Policy paper

Disability Confident aims and objectives

Published 18 December 2015

Disability Confident was launched as a campaign by The Prime Minister, David Cameron, on 18 July 2013 at the Queen Elizabeth II conference centre in London.

Through Disability Confident, the government is working with employers to challenge attitudes, increase understanding of disability, remove barriers, and ensure that disabled people have the opportunities to fulfil their potential and realise their aspirations.

Policy drivers

There are nearly 6 million people of working age in the UK who are disabled or have a health condition. There has historically been a large gap between the numbers of disabled people employed compared with non-disabled people.

The government is committed to halving the disability employment gap. Employers have a crucial role to play in this – apart from self-employment, disabled people can only be in employment if employers are willing to employ them.

DWP has a vital role to play in supporting people with disability or longer term health conditions into or back into work.


The Family Resource Survey 2013/14 shows that there were 6 million disabled adults of working age, 0.9 million disabled children and 5 million disabled adults over State Pension age in the United Kingdom.

The estimated percentage of the population who were disabled remained relatively constant over time at around 19%. The number of disabled people has increased (from 10.5 million in 2003/04 to 11.9 million in 2013/14), as a result of the increasing overall population.

The disability employment gap is the difference between an employment rate of 80.5% for non-disabled people and 45.7% for disabled people. (Figures for July to September 2015.)

Therefore there’s an employment rate gap between disabled and non-disabled people of 34.8 percentage points in the UK.


Our policy aims for Disability Confident are to:

  • engage and encourage employers to become more confident so they employ and retain disabled people
  • increase understanding of disability and the benefits of employing or retaining disabled people
  • increase the number of employers taking action to be Disability Confident
  • make a substantial contribution towards halving the disability employment gap