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Tuesday, 12 November

Military Intelligence Disability-Smart

The team from MI5 receive their award

A range of organisations have been recognised for leading the way on positive change at the Disability-Smart 2019 Awards - and the secret is out, MI5 was amongst the winners.

Those winners were recognised by the Disability Forum at a ceremony at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London (October 23). The awards aim to showcase best practice and raise the bar on inclusive business.

Winners include well-known supermarket chains and global tech companies, alongside public sector organisations, charities and small businesses. All were recognised for their work to enhance the experiences of disabled employees and customers by leading the way on positive and innovative change.

Several other finalists were highly commended at the event, which was supported by Barclays and co-hosted by Paralympian, Stef Reid.

Four new awards were added this year. They recognise the work of organisations and individuals in the areas of customer service, design, communications and marketing and influencing.

 

MI5

MI5 won the Workplace Experience Award which recognises the range of support and services that MI5 provides as an employer to ensure that disabled members of MI5 can make a full contribution to national security, including the organisation's occupational health and wellbeing support, the disability-related training available to all staff and the availability of flexible working in a range of MI5 roles, all of which contribute to an inclusive culture.

Director General Andrew Parker told ThisWeekinFM: "It was an honour to collect this award. It rightly recognises the achievements of Ability Action, working in combination with others across the organisation, to ensure MI5 is a place where disabled people can be themselves and fulfil their potential, reflecting the country, people and values that MI5 works so hard to protect."

 Parker continued: "In 2017 MI5 also achieved the highest level of the DWP administered Disability Confident Leaders scheme, which recognised our commitment to inclusive recruitment practices, and supporting disabled employees."

 

The Disability-Smart 2019 Award Winners and organisations highly commended are as follows:

 

Disability-Smart Senior Champion Award 2019

Winner: Tim Fallowfield, Company Secretary and Director of Corporate Services, Sainsbury’s. The Disability-Smart Senior Champion Award 2019 recognises the value of having a committed senior champion who is visible and vocal about why disability matters to them and to their organisation.

 

Disability-Smart Design Award 2019 (new)

Winner: Herbal Essences.

Highly commended: Disabled Sailors Association.

The Disability-Smart Design Award 2019 recognises design that shows flair. Herbal Essences won for a design that makes it easier for visually impaired consumers to distinguish its shampoo and conditioner products through the sense of touch.

The Disabled Sailors’ Association were highly commended for designing and building accessible yachts and dinghies, which could be sailed and lived on by wheelchair users without help.

 

Disability-Smart Workplace Experience Award 2019 (sponsored by Microlink)

Winner: MI5. Over the last 10 years MI5 has developed, delivered and continually improved its ability to support for disabled staff, ensuring that disability and ill health does not prevent talented individuals from making a full contribution to the protection of national security.

Under the mantra of 'Raising Awareness, Removing Barriers and Fulfilling Potential', MI5's dedicated Diversity and Inclusion team has worked closely with a refreshed and energised Disability Staff Network to develop policies and working practices.

 

Disability-Smart Influencer Award 2019 (new)

Winner: BBC. The BBC won the award for their Neurodiversity initiative, BBC Cape (Creating a Positive Environment). The initiative has created positive change at the BBC for people with Neurodivergent conditions such as Autism, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Tourette’s and ADHD by removing barriers in the workplace and enabling neurodivergent individuals the opportunities to follow career ambitions and achieve their potential.

 

Disability-Smart Technology for All Award 2019 (sponsored by Microlink)

Winner: Dubai Police. Dubai Police won the award for creating the world’s first smart police station free from human interaction. The technology allows disabled people (and indeed everyone) to interact with the police service in a discreet and accessible way. Judges commented on the invaluable role played by the technology, in a culture where people might not want to be seen to be visiting or being visited by the police.

 

Disability-Smart Customer Service Award 2019 (new)

Winner: Edinburgh Printmakers. Edinburgh Printmakers won the award for creating a fully accessible arts venue. Judges felt that the organisation had pulled out all the stops, including moving to new premises, in order to make themselves more accessible.

 

Disability-Smart Communications & Marketing Campaign Award 2019 (new)

Winner: Microsoft.

Highly Commended: Busy Life Ltd.

Microsoft won the category for their Tech that Empowers Everyone Campaign in collaboration with the John Lewis Partnership and The Guardian Newspaper. Microsoft won for the sheer range and impact of their campaign.

Busy Life was highly commended for its Diversity Designs campaign, for everyone who runs. Judges felt thier range of clothing embraces different races, religions, shapes, ages, and abilities.

 

Disability-Smart Multinational Organisation Award 2019

Winner: Shell. Shell won the award for their global focus on mental health and their wider global disability programme. Judges commented on the range and sophistication of the work being undertaken across Shell's global operations.

 

Disability-Smart Diversity & Inclusion Practitioner Award 2019

Winner: Neil Milliken, ATOS.

Highly Commended: Satjinder Jabanda-Wilson, Virgin Media.

Highly Commended: ‘Discover UCL’ team, UCL.

This award recognises the work of individuals, who have made an extraordinary commitment to achieve change, through their practitioner roles.

Neil Milliken from ATOS won the award for crafting and implementing ATOS’ Global Accessibility policy, for organising and facilitating global awareness events across seven countries, and for co-creating the popular online community, AXS Chat.

Satjinder Jabanda-Wilson, from Virgin Media, was highly commended for her work championing disabled and vulnerable customers.

The team behind ‘Discover UCL’ (Manjula Patrick, Sannah Gulamani, Charles Boonchareon and Alison Forbes) were also highly commended for delivering a programme to support deaf students’ preparation for university; helping students develop the confidence and skills to flourish in Higher Education.

 

Disabled People’s Choice Award 2019

Winner: EmployAbility (nominated by Harry Ashcroft).

The popular Disabled People’s Choice Award is an opportunity for disabled people to nominate an employer, retailer, website or experience that they feel is making a real difference to their lives and the lives of others.

The award was won by not-for-profit organisation, EmployAbility, for its commitment to assisting disabled students and graduates to transition successfully into employment. Judges were impressed by the organisation’s success in recruiting candidates for blue-chip companies and government.

 

Closing comments

Diane Lightfoot, CEO, Business Disability Forum, said: “The nominations for the Disability-Smart Awards simply get bigger and better each year. The Disability-Smart Awards celebrate success. By sharing best practice, we want to show what can be done and what should be done.

“1 in 5 people are disabled, so it makes business sense for everyone to make disability inclusion a priority.”

Picture: The team from MI5 receive their award.

 

The Security Service, also known as MI5 (Military Intelligence, Section 5), is the United Kingdom's domestic counter-intelligence and security agency and is part of its intelligence machinery alongside the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) and Defence Intelligence (DI).

Article written by Brian Shillibeer

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