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How to...avoid disability discrimination...
How to...avoid disability discrimination

Going beyond simple compliance with the Disability Discrimination Act turns everyone - staff, manager or customer - into winners. And British Gas Business (formerly Centrica Business Services,) has the FT Best Workplaces 2005 Special Award for Best Practice in Disability Excellence to prove it.

Its original approach brings equality and diversity into the organisation's culture at every stage from recruitment and training to practical support and provides a backdrop for considering the needs of the individual with a disability.

'None of our policies are particularly different,' says HR director Jill Shedden. 'It's more a question of how we implement them. The key to success is not letting the DDA drive what you do. Rather than label people, I prefer to start from the premise that our staff are all individuals with slightly differing requirements. They bring the skills that we need. Our priority is equipping them with the resources to do the job properly and that's something I argue for regardless of disability.'

In practical terms, that means providing anything from specially adapted equipment to communicators at job interviews for a deaf candidate.

'At recruitment we look for candidates who behave positively,' says Ms Shedden. 'People like that don't come along every day, so when they do we're already thinking about what we can do for them. It ensures a focus on ability, not disability. '

For an organisation to be successful it has to attract the right candidate for every job. Excluding any section of the population only invites failure.

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