Innovative tool to improve disability access and inclusion

A new benchmarking tool encourages organisations to measure and increase the participation of people with a disability in their workforce.

The Australian Network of Disability (AND) has launched an innovative suite of management tools, the Access and Inclusion Index, to help organisations understand, assess, benchmark and improve their disability confidence.

The not-for-profit organisation’s Chief Executive Officer, Suzanne Colbert AM, said the tool would encourage organisations – including councils – to improve their performance.

“With more than four million people with disability in Australia, this tool is long overdue.

“Businesses now have a way to measure how accessible and inclusive their business practices are, and implement a roadmap for improvement.”

The Access and Inclusion Index includes a free ten-question self-assessment tool that is available to anyone.

AND members have access to a more comprehensive version and can work in partnership with companies to provide detailed evaluation and benchmarking reports that provide tailored recommendations for improvement.  

“As the prevalence of disability increases with age, and with Australia’s ageing workforce, it is vitally important for businesses to think strategically about access and inclusion for people with disability,” said Ms Colbert.

The Access and Inclusion Index is based on the world-renowned Disability Standard designed by the UK Business Disability Forum (BDF), used annually by hundreds of businesses to assess their company’s whole organisational approach to disability.

Since its introduction in 2004, BDF indicates that UK businesses have made significant improvements for customers and employees with disability.  

To develop the Australian tool AND worked closely with development partners, the Department of Family and Community Services (FACS), the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), the Department of Defence, IBM and Westpac Group as well as the Centre for Workplace Leadership at The University of Melbourne to adapt the Disability Standard to local conditions.

It is recommended that organisations register by the October 2016 if they would like to participate in the evaluation and benchmarking opportunity. The Index will remain open to 31 December 2016.