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Mental Illness: Employment

Volume 456: debated on Wednesday 31 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what measures he is taking to promote actively the employment within (a) his Department and (b) public sector bodies for whom he has responsibility of people with mental illnesses in line with the advice and codes of practice produced by the Disability Rights Commission. (117090)

Under the Disability Equality Duty introduced by the Disability Discrimination Act 2005, my Department and the public sector bodies for which I am responsible are required to publish and implement Disability Equality schemes. These are plans setting out how we will carry out the Disability Equality Duty, monitor, and report on progress. In particular, this includes our arrangements for gathering information on the effect of our policies and practices on the recruitment, development and retention of our disabled employees and making use of that information.

In addition, all external recruitment advertisements contain the “Positive About Disabled People Two Ticks Symbol”, and the Department ensures that all applicants who declare a disability are given reasonable adjustments at each stage of the selection process to ensure they are competing on a level playing field.

When disabled applicants are successful, all relevant adjustments are made, in consultation with the individual and expert advisers where appropriate. Managers keep under review any particular requirements that disabled employees may have, in line with the “Two Ticks” commitments.

The Department also operates the Workstep scheme, which enables people with severe disabilities to be employed, with support from external providers such as Remploy and Scope.

The public sector bodies sponsored by my department that are subject to these requirements are responsible for publishing and implementing their own disability equality schemes.