Unlocking Opportunities, new resource for teachers with disabled students

Unlocking Opportunities is a practical online training course to help schools to meet their Equality Act duties and remove barriers to education for disabled learners. It is for everyone who works in schools and will help staff to understand what equality law says and what it means in practice for teaching and learning. Schools can register for FREE and start using the online resource to train staff in the subject of reasonable adjustments.  Watch Chris introduce the resource in a youtube clip or head straight to the website.

Chris to chair YODA (Channel 4s Year of Disability Adviser Group)

Channel 4 has announced 2016 as the network’s Year of Disability. Exactly a year ago Channel 4 launched their 360 Degrees Diversity Charter which laid out a number of diversity targets. This year, the Year of Disability, Channel 4 has introduced new targets specifically on disability and Chris is delighted to chair the group of experts who will be known collectively as YODA (Year of Disability Advisers).  Other initiatives are to double the number of disabled people in C4’s most popular shows, invest £300,000 behind the scenes, assist the career progress of 20 disabled people among its suppliers and commit half of its apprenticeships and 30% of work experience placements to disabled youngsters.

There are more than 12 million disabled people living in Britain today, yet just 2.5% of people on screen are disabled. Only half of disabled people in Britain are in work compared to four fifths of non-disabled people. There are significant barriers to opportunity and Channel 4’s moves to increase participation by disabled people both on screen and behind the cameras is to be welcomed.

 Chris said:

“Three years ago, London 2012 was seen as a turning point for the visibility and inclusion of disabled people in our society, driving a clear social, economic, physical and cultural legacy for disabled people. Since then, Britain has made progress on many fronts but there is increasing evidence that disabled people are being locked out or left behind.

“Far from enjoying increased visibility and being able to participate more fully in every aspect of life there is a risk that disabled people will become more invisible as both consumers and participants, with organisations losing out on their valuable experiences and custom.”

“I welcome the moves by Channel 4 to make real progress on this issue and urge other businesses and service providers to look again and what they are doing and what they are able to do to increase representation and participation by disabled people in order to unlock the talent that is out there and to avoid Britain becoming a more segregated society.”

“This isn’t about political correctness, or being “nice”, it’s about this, creative, competitive edge.”

Channel 4 enlists YODA for its Year of Disability, Disability News Service

 

Celebrating 20 years of the Disability Discrimination Act

Chris on BBC News channel to discuss Disability Discrimintaion Act 20th anniversary

The Disability Discrimination Act was a significant achievement in advancing the rights of disabled people. It focused on driving social change towards the full inclusion of disabled people at every level of society. However, twenty years on, there are still issues impacting on the enforcement of disability equality rights. Chris chairs the Disability Committee at the Equality and Human Rights Commission and their recent report “Is Britain Fairer?” clearly shows that disabled people in Britain still face daily challenges. Many are still ‘locked out’ of full participation in society due to barriers remaining in the provision of housing, transport, leisure facilities, education and workplaces. Chris wants to use this anniversary as an opportunity to highlight that using the Equality Act, we must all work together to continue to highlight, address and remove those remaining barriers disabled people face to full and fair inclusion.

20 years on from the Disability Discrimination Act disabled people’s rights are still not yet fully realised EHRC

Is Britain Fairer? EHRC

Hague’s great achievement, Conservative Home

Justin Tomlinson MP: The Disability Discrimination Act laid the foundations for equality – now we must finish the job, Conservative Home

 

Chris announced as Diversity and Inclusion Adviser for the Civil Service

Chris at podium at Civil Service leadership event

Chris is delighted to be one of the four new expert advisers appointed by the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood, to help the Civil Service become more representative of modern Britain.

The advisers will work to challenge policies and provide advice to Ministers and the leadership of the Civil Service as they continue to improve the numbers of people in the workforce from under-represented groups. They are respected leaders and campaigners from the worlds of business and sport, each with a long and unique track record in creating fairer, more representative workplaces.

Chris feels strongly that the civil service has a tremendous opportunity to lead in this area and act as a beacon to others.  Improving opportunities and career pathways for everyone will not only transform the civil service it will have a profound impact throughout the UK.

Chris has written a blog on this idea that a truly inclusive Civil Service, because of the range and nature of the service, would have a profound impact on this country.

As well as this new adviser role Chris is also one of the judges at this years Civil Service Diversity and Inclusion Awards due to be announced at a ceremony on 13th October.

Civil Service World, Civil service diversity: business and sport chiefs brought in to keep an eye on progress.

Public Sector Executive, New diversity advisers to help Civil Service be a ‘socially inclusive employer’.

