University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) has been honoured with the title of Disability Confident Leader thanks to many colleagues’ work in relation to inclusion and diversity, and the provision of educational and employment opportunities.
Strengthening the diversity of our workforce is one of the Trust’s key commitments to support the aim of becoming effortlessly inclusive.
The Trust had previously earned the title of Disability Confident Employer due to the hard work of the UHMBT Disability Staff Network (DSN) and the Inclusion Team.
Martin Brooks, Chair of the DSN, said: “This is fantastic news for everyone at the Trust as we have moved up a level from level 2 to level 3 of this Government-led scheme.
“This award recognises the huge value that people with disabilities bring to our Trust. It is reassuring that the Trust is committed to recruiting, training and nurturing skilled, experienced, highly professional and talented people with disabilities. As a network we welcome the award and want to build on this to support as many of our colleagues as possible. In turn, this will benefit the Trust as it will ensure that there is a much wider pool of talent to draw on.”
The DSN is set up so that it has a direct line within the Trust’s governance processes to raise issues up to Board level if required. They advise on a range of disability issues at the Trust and as part of this work they have been working with the Estates and Facilities team to give disability advice on new build and repair works.
The network played an active role in a project to improve support for neurodiversity among colleagues at the Trust, for which we were awarded NHS England Funding to provide coaching support, training, produced a neurodiversity Handbook, and ran training for support services for neurodiverse colleagues across the Trust.
Francesca Higgins, from the Inclusion and Diversity Team, said: “This is the highest level of the Disability Confident scheme and acknowledges that we are leading the way and promoting best practice as employers of disabled people.
“It is a huge feather in our cap as an organisation and comes with a commitment to continue to develop the recruitment, support and development of disabled colleagues. There are currently only around 40 NHS organisations in the whole country listed as having Disability Confident Leader status and less than 500 organisations in total.
“The accreditation looks at a whole range of aspects of recruiting and employing disabled people including our recruitment practice, how we engage with and encourage disabled people to apply for jobs, how we support disabled people through the recruitment process and how we induct them into work and our support within the role including mentoring, coaching and making adequate adjustments to meet individual needs. The award also considers how we develop and support promotion opportunities for disabled colleagues.
“All of these aspects involve colleagues from across the Trust – the Recruitment and Careers teams, People Services, Learning and Organisational Development and Occupational Health, as well as the individual line managers who practice inclusive management. The Inclusion and Engagement Team provides advice and support and gathers the relevant information and statistics to show how we’re doing, and the DSN supports this work from a colleague perspective.
“Achieving and retaining this status has therefore been, and will continue to be, the achievements of a lot of people across the Trust.”
For more information on what we did as a Trust to earn the title of Disability Confident Leader, please click on this link.
The Trust’s application for Disability Confident Leader status was validated by the Possibility People charity, which is a disabled people’s user-led organisation (DPULO) and more information is on this link.