Publication - Consultation paper

Increasing public sector employment of disabled people: consultation

Published: 30 Apr 2018

This consultation sets out data collections and potential options for targets for the employment of disabled people in the public sector in Scotland.

Increasing public sector employment of disabled people: consultation
Ministerial Foreword

Ministerial Foreword

Jamie Hepburn, MSP, Minister for Employability and Training

A Fairer Scotland for Disabled People [1] , published by the Scottish Government in December 2016 seeks to drive transformational change to improve the lives of disabled people in Scotland. It recognises the challenges and barriers disabled people face in the labour market and sets out a range of commitments to support our ambition to reduce by at least half the disability employment gap. [2]

In recent months, the Scottish Government has engaged with disabled people, their representative bodies and other stakeholders both inside and outwith government to consider how this very ambitious target can be achieved.

I have joined a number of events and while there is some good work happening, the clear conclusion I have reached is that an all Scotland approach will be required to see the much needed change in culture, systems and practice to support many thousands more disabled people into work each year, and to help them stay and progress in work.

This is a significant challenge. It lies at the heart of our inclusive growth ambitions. It requires a change of culture and practice across every sector of the economy. The status quo – where so many disabled people in Scotland do not have the opportunity to work and fulfil their potential – simply cannot continue.

The public sector clearly has a key role to play in achieving our ambition and its institutions should set the standard for Scotland. Scotland's public sector employs around a fifth [3] of the total workforce in Scotland. According to survey data [4] , only around one in nine public sector employees are disabled, despite disabled people making up almost one fifth of the working age population in Scotland. It's clear we need to take action to help more disabled people into work in the public sector and crucially, to help them sustain their employment, including if they become disabled, or a pre-existing condition worsens whilst in work.

Setting targets for public bodies is one option we are considering to help achieve this goal. In A Fairer Scotland for Disabled People, we committed to undertake a consultation with public bodies and disabled people's organisations on this matter. This consultation fulfils this commitment but also supports our key aim of further understanding the views of a wide range of disabled people.

I am clear that whether or not targets are set, much more needs to be done now. In the coming months, we will work with all of Scotland's public bodies to consider what more we can all do in this respect.

Some examples of emerging good practice in the Scottish Government and NHS Scotland are set out in the document. I know there will be many other examples and we need to build on that to ensure that the public sector workforce better reflects the population it serves. The Scottish Government will develop a recruitment and retention plan to set out its actions. We will also use existing networks to share good practice across the public sector to support more disabled people into sustainable work.

It is our intention to publish a cross-Government Disability Employment Action Plan in the Autumn of this year setting out the actions we will take to help us achieve our long term ambition to reduce the disability employment gap by at least half. The analysis and outcomes from this consultation will feed into that plan.

In undertaking a formal consultation, we want to reach the widest possible audience of interested parties, and I hope all of Scotland's many and varied public bodies will engage. The views of disabled people are very important to us and we will work with disabled people's organisations across Scotland to gather their views.

Tackling inequality and supporting inclusive growth are key priorities in Scotland's Economic Strategy. Unless we take action now to address the inequality disabled people face in the labour market in Scotland today, we cannot meet our ambitions for a Fairer Scotland.

Jamie Hepburn, MSP, Minister for Employability and Training