The awards go to companies that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to employing, working with and doing business with disabled people.
They recognise organisations that exhibit leading practice within the ten criteria of the Disability Standard, with special recognition for disability champions – employees who have taken a leading role in making their organisations disability smart.
The Disability Standard is an online management tool that supports business in their journey to becoming disability-smart and improve performance for disabled customers, employees and stakeholders.
The judging panel for the awards includes leading experts in the area of disability, representatives from BDF’s Member and Partner organisations and disabled opinion leaders.
Geoff Adams-Spink, former BBC disability correspondent, says ‘BDF exists to encourage companies to share best practice in the field of disability equality, whether it is for customers or employees with an impairment or long-term health condition.
‘I believe that the awards encourage and publicise innovation and out-of-the-box thinking among companies and public sector bodies. I have been truly amazed by some of the entries in the past two years and I look forward to this year’s awards being similarly cutting-edge.’
Executive chairman of Enable Me, Chris Jay, runs a charity where every employee has a disability. He believes that the fact that all their staff has a disability is what makes them unique.
Jay says, ‘Our staff are absent from work just as frequently anyone else and the perceived risk is a myth. By making reasonable adjustments, such as flexible hours, home working and measuring work by output rather than time spent in the office, productivity can remain largely unchanged.
‘SMEs which adopt flexible working are reaping the benefits, including staff satisfaction, employee attraction, retention and improved productivity.’