Timetable for implementation of the workforce disability equality standard


NHS England has published an indicative timetable for implementation of the workforce disability equality standard (WDES).
The proposed standard will use data from the NHS annual staff survey and look at areas such as:

  • workforce representation
  • reasonable adjustments
  • employment experience
  • opportunities.
The WDES will be mandated via the NHS Standard Contract for 2017-19. The NHS Standard Contract for 2017-19 sets out that NHS trusts and foundation trusts will have to implement the WDES in the first year. 
Paul Deemer, head of diversity and inclusion at NHS Employers, has welcomed the announcement:
“The proposed standard will enable healthcare organisations to measure and improve on performance for disabled employees and stakeholders. At the same time we hope to encourage a systems approach to workforce disability to ensure that the proposed standard is integrated into existing management tools such as the equality delivery system, and work already in progress on learning disabilities and the workforce. We look forward to working with our pilot sites and others to test the standard and help launch a final version in 2018”.

The indicative timetable and the reporting deadline of August 2019 are outlined below:



March 2018

Online Survey

March 2018

Regional Consultation Events

Autumn 2018

Publication of the WDES

Autumn/Winter 2018

NHS Trusts and Foundation Trusts review their data and reporting against the metrics

June 2019

Reporting sheet with prepopulated data sent to NHS Trusts and Foundation Trusts

August 2019

First WDES reports to be published in August 2019, based on data from the 2018/19 financial year

April/May 2020

First National WDES annual report published by NHS England

 You can find more information on the WDES and the full timetable on the NHS England website.

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