The Department for Work and Pensions has announced that Sainsbury’s has achieved Disability Confident Leader status – the highest tier of accreditation in the government’s Disability Confident Programme. Sainsbury’s, which employs over 190,000 colleagues, is the largest retailer to achieve this status.
In order to be granted this status, which is underpinned by an independent validation, Sainsbury’s had to demonstrate not only that it takes positive action to employ disabled people and follows best practice, but that it proactively encourages other employers to make the journey to becoming Disability Confident.
The Disability Confident Programme was launched by the Department for Work and Pensions a year ago with the aim to help employers recruit and retain disabled people and people with health conditions for their skills and talent. As part of the scheme, the Department for Work and Pensions also set up the Disability Confident Business Leaders Group, which is engaging with the business community on disability employment. Tim Fallowfield, Sainsbury’s Company Secretary and Corporate Services Director was appointed as Chair of the group last December. Over 5,000 businesses have signed up to the group.
Tim Fallowfield, who is also Sainsbury’s Board Sponsor for Disability and Carers, commented: “We want to be the most inclusive retailer, where all our colleagues can fulfil their potential. We are very proud to have achieved the status of Disability Confident Leader, which recognises our hard work in this area. We have developed a number of initiatives, from our You Can programme which enables us to recruit colleagues who may face barriers to employment, to creating a guide to workplace adjustments for our managers. Through our involvement in the Disability Confident Business Leaders Group, we hope to encourage as many employers as possible to feel confident in employing people with a disability, providing those colleagues with the opportunity to realise their potential.”
Penny Mordaunt, Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, commented: “As the largest retailer to become a Disability Confident Leader, Sainsbury’s is acting as a champion within the industry and leading others to make the most of the talents that disabled people can bring to the workplace.
“Disabled people make up almost a fifth of the working age population, and becoming a Disability Confident employer sends a powerful message to potential employees that they will get the support they need to thrive.”