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Disability Fact Sheet

This fact sheet provides information about disability in the Civil Service, the need to improve the data we hold on disability and rights under the Equality Act 2010. There are also links to further useful information.

The Equality Act

The Equality Act aims to end the discrimination which many disabled people face, giving people rights in the areas of employment, access to goods, facilities and services and buying or renting land or property. The Equality Act recognises that disabled people can be prevented from fully participating in society. Barriers to participation include prejudice and discrimination, inflexible organisational procedures and practices, inaccessible information, buildings and transports.

If you are disabled the Equlaity Act makes it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against you when you are applying for a job or are in employment. This includes applications forms, interview arrangements, job offers, terms of employment, promotion, transfer or training opportunities, benefits and dismissal and redundancy. Employers also have a duty to take any reasonable steps they can to reduce or remove any substantial disadvantage caused to a disabled employee or job applicant by any employment arrangements or any physical feature of premises. This is the duty to make ‘reasonable adjustments’.

For more information go to the Government’s Disability website or the Equality and Human Rights Commission website   

Coverage of the Equality Act

The Equality Act defines a person as disabled if they have a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long term (e.g. over 12 months) adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day to day activities. Any treatment or correction should not be taken into account, including medical treatment or the use of a prosthesis or other aid (for example, a hearing aid) when assessing the impact of the impairment.

The Equality Act also covers those who have had a disability in the past. It is difficult to list those the impairments for which people might be covered, because of the range and variety. However examples of conditions which are covered include:

  • reoccurring or progressive conditions
  • severe disfigurements
  • mobility caused by arthritis
  • speech, hearing and sight impairments
  • dyslexia
  • mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety
  • chronic conditions such as diabetes or asthma

Certain conditions are also covered from the date of diagnosis.

Disability in the Civil Service

The Civil Service is committed to recognising and valuing what everyone has to offer. This includes a commitment to improving its policies and practices on disability. The Cabinet Office is helping Government Departments to meet their commitment to bring in and bring on talented disabled people by running a Bursary Scheme for those with potential to reach the Senior Civil Service, and facilitating the development of guidance on:

  • recruitment of disabled people
  • making reasonable adjustments
  • accessibility to meetings
  • monitoring disability and use of this data
  • mental health

For more information about disability and diversity in the Civil Service 

Improving information on disability

Cabinet Office has set targets to increase the representation of disabled people at Senior Civil Service to 3.2% in 2008. Our target in the Scottish Government is 4%. We are also working to improve the accuracy of our monitoring information, so that we can better evaluate our policies and practices. For more information about Civil Service Disability statistics  

Diversity Monitoring Form

Further information on our Diversity Monitoring Form is available for all potential applicants.