City bosses should be held as accountable for the recruitment of
disabled staff as much as they are for their financial performance,
Paul Deighton, CEO of the London Organising Committee of the
Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), declared
in a recent interview with the Sunday Telegraph.
LOCOG, the London 2012 organising committee, which is headed up
by Deighton, has actively identified and recruited disabled
candidates - 12.5% of LOCOG staff hired last month have a
disability. According to Deighton, LOCOG diverted from traditional
recruitment processes by "trawling" for disabled candidates and
committing to approaching them once the right job was
This seems like a big step forward.
While LOCOG were under a mandate to deliver a percentage of
disabled staff for the Olympics and Paralympics, Deighton's
response suggests that recruitment processes are too static and
"traditional" and that more efforts should be made to actively
target and outreach disabled people.
Deighton told the newspaper: "So it takes faith to get there and
it is totally down to leadership. It is down to the guy at the top
and he should be held accountable for it just as much as he is for
his revenue targets".
1944 disability act issued a legal quota for all private
sector organisations. Under the act, private sector organisations
with more than 20 employees were legally required to employ
disabled people. However, the law was enacted just after the Second
World War when labour was in high demand. It was also little
publicised with few mechanisms for enforcement and few penalties
issued for breaking this law.
This situation changed in 1995 - the quota system was abolished
in and replaced by a voluntary system and a statutory right of
non-discrimination against disabled people was introduced. This
meant that organisations were required to set their own targets and
abide by clear outlines of non-discrimination both in the
recruitment and employment process. Tackling prejudice has become a
separate "public programme" which stresses ability over disability
and the importance of diversity in the workplace.
In this day and age, with the
high rates of unemployment, it might seem preferable for a
legalised quota to be in place. In other words, to hold our
government and society as legally and socially responsible for
giving disabled people employment.
As a disabled person myself, I think this is too easy and too
slack an attitude to adopt.
Deighton's message is that individuals should take
responsibility. CEOs, HR heads and disabled jobseekers should work
together to actively help those struggling to find employment and
improve recruitment processes which easily deny disabled people
entry at the first door.
If you are responsible for recruitment in your organisation,
what are your thoughts on Deighton's comments - Is the onus on
organisations to take a more active approach to recruiting staff
with disabilities? Or do you think the government should be doing
more to support this process?
Purpose encourages people to "look out of the window" and
into the civic space where these kind of changes take place. Young
graduates of the
Frontrunner for Disabled Students course will hopefully
help take this message and penetrate it further into
Common Purpose will continue its campaign to inspire disabled
students to take up leadership positions by running two courses a
year in 2012 and 2013.
The fourth Frontrunner for Disabled Students course runs 4 - 6 July
2012 in Liverpool.
Written by Genevieve Barr, Associate Project Manager at