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.
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.
“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.”
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.
Is Britain Fairer? EHRC
Hague’s great achievement, Conservative Home
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.
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.
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