Research

Employer disability practice in Britain: assessing the impact of the Positive About Disabled People ‘Two Ticks’ symbol


Launched in 1990, the Positive About Disabled People 'Two Ticks' symbol has become a common and highly recognisable feature on job advertisements and application forms in Britain. Awarded to employers by Jobcentre Plus, the symbol is intended to help disabled job applicants identify employers that have made positive commitments regarding the treatment of disabled people within recruitment, training and retention processes, and have sought to raise disability awareness within their organisations.

The aim of this paper is to explore the impact of one such standards-based approach to disability equality. A specific focus on this standard might be deemed especially necessary given that much equalities research to date has focused on gender and race, with less attention having been paid to other areas such as disability. The analysis draws on data from a survey of trade union Disability Champions. The Disability Champion role is a lay union position that focuses specifically on representing the needs of disabled people. A formal element of the role is to audit the organisation against the commitments expected of employers that display the Two Ticks symbol, hence Disability Champions are particularly well placed to comment on issues relevant to this paper.

The results suggest only limited adherence to the five Two Ticks commitments and support for/ dialogue with Disability Champions in the Two Ticks workplaces within the sample. There was very little evidence that the commitments were more widely adhered to, or that support for and dialogue with Disability Champions was any greater, in the Two Ticks than in the non-Two Ticks workplaces. There was also no consistent evidence of a stronger Two Ticks effect in the public than the private sector. The paper then examines the implications of these findings and concludes that further research is required to confirm or refute its findings.

A draft version of this research is available for download at the link below.

A version of this paper is forthcoming in Work, Employment & Society.

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