Employing people in the NHS with learning disabilities

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NHS Employers has partnered with NHS England to provide a range of tools and guidance to encourage and support health organisations to increase their recruitment of people with learning disabilities. 

The aim of the tools and guidance is to raise awareness, highlight good practice, break down the barriers that both employers and potential employees may face, and create a culture that welcomes people with learning disabilities. 

Make a pledge

We are inviting organisations to make a pledge to demonstrate their commitment to employing people with learning disabilities, find out how to make your pledge.

Tools and guidance

The tools and guidance are structured around five building blocks which will take an employer or manager through the process of recruiting and employing someone with a learning disability.

Learning disability employment building blocks

Getting started Being an accessible employer Identifying real jobs Advertising and recruitment Employment 
  • making the case
  • external support
  • Equality Act 2010
  • communicating
  • training
  • support

  • where do I start?
  • entry routes to employment

  • advertising
  • accessible applications
  • pre-employment checks

  • induction
  • monitoring
  • staff survey adjustments

For more information download the full NHS learning disabilities tools and guidance and the easy read NHS England tools and guidance.

New webinars 

We recently held two webinars which were facilitated by the National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTi) to help support NHS organisations to employ more people with a learning disability. The webinars included a number of case studies which highlighted how some organisations have supported people with learning disabilities into employment, if you missed them you can watch them via the links below:

Additional support

Until the 30 April 2019, NHS employers can benefit from tailored expert support from the National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTi) and the National Autistic Society to improve their recruitment and retention rates for staff with a learning disability and/or autism. This support is available to organisations who have signed up to the LDEP pledge or are interested in doing so. The support will also contribute to how you can evidence progress against the indicators of disability equality for the Workforce Disability Equality Standard and can assist with a range of issues which include:

  • creating or developing your LDEP action plan
  • understanding reasonable adjustments and best practice guidance around supported employment
  • changes to policies and processes to improve recruitment and retention for people with a learning disability and / or autism
  • support to attract and retain staff with learning disability and/or autism
  • connecting you with other organisations who can support you.

You can receive this support by emailing kathy.melling@ndti.org.uk with your name, organisation and the issue or challenge you are facing. All requests will be followed up within two working days. 

Resources to help with the recruitment process

NHS England's learning disability engagement team has also created a series of resources to help with various aspects of the recruitment process:

Take a look at an infographic explaining why you should employ more people with learning disabilities.  

Government Digital Service

The Government Digital Service accessibility team has also published a series of guides on making it easier to build digital services that are accessible for everyone. These include an introduction to making your service accessible and a guide to testing for accessibility.

For more information visit the Government Digital Service website.


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