Sector Must Help Disabled People Flourish, but UKHospitality Warns Against ‘Inappropriate Practices’

The hospitality industry can lead the way in helping disabled people to flourish, according to a leading trade body.

UKHospitality said that the important personal qualities and skills of disabled people are valued in the sector, but it warned that disability monitoring and reporting could lead to the implementation of inappropriate practices.

The trade body was responding to a consultation – part of the National Disability Strategy – looking at how government and employers can make workplaces more inclusive for disabled people and increase transparency.

UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls, who works closely with the Cabinet Office in her role as Disability and Access Ambassador, said: “We want to see more hospitality businesses implementing practices to allow disabled people to flourish in our sector, drawing on their personal qualities and skills. This, and promoting the work of organisations excelling in this area, can nurture well-informed public discussion about inclusivity.

“In order to recruit inclusively, with confidence, and to engage with monitoring, hospitality businesses are going to need clear, robust guidance. We’re keen to work closely with government to achieve this.

“However, mandatory disability monitoring and reporting are not the way forward. Disability continues to be a delicate matter and we’re concerned that mandatory reporting could prompt the implementation of inappropriate practices, for example, data collection performed in a way that fails to capture the nuance and complexity of the workforce’s demographics and the business’ inclusivity. This could lead to misrepresentation of how inclusive businesses are, which would be to the detriment of consumers, employees and competition within the sector.”

The consultation sought views on how businesses with more than 250 employees might be encouraged to ‘collect and report statistics about disability to make their workforces more inclusive’.

A voluntary reporting framework has been in place since 2018.