Disability Confident

We are extremely proud to announce that SWASFT has been awarded Disability Confident Leaders status from the Department of Work and Pensions.

In 2013 the Two Ticks system was reformed, and replaced with the Disability Confident scheme, made up of three levels; Level 1 – Disability Confident Committed Employer, Level 2 – Disability Confident Employer, and Level 3 – Disability Confident Leader. Each level requires commitment to actions that will make a difference to disabled people in recruitment and employment.

The Trust submitted a self-assessment of evidence of our actions and commitment to working in partnership with PLUSS, a South West social enterprise that supports people with disabilities into employment.  We supplied evidence on actions such as:

  • Actively looking to attract and recruit disabled people
  • Proactively offering and making reasonable adjustments as required
  • Ensuring managers are aware of how they can support staff who are sick or absent from work.

Much of our evidence came from already established well-embedded recruitment and HR practices and processes, but was significantly supported by the work of the Staying Well Service.

SWASFT is the first ambulance service in the country to achieve this status, and one of only 10 healthcare providers across the country to have achieved Leader status.

We have some fantastic news about our Disability Confident Leader status and wanted to give a bit of a background about it all before we share this with you.

Being Disability Confident is an opportunity for employers to lead the way in their community and discover skills and talents they can’t do without. As I’m sure you are all aware the scheme has three levels:

L1: Disability Confident Committed – employers can sign up and identify at least one thing they will do to make a difference for disabled people.

L2: Disability Confident Employer – employers can self-assess themselves against the themes of getting it right for their people.

And L3: Disability Confident Leader – seen as a champion in the local business community and can help other business to achieve this status.

PLUSS sponsored our promotion from Disability Confident Employer to Leader in 2019 and SWASFT was the first Ambulance Trust to achieve this. We now champion our status and encourage other organisations to follow.

We have been delighted to work in collaboration with Devon County Council and the wonderful No Limits Café in Newton Abbot who wanted to achieve their Leader Status. In order to do this, the café have had to provide evidence against specific criteria – and what a breath of fresh air it has been learning about this amazing business!

No Limits cafe

No Limits Café is run by two delightful women called Sarah Thorp and Amanda Pugh, both who have children with additional needs and aim to help young people with additional needs learn new skills, gain work experience and support their transition into work and a more independent adult life. Sarah has a background in Psychology and Crime Analysis and more recently working in primary schools as a specialist teacher. Amanda’s background is supporting music therapy and a volunteer at the “Step by Step” playgroup for children with additional needs. They both also use sign language.

Between them, their mission was to set up a café and hub whereby they can actively recruit disabled people and proactively make reasonable adjustments for staff to feel supported at work. You can find out more about their story here.

No Limits Café:

  • Uses alternative types of interview process, such as video or sign.
  • Accepts different types of CVs.
  • Has no specific sick policy, treating everyone as an individual with sickness taken on a case-by-case basis.
  • Uses symbol and written signage, has wheelchair accessible servery and a kitchen with an adjustable work surface.
  • Is Autism friendly.
  • Works with Bales Buddies Therapy dogs for staff.

This is a fully accessible customer workspace – all menus are written in symbol and braille, have a hearing loop as well as a portable hearing loop for those that need it. They have two members of staff (one on supported employment and one on a supported internship); four on work experience and are looking at supporting apprenticeships in the near future.

We are pleased to announce that No Limits Café is now the 5th Disability Confident Leader supported by SWASFT.

Chief Executive’s Bulletin – (swast.nhs.uk)