The Commission aimed to investigate and report on current practices in the employment of disabled people. This provided an evidence base from which the Commission made recommendations for the government, unions, lifelong learning employers and staff, and a variety of other 'stakeholders'. The ultimate aim of the Commission was to address the widespread institutional discrimination against disabled staff in the lifelong learning sector, and to make recommendations that positively influence culture and practice and promote career opportunities for disabled people.
The Commission for Disabled Staff in Lifelong Learning
The Commission for Disabled Staff in Lifelong Learning, in celebrating equality and diversity, aimed to investigate and report on current practices in the employment of disabled people in the lifelong learning sector, in order to make recommendations that positively influence culture and practice and promote career opportunities for disabled people.
What are we aiming to achieve?
How will we do this work?
The Commission was an independent body, funded by NIACE, DIUS, the LSC, LLUK and City and Guilds. It comprised the following commissioners, observers and members:
The Commission initiated a widespread call for evidence, and conducted questionnaire, interview, focus group and seminar-based research in order to gather data. The data were analysed and findings were reported in the Commission's final report From Compliance to Culture Change.
Who is this work for?
Primarily the Commission aimed to improve the working experiences of disabled staff in the lifelong learning sector. However, the Commission took the view that advancing positive change for disabled staff benefits all staff, and indeed learners, in the lifelong learning sector.
What have we accomplished to date?
The Commission produced a literature review, interim report, and final report From Compliance to Culture Change: Disabled staff working in lifelong learning (the summary report and easy read summary of this are available to download for FREE below). The final report made recommendations for the government, unions, lifelong learning employers and staff, and a variety of other 'stakeholders'.
The final report was launched on Wednesday 5 March 2008 at QEII Conference Centre, Westminster. Bill Rammell, the then Minister of State for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education, was one of our principal speakers. He and DIUS made a positive response to the report, which can be downloaded below.
What have we learnt from this work?
The report's 160 pages set out the major challenges to achieving real inclusion for disabled staff. Citing and quoting a deeply impressive body of evidence, it finds no grounds for complacency: there is a clear problem about the under-representation of disabled staff in lifelong learning, and little evidence of organisations adopting a strategic approach to current and future disabled staff.
All this points to a systemic failure to address the issue seriously, leading to widespread institutional discrimination against disabled staff. The report explains authoritatively and in depth why this should be so and identifies the main issues that need to be addressed to change this situation. Every organisation involved in lifelong learning, and every individual with an interest in the needs of disabled staff, will find this report essential reading.
What is (or will be) the impact of this work?
The Commission's work was groundbreaking. It highlighted the urgent need to address inequality for disabled staff in the lifelong learning sector, and brought this to the attention of policy makers and practitioners.
The work of the Commission, and the final report, led to LLUK setting up the Disability Equality Implementation Group (DEIG) to take forward the Commission's work and continue to advance equality in the lifelong learning sector. Since the work of the Commission, equality for disabled staff has been addressed in new guidance documents, research and development work and policy initiatives.