Channel 4 has become the first media company to achieve the status of Disability Confident Leader in a Government-backed scheme which encourages businesses to become better at attracting, recruiting and employing disabled people.
In becoming a Disability Confident Leader, the public service broadcaster joins the likes of corporate giants Barclays, KPMG, Jaguar Land Rover and Lloyds Banking Group in not only ensuring that they follow best practice and take positive action to employ disabled people, but also proactively share that best practice with other employers.
Channel 4 Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Dan Brooke, who is the Government’s Media Sector Disability Champion as well as the Channel 4 Board Diversity Champion, said: “While Channel 4 is a leader in the representation of disabled people in the media, we have also been hard at the wheel of developing best practices as an employer and are proud to see this recognised through becoming a Disability Confident Leader.”
Dan continued: “However, we can’t rest on our laurels and are committed to improving further, including working with others in our industry to ensure we all benefit from the truth that disabled people make businesses better.”
Penny Mordaunt, Minister for Disabled People, Work and Health, said: “Channel 4 has not only benefitted from employing disabled people, but it is spreading good practice and learning by encouraging other organisations to follow suit.
“They have been breaking down barriers, and have been a major factor in some of the cultural change we have seen in recent years. I send them my congratulations and thanks for being a very smart employer.”
To become a Disability Confident Leader companies have to complete a self-assessment which is validated by a third party to ensure the evidence is worthy of leader status. For Channel 4 the validation was conducted by The Business Disability Forum, a membership organisation that has more than 20 years of experience in this field and it aims to remove barriers between disabled people and public and private organisations. It advises employers on how they can become more adept at doing business with and employing disabled people.
Diane Lightfoot, Business Disability Forum Chief Executive Officer said: “We are delighted to support Channel 4’s submission as a Disability Confident Leader. Having championed disability inclusion from the 2012 Paralympics and beyond, it’s great to see their continued commitment to best practice and to putting disability firmly on the public agenda.
“We at BDF were very impressed with how seriously Channel 4 have taken the Disability Confident process and with the quantity and quality of the evidence they provided. We are now looking forward to Channel 4 progressing on to do our own Disability Standard, which supports organisations to take the next step from being “Disability Confident” to become truly “Disability Smart.”
Graeme Whippy MBE, Channel 4’s Disability Specialist, said: “Doing the Disability Confident self-assessment has been a very useful exercise as it helped us identify gaps in our practices around disability and take actions to fill them.
“Being thorough and methodical in collating the evidence has also placed us in a good position to evaluate ourselves against the BDF’s Disability Standard, work that is already in progress with colleagues across various teams at Channel 4.”