The Office for Disability Issues is seeking business people to champion accessibility of products and services for disabled people.

Are you a business leader? Are you passionate about accessibility? Do you want to encourage culture change within UK business? If your answer to these questions is yes, you could be one of the next Disability Sector Champions.

In February 2017, 11 sector champions were announced who are using their influential status as leaders in their sectors to drive improvements to the accessibility, and quality, of services and facilities in their sector.

These champions, who represent a range of different sectors and businesses, from gaming to retail, use their influential status as leaders in their industries to promote the benefits of being inclusive to disabled people.

There are currently more than 11 million disabled people in the UK and the spending power of their households - ‘the purple pound’ - is almost £250 billion. But many businesses are missing out on this potential customer base by having everyday products and services which aren’t available to disabled people – who, as a result, are regularly excluded from experiences and opportunities that many others take for granted.

The sector champions will amplify the voices of disabled customers and employees within their own industries, increasing accountability and challenging inequality. They will also be able to highlight specific changes and improvements that will make a difference to the millions of people who often miss out.

The Minister for Disabled People, Work and Health, Penny Mordaunt, said:

As a public advocate for accessibility, these champions will help businesses realise the value of disabled consumers and the importance of catering to every customer’s needs.

These industries must become fully inclusive. Not being able to access the high street, products and services, transport or simply to access a loo jars with our national values: it must change.

These sector champions drive improvements to the accessibility and quality of services and facilities in their sector, helping to showcase best practice and show other businesses the merit of making disabled customers a priority.

However, while these champions have all made great progress on this agenda in their respective sectors, there is much more to do to provide equal opportunities and choice for disabled people across the whole of society.

The Office for Disability Issues is seeking disability sector champions in 6 new sectors, so they are issuing a call for business people to become sector champions initially for a year, in each of the following sectors:

  • trains
  • technology
  • insurance
  • fashion
  • leisure – pubs, restaurants and so on
  • arts and culture – for example, theatre, cinema, museums

It is our hope that these Champions will become a catalyst for change. DWP need champions who are ambitious, passionate and dynamic, with strong networks and the ability to reach out to a wide range of organisations and to create momentum for change.

DWP would be grateful for expressions of interest from people who are ready for this challenge, and would welcome the opportunity to work within their sector and beyond to deliver on these goals.

Completed expressions of interest are due back by midnight on Sunday 28 January 2018.

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