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We're Disability Confident Leaders!

Date: 10 August 2021


We are proud to announce that SCFT has just been awarded the highest possible Disability Confident status - Level 3: Disability Confident Leader.

Disability Confident is a voluntary Government scheme designed to encourage employers to recruit and retain disabled people. The scheme has three tiers - Level 1: Disability Confident Committed, Level 2: Disability Confident Employer, and Level 3: Disability Confident Leader. Moving from Level 2 to Level 3 demonstrates our Trust’s commitment to inclusive recruitment and talent development.

A total of 20,000 UK employers, employing over 11 million people, have signed up to the Disability Confident scheme so far. This includes over 250 NHS organisations, but of those fewer than 20 have achieved Level 3: Disability Confident Leader status, with Level 1 and Level 2 being the norm.

SCFT’s Level 3 accreditation required the completion of a comprehensive self-assessment of our recruitment, retention and reporting practices, validated by another Disability Confident Leader, and a pledge to support other employers on their Disability Confident journey too.

Emma Mendes da Costa, the Trust's Inclusion Project Lead and Disability and Wellbeing Network Chair, submitted SCFT’s application after significant consultation with teams across the organisation.

“We were revalidated as Level 2: Disability Confident Employers for another three years in March, but the Trust’s increased focus on accessibility and inclusion meant the time was right to progress to Level 3,” Emma explained.

“SCFT has made some amazing advances for both disabled applicants and disabled colleagues over the past few years. We’ve embedded inclusive practices throughout our pre-employment process, from developing an easy read version of the NHS Jobs application form and proactively offering reasonable adjustments at interview, to recommending values-based interview questions, and curating diverse interview and stakeholder panels for senior appointments.

“Once in post, disabled staff members are fully supported by Occupational Health, their line managers, and our robust Trust-wide wellbeing offer. We’ve recently created a centralised Reasonable Adjustments Fund, so disabled staff can get the equipment and training they need as quickly as possible, and we’re about to roll out our new Health and Wellbeing Passport to all staff too, which will augment the health and wellbeing conversations that take place in Personal Development Reviews.

“Our training offer has also increased significantly, including our re-launched Inclusive Leader programme, and Hidden Disabilities Sunflower, #WeSupportDeafAwareness and Makaton training, with neurodiversity awareness webinars and assistance dog guidance in development.    

“Finally, our newly-rebranded staff Disability and Wellbeing Network has expanded to 117 members, including 10 senior Disability Network Advocates who have stepped up to offer peer support to colleagues across the Trust.

“I’m delighted that the evidence we submitted was successfully validated, and that our application for Level 3 status was approved. SCFT really is at the forefront of disability inclusion, and as Level 3: Disability Confident Leaders we’re committed to sharing our knowledge and experience with a wide range of organisations at both a regional and national level.”