Below is the text of a Written Parliamentary Question asked by Sir Oliver to the Department for Work and Pensions about employment schemes for disabled people, and the reply he received.
Q: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will make an assessment of the progress and effectiveness of the Disability Confident campaign in Hertfordshire.
A: Employers and wider society both benefit from recruiting more disabled people. Disability Confident is a campaign to help employers discover for themselves the talents and value that disabled people bring to business.
Launched in July 2013 by the Prime Minister, supported by business leaders and disability employment organisations, Disability Confident sets out the business case for those employers unsure about the benefits of employing disabled people. It overcomes the fear factor for those employers worried about the logistics or afraid of saying the wrong thing, and emphasises the support available for employers. It highlights the great work that employers are already doing and encourages others to join in.
Disability Confident is a partnership approach – a business-to-business dialogue. Partners learn from each other about how to become disability confident, with support from Government and disability organisations.
In the first year of the Disability Confident campaign we held seven regional events across the UK, reaching more than 1,100 employers. In July 2014 we launched a toolkit for MPs – so they can bring together employers and disabled people in their own constituencies.
On 27 February a very successful Disability Confident event, coupled with a Jobs Fair, was held in St Albans. Opened by Cllr Geoff Harrison (the Mayor of St Albans), and Anne Main MP, the event provided an opportunity for around 120 jobseekers to make contact with local employers. There is scope for other Hertfordshire MPs to host further Disability Confident events in coming months.