Social care has the opportunity to lead the way in providing a quality customer experience for disabled people. As a sector, we have a long track record of looking after disabled people and leading innovations to consistently improve independence and individuals’ quality of life. But Purple Tuesday pushes us, rightly, to go further,
The CareTech Foundation and Championing Social Care have been working with Purple to improve the experience of disabled people working in the social care sector and the people we support. While Purple Tuesday is a campaign covering all sectors, we are also focusing on raising the profile and shining a light on the social care disabled workforce. 80% of the 14 million disabled people in the UK have a hidden disability. including mental health diagnoses, that they may, or may not, choose to disclose. Mental health and wellbeing are some of the greatest challenges facing organisations as a result of the legacy of the COVID-19 pandemic. Conversely, it is an opportunity to smash the taboo forever and provide support to employees without the fear of stigma.
While we continue to widely discuss the title we should give to the people we care for, we can agree that they deserve the very best experience, being included in choices around their care and feeling fully valued. Our clients, service users or customers (you pick!) should be able to access all the information that they would like, have a positive and inclusive experience, and access the care that they need. Through the Purple Tuesday campaign, we have been sharing simple changes to improve this customer experience even further.
For example, did you know that when using hashtags on social media, if you capitalise the first letter of each word it’s easier to read? Instead of #disabilityinclusion, display this as #DisabilityInclusion. Did you also know there is an option to add a descriptive alternative text to the image? This can help those who use screen readers to know what the image displays. If the image is decorative only, Alt tags can be applied as an alternative.
When 22% of people in the UK have a disability and the social care sector faces increasing workforce pressure, recruiting and supporting disabled colleagues is more important than ever. From our initial work with Purple, we have been sharing the benefits of hiring and supporting disabled people in the sector and across all types of services. For example, lower staff turnover, additional skills coming in to the business and how the low costs of adjustments can be mitigated through the Access to Work scheme.
When we look at the staffing crisis across the sector and we consider the disability employment gap is reported at over 30%, we have to ask ourselves what opportunity this provides to the social care sector if we can provide supportive and well-equipped workplaces?
If you would like to find out more, join leaders and experts from across the social care sector to discuss the next steps and set the agenda to improve the experience of disabled customers and colleagues at our round table on the 25th November. The event will be live-streamed via Zoom and chaired by Martin Green, CEO of Care England, with a wealth of leaders from across the sector and beyond.