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Disability related barriers in the Civil Service

27 March 2015

Disability Rights UK writes independent report on barriers to career progression for disabled people in the civil service

The Government has published 3 independent reports on barriers to progression in the civil service, experienced by people living with disability or health conditions, people from black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds, and people identifying as LGBT.

In response Government has published a refreshed Talent Action Plan designed to overcome barriers so people from disadvantaged groups can succeed in the civil service.

The DR UK research found both examples of good practice – for instance, a rise in the number of disabled colleagues in the Fast Stream, and senior commitment;  and long-standing barriers to progression.

These included perceived barriers in the performance management system - with disabled colleagues over-represented in the lower box markings; lower levels of trust in fair processes amongst disabled staff than other colleagues; and problems of bullying and harassment.

The research suggested progression was affected both by a ‘benevolence barrier’ (ie some managers assuming more responsibility might be too challenging) and by delays and difficulties in putting workplace adjustments in place, which could make it harder to demonstrate delivery and to move from one team to another for career development.

The Government’s refreshed talent action plan sets out actions to address these challenges, with clear accountabilities.

Liz Sayce, co-author of DR UK’s report and CEO of Disability Rights UK, said: ‘With at least 27,000 civil servants living with personal experience of disability, it is evidently important to create cultures and systems so they can work to their best and fulfil their potential. And with one in five of the wider public being disabled, more leaders in the civil service with lived experience will enhance policy and delivery that is effective for everyone.

We are pleased to see our findings reflected in the Government’s refreshed action plan’.

To read the reports see:   https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-announces-refreshed-talent-action-plan

Tackling health and disability-related barriers to progression within the Civil Service