Norfolk County Council has been judged the best local authority in the country for being an exemplar employer of disabled people.
The council won the first ever Disability Confident award, sponsored by disability employment specialists Remploy, on Thursday 16 June at the annual Municipal Journal Achievement Awards, which recognise the best in local government services and personnel..
The judges said that the council had demonstrated “a clear and comprehensive strategy with innovations which have never been attempted before. Norfolk County Council worked through an ambitious project during austerity to the finest detail to have a significant impact on a number of people, to change the culture of attitude towards disability in local authority. Organisations should be encouraged to go and see the results to duplicate in other areas.”
Gareth Parry, Chief Executive of Remploy, said: “We passionately believe that work liberates and empowers disabled people. Our core mission for over 70 years has been to support disabled people to find work and become financially independent. Local authorities are among the biggest employers in the UK and have a major role to play in promoting disability confidence. Norfolk County Council is a brilliant example of this.”
Justin Tomlinson, the Minister for Disabled People, said: “Getting disabled people into work is a top priority so it’s fantastic to see local authorities like Norfolk supporting disabled people through programmes like Access to Work. I hope other councils will be inspired to follow their lead.”
The judges were impressed by the council’s work to improve the accessibility of their head office and IT system, their collaborative working with disabled employees, and their utilisation of programmes such as Access to Work.
The award was endorsed by the Government’s Disability Confident campaign, which encourages employers to remove barriers for disabled people, increase understanding and ensure that disabled people have the opportunities to fulfil their potential and realise their aspirations.
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Photo caption from left to right: Dara O'Briain - Host, Kurt Frary - IT Manager - Norfolk County Council, Andy Rayfield - Norfolk Partnership Federation, Neil Howard - Norfolk County Council, Derryth Wright - Resources Review Business Lead - Norfolk County Council, Justin Russell - Director, Employment and Support Allowance and Welfare Reform, DWP
Notes to Editors:
- Remploy was established 70 years ago to provide training and employment after the Second World War for injured and disabled ex-servicemen and miners.
- Since 2010, Remploy has found more than 100,000 jobs in mainstream employment for people with a range of physical, sensory and learning disabilities, mental health conditions and other disadvantages.
- Remploy works with more than 2,500 employer partners including Marks & Spencer, TC Facilities Management, BT, Mitie, ASDA, Royal Mail, Sainsbury’s and the NHS
- Remploy operates a free Workplace Mental Health Support Service to help maintain in employment people with stress, depression, anxiety or other mental health issues
- It invests in developing innovative services for employers which are cost effective and business efficient including consultancy and a vocational rehabilitation service
- On 7 April 2015 Remploy left government ownership in a joint venture with MAXIMUS, a leading operator of government health and human services programmes in the United States, UK, Canada, Australia and Saudi Arabia, in which Remploy employees have a 30% stake.