Westminster Business Forum

Disability in the workplace - removing barriers to recruitment and progression, creating inclusive workplace cultures, and next steps for policy and organisational practice

TO BE PUBLISHED February 2020

As a new parliament begins its work, delegates at this conference will examine latest thinking on next steps for policy and organisational practice on what needs to be done to encourage more disabled people into work - and to support and retain disabled employees.

Issues for discussion include:

  • Specific measures to reduce barriers - such as statutory sick pay reform, help for SME employers, and a cross-government approach to disability policy formulation;
  • Inclusive recruitment, and strategies for staff retention - such as workplace adjustments and support in cases when workers become disabled;
  • Concerns about policy targets encouraging short-term employment, and a lack of evidence to support policy choices; and
  • The effectiveness of programmes such as Disability Confident and Access to Work.


There will be keynote addresses from:

  • Tabitha Jay, Director, Joint Work and Health Unit, Department for Work and Pensions and Department of Health and Social Care;
  • Neil Heslop, Chief Executive, Leonard Cheshire; and
  • Sonali Parekh, Head of Policy, Federation of Small Businesses.

Further confirmed speakers include: Esi Hardy, Managing Director, Celebrating Disability; Professor Kim Hoque, Professor of Human Resource Management, University of Warwick; Kamran Mallick, CEO, Disability Rights UK; Gareth Parry, Chief Executive, Remploy and Paul Smyth, Head of Digital Accessibility, Barclays.

The agenda

  • Government policy on work and disability - providing greater workplace support for disabled employees;
  • Evaluating policy and progress made towards reaching government targets - latest thinking on what more needs to be done to increase the number of disabled people in work;
  • Reimagining the workplace - overcoming barriers to progression of disabled people in work;
  • Responsibilities and actions - what needs to be done to move forward in increasing opportunities for disabled people in work;
  • The next steps for policy development and implementation; and
  • Case studies: successfully creating inclusive workplace cultures - normalising disability, communicating with and retaining disabled employees, and ensuring routes to progression.

Engagement with policy officials at this conference

This Business Forum conference has attracted strong interest from policymakers. It will be an opportunity for stakeholders to engage with officials who have reserved places representing: BEIS; Cabinet Office; Department for Education; DIT; DHSC; DWP; Government Legal Department; FCO; HMRC; Home Office; MoD; MoJ and the NAO.

Price: £95 PLUS VAT

Shortly after every Westminster Business Forum seminar, a briefing document is produced. This is distributed to all delegates on the day as well as to our policymaker contacts in government, and to stakeholders more widely.

A seminar publication provides a timely record of proceedings, and acts as a guide to the latest thinking on current policy issues for those unable to be at the event.

This publication includes


Contributions from keynotes and panellists, including accompanying slides*
*Subject to approval

Delegate Pack

Information from the day, including delegate list, biographies and agenda


Transcript of questions and comments posed to speakers from attending delegates


Supplementary articles from speakers
and delegates