18 April 2017 | Martin Read
Business Disability Forum, a not-for-profit member organisation that seeks to ensure disabled people are treated fairly in business and wider society, has published a guide aimed at improving levels of accessibility and inclusion in the workplace.
Achieving Disability-Smart Outcomes with Suppliers and Partners is based on five key stages from needs analysis through to contract award and management.
Citing its own research, BDF says that third-party suppliers "have the potential to significantly impact people with disabilities and health conditions on behalf of businesses".
In more than nine in ten cases, third-party suppliers "are engaged in at least some or all of facilities management of which 80 per cent of such suppliers are providing FM that contributes positively to access and inclusion outcomes".
But the same research found that in more than half of cases, "disability-smart outcomes are not built into service specifications. Procurement departments lack the know-how to manage supplier relationships to secure good disability outcomes and disabled colleagues are not involved in feeding back on whether the supplier is delivering good outcomes".
Unlike sustainability, where requirements to review performance are typically clearly visible, "leveraging relationships with suppliers and partners to deliver better outcomes for disabled customers, employees and candidates is not yet common across UK plc, let alone business as usual".
There are, suggests BDF, insufficient review stages built into contracts to assess how suppliers and partners are delivering on inclusion requirements.
Through its guidance, BDF seeks to equip procurement professionals with "practical tips to embed access and inclusion considerations through the needs analysis, pre-solicitation, solicitation, evaluation and contract award phases".
Achieving Disability-Smart Outcomes with Suppliers and Partners is available from: businessdisabilityforum.org.uk