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ONS first public sector organisation to be awarded Gold Disability Standard

Released: 15 May 2014 Download PDF

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has been recognised for its commitment to disabled people, whether they are employees, customers or other stakeholders, becoming the first public sector organisation to have achieved the Gold Status on the Disability Standard.

The Disability Standard is awarded by the Business Disability Forum and scores performance on ten business-wide disability criteria from products and services to recruitment and facilities.

ONS scored 92% overall achieving gold standard and becoming part of the Business Disability Forum’s Roll of Honour, only the fourth UK organisation to achieve this.

Ole Black, the senior lead within the ONS on disability, health and well-being, said: “We are delighted to have achieved this award and proud to be the first public sector organisation to reach the gold standard. We have worked hard to ensure that disability is main-streamed into everything our organisation does and we will continue to do this.

“We are committed to equal and fair treatment for disabled staff and stakeholders.  This acknowledgement reflects the dedication and commitment of ONS staff towards creating a fair and equal workplace.” To hear more from Ole Black on the award, click on the following link:

Angela Matthews, Disability Consultant with the Business Disability Forum, said: "We are very happy to have awarded ONS 'Gold' status in their Disability Standard evaluation. ONS have strong senior leadership that allows change and improved performance to be driven from the top of their organisation. ONS have worked extremely hard - and thoroughly - to advance their practices on retaining disabled employees and carers.

This has included investing in a structured programme to help employees adjust to returning to work after a period of sickness absence, establishing a robust adjustments procedure that all relevant staff are equipped to manage, and developing an in-house course to provide support for employees who care for people with disabilities. It was clear that, aside from addressing the immediate barriers that individual employees experience in the workplace, ONS also take the time to gather an in-depth understanding of the affect and wider implications that disability can have on someone."

Some of the initiatives set up by ONS that helped to achieve this award came from the disability network groups of ONS staff. They have implemented schemes like the Disability Passport which provides an opportunity for disabled staff and their managers to agree reasonable adjustments, work to their strengths and perform to the best of their abilities.

Rebecca White, Deputy Chair of one of the ONS disability network groups, joined ONS in 2007. She said:
"ONS provide a good working environment for disabled people and I have always found they are prepared to support my needs to allow me to fulfil my potential, and encourage me to help others. They have provided me with a laptop to work from home when Chronic Fatigue is severe and allow me extra rest breaks when needed.

"The Disability Passport scheme is great initiative as it lists all my needs and takes away the stress of moving to a new position when the opportunity occurs."

Notes to editors

  1. ONS has previously achieved the Business disability forum’s Bronze Standard.

  2. Business Disability Forum is a world-leading membership body bringing together business and the public sector to build disability-smart organisations. Formerly called the Employers’ Forum on Disability, the company has more than 20 years’ experience of working with public and private sector employers and service providers. For more information about the Forum please visit:

  3. For further information on the Disability Standard and details of the roll of honour please visit

 Media contacts

For ONS please contact Helena Hird or Adam Wheeler on 0845 6041858.

For Business Disability Forum, please contact Kevin Scott, Communications & Marketing Officer

Background notes

  1. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available by visiting or from the Media Relations Office email:

Content from the Office for National Statistics.
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