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Disabled Persons (Employment)

Volume 972: debated on Tuesday 30 October 1979

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asked the Minister for the Civil Service what further action is being taken to increase the numbers of disabled people employed in Government Departments; and if he will make a statement.

The Government take very seriously their responsibility for the employment of disabled people in the Civil Service. The latest available figures show that the Civil Service employs over 13,500 registered disabled persons. This figure relates only to those disabled who are known to be registered. Registration is voluntary and many disabled people choose not to register. Nor is there any obligation to disclose registration to the employer. There could well be as many unregistered as registered disabled persons in the Civil Service.All Departments are regularly reminded of their individual responsibilities in this field. In order to maintain impetus, the Civil Service Department:

  • a. has issued a code of practice to all Departments;
  • b. has asked Departments to appoint departmental disabled persons officers with full responsibility for the recruitment and career development of registered disabled persons;
  • c. issues to all Departments an annual newsletter on the disabled;
  • d. holds meetings of groups of departmental disabled persons officers and others with general responsibility for the recruitment and employment of the disabled.
  • In the recruiting field the Civil Service specifically encourages applications for employment from registered disabled people. Where necessary, special arrangements are made for registered disabled candidates to attend tests and interviews, for example, in wheelchairs; and those competing for clerical vacancies are generally allowed to take "short-answer" tests if they lack the necessary qualifications. Candidates who are not disabled must have the necessary qualifications. We have been studying the possibilities for employing disabled people in areas—for example, in computer programming and photoprinting—where they might enjoy an advantage over those who are not disabled.