On Thursday 14th September, I met with a variety of Disabled People’s Organisations and charities to discuss Reasonable Adjustments and Labour Party policy. The discussion covered all aspects of the Reasonable Adjustments policy area, and contained many useful and expert insights into disabled people’s every-day experiences and what could be most helpful to them.

The Labour Party is committed to working with and being led by disabled people when it comes to dealing with the issues which affect them most. The discussions in this roundtable will help to inform and will contribute to Labour’s approach to these issues when in government.

Thank you to all who attended. Please see the summarised notes of our discussion below.

Disability Labour

“Access to Work (AtW) should be fully funded to take into account the high costs associated with some disabilities. A similar scheme should also be available for elected office, as disabled people find it hard to get selected. They are often seen as unreliable and there is a feeling they cannot do as much campaigning etc. There is also a need for consistency regarding how allowances are used – the DWP treats allowances like income. The Government should be responsible for this, rather than parties.”

“People should not have to re-state their requirements time and time again.”

” We need to change entire way society looks at disabled people. There has been 13 years of demonisation by the media emphasising the ‘scrounger narrative’. Because of this, disabled people feel stalked across their entire lives. There is a long-term campaign needed to undo that damage.”


Inclusion London

“The biggest problem with reasonable adjustments (RAs) is that the burden is all on the disabled person to sort them out. They need to be in place from the start, including access to buildings and ensuring health and safety inspections are carried out.”

“The process of going to court to challenge RAs is very adversarial. Legal Aid is means-tested and not many get support. It should not be means-tested in discrimination cases.”

“It is possible for employers to reserve jobs for disabled people, but there needs to be better HR training on this.”

“More widely, housing adaptations, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and the welfare system all need looking at. There is a growing anger amongst disabled people’s organisations (DPOs) and they want to know what Labour will do about the Government’s welfare reforms?”

“Training should be delivered by disabled people and local authority systems need to be accessible. We should explore the possibility of coming up with a public sector accessibility framework.”



“The biggest barrier to RAs is the lack of understanding about what they are. There are no specific legal requirements, so organisations can only advise about best practice and refer people to the Equality Act. We need guidance and test cases so that disabled people and employers have clarity.”

“AtW should be able to say what RAs someone needs with legal standing and be able to enforce it. Regarding the Disability Confident scheme, we need an advice hub. There are some good international examples, e.g. Australia’s Job Access scheme.”



“Civil Servants working on AtW are poorly trained. The RNIB has been working with them over summer and together they are starting to make a dent in the backlog.”

“There also needs to be more work done with employers. The RNIB support 700 people per year who develop an eye problem and are worried about staying in their employment. Working with big employers is key – corporate partners want to engage and we need to ensure this happens.”


Inclusion Wales

“There needs to be a proper mapped pathway for people to follow. Where do RAs come into this? Disabled people are experts on their own situation, but do not always know what assistance is available. There needs to be an information hub for employees and employers. RAs also need to be put in place more widely, e.g. in maternity care.”



“It is important to contextualise RAs and AtW within the scandal of poor DWP decision-making.”



“It is important to remember work is not the best outcome for everyone.”

“People with complex disabilities often find those helping them do not have high enough aspirations and frequently end up in unfulfilling jobs because of needs not being met in other roles.”

“We need to focus on the importance of accessibility during the job search process. JobCentres do not have access to assistive technology to assist D/deaf and blind people, and for many it is too expensive to afford themselves. Sense estimates would cost £5million to put assistive tech in all Jobcentres.”

Research: https://www.sense.org.uk/information-and-advice/for-professionals/policy-public-affairs-and-research/employment-support-for-people-with-complex-disabilities/full-research-report

“Disability Confident needs to be more than a tick-box exercise. It should be properly co-produced with workforce research to lead to meaningful change. It should also be asking employees about how employers are doing, not just asking the employers themselves.”



“Scope spoke to 1000 disabled people about employment support. 90% found real issues of discrimination and considered this the key reason for leaving. Half of employers raised the issue of not knowing how to support people with disabilities, and this has an impact on whether they would offer someone a job.”

Research: https://www.scope.org.uk/campaigns/research-policy/employee-retention/ 

“In the long-term, there needs to be a change in attitude and a better understanding of how to support disabled people. We need proper enforcement of RAs and more funding for EHRC to give it the teeth and resources to make sure they are protecting people’s rights. AtW is not well know enough and needs to be better promoted.”


National Autistic Society

“There are barriers around disclosure of diagnosis, particularly for neurodivergent people. The fear and anxiety of not being understood stops them from disclosing these to their employer and therefore unable to access RAs. Only 11% of autistic people who disclosed diagnosis were offered RAs by employer. Employers often do not know what RAs to offer autistic people, and employees do not always know what to ask for.”

“The Autism at Work team work with people to create an Autism Profile, which encourages people to consider their strengths and weaknesses and create a list of RAs. It is a similar idea to Reasonable Adjustments Passports that boosts people’s confidence when asking for adjustments and helps everyone understand the options available.”

“RA Passports should be rolled out as widely as possible and done as early as possible. They could be embedded in SEND systems through careers advice.”


Leonard Cheshire

“The lack of understanding of RAs is a big problem. There are lots of employers who want to do the right thing but do not know how. We need to improve employer guidance. Research found that 1 in 5 employers are less likely to hire a disabled person, with cost and practicalities of making RAs being the biggest concerns.”

“Improvements to Disability Confident and AtW also very important. A significant culture change is needed, beyond employment. RAs apply to all aspects of disabled people’s lives – access to services, benefits, leisure, social care – so it needs to reflect this.”

“Research found 37% of people were not aware they could apply for RAs while claiming benefits. It is also important to use social model of disability when considering RAs. They should be about the workplace and how it is disabling to individuals, rather than vice-versa.”


Social Care Future

“Wider infrastructure also needs to be looked at e.g. transport to work.”

“Regarding social care, budgets being cut and care contributions being cut. Disabled people do not have enough support to get up and get ready for work. We need to support people to live an ‘ordinary’ life so that they can work and we need better legal protections. More generally, we need to change attitudes towards disabled people and what they are capable of.”

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