The Times, Paralympic hero is hired to challenge civil service bullies

 

Thinking outside the box

Last Tuesday I took part in the debate considering the report of the Lords Communications Committee on Women in News and Current Affairs Broadcasting. The report was excellent, not least as a result of the superb stewardship of the Committee Chair, Lord Best. The picture painted by the report was not bright, a world far more reminiscent of Ron Burgundy than 21st Century Britain.  A world in which older women in particular find themselves at a severe disadvantage both on and off screen. It seems to me a scandal that so many older women in TV still feel that work dries up when they get to a certain age or when they have children; there are some women who have said they have had to get a facelift to maintain their TV career beyond fifty. Recently Anne Robinson asked what chance a female version of Evan Davis would have of securing that prestigious role? Where are the female Dimblebys, John Simpsons, Alastair Stewarts or Adam Boultons? What sort of message does the lack of their female counterparts send out to young women contemplating a career in television journalism? If young women don’t think they can have a fulfilling career in television that talent will go elsewhere. It’s a scandal that goes all the way to the top. Women, who make up half the viewers of television aren’t represented at board level at our major broadcasters in anything like the numbers they should be; the BBC executive board has two female executive directors, Channel 4 has one and that is it. The lack of diversity is not just a question of gender, last year, out of the 62 directors at the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Ofcom, only one was non-white and none were disabled. I welcome the fact that the industry itself has recognised that it has a problem and has committed to doing something about it; we have seen some ambitious plans published by BBC, Sky and C4. With Lord Hall at the helm of the BBC and David Abrahams at Channel 4, we have reasons to be positive going forward. However, this is not a new issue. Groups like Women in Film and Television, PACT, trade unions and Directors UK have been talking about this for decades and there has been very little movement.   That is why, in the debate, I called for two things: Firstly, all the main broadcasters must end the practice of unpaid internships. This patronage is both rife and rigging the system in favour of those who are wealthy and connected rather than those who are talented. This is not limited to the broadcast industry but the broadcast industry, if they addressed this could be a beacon of good practice and lead the way for the rest of our economy Secondly, I asked broadcasters and producers to follow new guidance just produced by the Equality and Human Rights Commission which I launched at the Edinburgh television festival two weeks ago It is worth paying tribute to my Rt Hon friend Ed Vaizey who enabled this project to get underway, he has demonstrated sustained commitment to driving the diversity agenda since arriving at DCMS. Entitled “Thinking outside the box”, the guidance was drawn up following extensive consultation with the industry, and provides clarity about the initiatives and practices that are permissible in law.  It busts common myths about barriers that exist and provides a series of case studies from the sector to encourage broadcasters, independent production companies and industry bodies to make it easier to boost diversity. Now we’ve produced this guidance, I believe there can be no more excuses for not taking meaningful action to improve the situation.  It is not just about doing the right thing, it is about getting the best creative and competitive edge.    

Campaign to increase diversity in broadcasting launched at Edinburgh International Television Festival

Chris was delighted to launch a new government-backed project aimed at unlocking economic and creative potential by increasing the diversity of people working in Britain’s television sector at the Edinburgh International Television Festival on Friday 28th August.

The event was chaired by Trevor Phillips and Ed Vaizey, Culture minister, conceded that there was still “much, much more” to do on improving diversity in broadcasting.

The guide will provide expert legal guidance on what is permitted under the law for employers, commissioners and others working within the sector. The guidance will also  help broadcasters expand the talent pool from which they find the best candidates and will cover areas including employment, commissioning, broadcasting, programme making and procurement practices.

Thinking outside the box, EHRC diversity in broadcasting guidance.

House of Lords Debate

Diversity guidance to launch at festival

Guardian, UK TV risks being ‘knocked off its perch’ unless it improves diversity, say peer

Guardian, Ed Vaizey: Diversity in TV

Broadcast, Diversity; No More Excuses

EHRC Blog, Thinking Outside the Box

Broadcast, TV urged to scrap unpaid interns

Background on campaign

 

 

 

Update on campaign to get more women and ethnic minorities to play rugby (and cricket and football…..)

Chris knows, from his own personal experience, all about the opportunity that sport can provide for people and its unique power to transform lives and inspire others. The fact is that some groups, particularly women and girls, Asians, Muslims and disabled people, have disproportionately low rates of participation in sport – as players, spectators, volunteers, officials and employees. The Equality and Human Rights Commission receives money from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport to promote inclusion in sport. This funding is allocated to grassroots initiatives administered through organisations like Premiership Rugby .  Another partnership with the England & Wales Cricket Board is expected to be announced soon. The funds are also being used to improve access to stadia for disabled people. Discussions have been held with the Premier League and given the windfall the Premier League has just enjoyed, Chris believes “it would be scandalous if clubs don’t do more to improve access for disabled fans.”

Click here for Chris’s blog in full

Listen here to Chris discussing disabled access to football grounds on Radio 5 live

Click here to read a special report on disabled access to Premier League clubs in the Guardian

 

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