commitment to considering flexible working arrangements, where possible
  • if you are offering a guaranteed interview, or are ring-fencing a number of posts, for disabled people, then note this in the advertisement.
 
 
 
This is not an exhaustive list of local disability organisations that employers might develop partnerships with, but they are ones that provide pathways to supported employment programmes funded by the Department of Communities, such as Workable NI.


Northern Ireland Union of Supported Employment
Gortfoyle House
104 Spencer Road
Londonderry
BT47 6AG
Tel: 028 7137 7709


Disability Action
Head Office
Portside Business Park
189 Airport Road West
Belfast  BT3 9ED 
Tel: 028 9029 7880
Email: hq@disabilityaction.org
Website: www.disabilityaction.org


Ulster Supported Employment Ltd
Head Office
182-188 Cambrai Street
Belfast  BT13 3JH
Tel: 028 9035 6600
Email: info@usel.co.uk
Website: www.usel.co.uk


Supported Employment Solutions
1 Ravenhill Reach Close
Belfast  BT6 8RB
Tel: 028 9046 1834
Email: workable@sesni.org.uk
Website: www.sesni.org.uk


Department for Communities
The Department offers employers a dedicated account manager to support their recruitment needs and to broker access to the wider public sector’s employability and skills provision.

For further information contact:

Disability Programmes Team: health&worksupportcoordination@communities-ni.gov.uk

Recruitment Support Team: employerengagementteam@communities-ni.gov.uk


 
 

 
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