The Equality and Human Rights Commission (the Commission) recognises that many disabled people experience barriers in entering and succeeding
in employment, and wishes to take a strategic and evidence-based approach to influencing policy and practice. The Centre for Research in Education, Inclusion and Diversity (CREID) at the University of Edinburgh was commissioned to review the current literature, statistics and debates in order to inform the Commission’s work aimed at narrowing the employment and skills gap between disabled and non-disabled people.
Recent years have brought some encouraging legislation for disabled people: the Disability Discrimination Acts (1995 and 2005), the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2009) and the establishment of the Office for Disability Issues (ODI). Nevertheless the National Equality Panel (NEP, 2010) found that employment rates for disabled people were still less than half those of non-disabled people. Change has also characterised employment policy for disabled people, both in terms of benefits for those who cannot work and support for those who wish to work. Important features include the New Deal for Disabled People (NDDP), the introduction of the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) with the requirement of a Work Capability Assessment (WCA) and sanctions for those who do not attend WCA and other interviews; increased personal help through Pathways to Work and a range of specialist support and programmes.
The report has two main strands: statistics and literature review. Chapter 2 provides statistical information, Chapters 3-5 give a review of recent policy and practice and related literature, and Chapter 6 presents conclusions. The report is based primarily on desk research, but has been enriched by a series of interviews with 10 key informants who work closely with disabled people, whose insights have influenced our approach to the...