Level 1: Disability Confident Committed

Updated 28 November 2019

This guidance explains how to become a Disability Confident Committed employer at level 1 of the Disability Confident scheme.

Ministerial foreword

Thank you for taking this step on your Disability Confident journey. Disability Confident can help you recruit, retain and develop disabled people who will help your business to succeed. The Disability Confident badge will also show disabled people that you recognise the value they can bring to your business - putting you ahead in the search for talent.

Every business trying to stay ahead of their competitors should aim to take advantage of the huge amount of talent disabled people can bring. I say that as an employer myself, not just as a Minister. Before I became an MP, my own business benefited from the confidence to recruit disabled people, and the confidence, where necessary, to make often small changes to enable them to thrive at work.

Wherever there is a barrier, Government is absolutely committed to removing it. We want a system that works for everyone, including small businesses that are the backbone of our economy. That is why Disability Confident is so important. It was deliberately designed to be easy for small businesses to access at level 1 and 2, whilst being flexible enough to also help the very biggest businesses to improve.

With disabled employment at an all-time high we are heading in the right direction, but we are ambitious to do more. With your help we can ensure that every disabled person has the opportunity to succeed at work and every business has the opportunity to prosper.

Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work


Disability Confident is creating a movement of change, encouraging employers to think differently about disability and take action to improve how they recruit, retain and develop disabled people. Being Disability Confident is a unique opportunity to lead the way in your community, and you might just discover someone your business cannot do without.

It was developed by employers and disabled people’s representatives to make it rigorous but easily accessible – particularly for smaller businesses. The scheme is voluntary and access to the guidance, self-assessments and resources is completely free.

The 3 levels are designed to support you on your Disability Confident journey. The 3 levels are:

  • Disability Confident Committed employer (Level 1)
  • Disability Confident Employer (Level 2)
  • Disability Confident leader (Level 3)

You must complete each level before moving on to the next.

Accreditation for a Disability Confident Committed employer lasts for 3 years. If during that period, you have progressed to a higher level then the 3-year period will restart at the new level. If you reach the end of the 3-year period without progressing, you will be able to renew your accreditation.

Your journey starts with:

  • reading this pack
  • providing your contact details on our website
  • signing up to the Disability Confident commitments
  • identifying at least one action that you will do
  • Once you have read this guidance, sign up to become Disability Confident Committed

See how your business can benefit from being Disability Confident (video).

Getting started

To help you progress through the Disability Confident scheme we have provided a wide range of guidance and support. We have also added case studies and videos to bring the Disability Confident journey to life.

We will continually add to and update the resources behind them. We are always interested in material employers have found helpful in their own Disability Confident journey.

More information

Remploy - A practical guide for employers on the most common disabilities and long-term conditions.

Mencap Good for Business - The benefits of employing a people with a learning disability.

Acas UK Workplace experts (video)

Acas Getting more disabled people into work

The Recruitment Industry Disability Initiative (RIDI) (video). We help recruiters and employers to become disability confident and offer more job opportunities to people with disabilities.

Chartwells Independent (video) have recruited, trained and supported Steven, who has autism. He has become a highly regarded member of the catering team at Old Swinford Hospital School in Stourbridge.

The Disability Confident commitments

To become a Disability Confident Committed employer and start your Disability Confident journey, you will need to consider the 5 commitments below and then sign up on the Disability Confident registration page

In addition, you will also commit to carry out at least one activity from the 9 in the additional list that will make a difference to disabled people. You should deliver on these commitments over the period of your accreditation.

1. Ensure your recruitment process is inclusive and accessible


  • ensuring against discrimination
  • making job adverts accessible
  • providing information in accessible formats (for example, large print)
  • accepting applications in alternative formats (for example, electronically)

More information

Recruitment and disabled people

Accessible communication formats

Recruitment – asking questions about disability and health

Access to Work guide for employers

2. Communicate and promote vacancies


  • advertising vacancies through a range of channels, and use your Disability Confident badge to make sure potential applicants know you are an inclusive employer
  • getting advice and support from Jobcentre Plus, Work and Health Programme providers, (If you’re in Scotland contact Fair Start Scotland) recruiters and/or your local disabled people’s user led organisations (DPULOs)
  • reviewing current recruitment processes

More information

Range of communication channels to reach disabled people

What is a disabled people’s user led organisations (video)

3. Offer an interview to disabled people

Encourage applications by offering an interview to an applicant who declares they have a disability.

This does not mean that all disabled people are entitled to an interview. They must meet the minimum criteria (for example, sometimes shown as desirable skills) for a job as defined by the employer.

The aim of this commitment is to encourage positive action, encouraging disabled people to apply for jobs and provide an opportunity to demonstrate their skills, talent and abilities at the interview stage.

An employer can take steps to help or encourage certain groups of people with different needs, or who are disadvantaged in some way, to access work or training. Positive Action is lawful under the Equality Act.

It is important to note that there may be occasions where it is not practicable or appropriate to interview all disabled people that meet the minimum criteria for the job. For example: in certain recruitment situations such as high number of applications, seasonal and high-peak times, the employer may wish to limit the overall numbers of interviews offered to both disabled people and non-disabled people.

In these circumstances the employer could select the disabled candidates who best meet the minimum criteria for the job rather than all of those that meet the minimum criteria, as they would do for non-disabled applicants.

Employing disabled people and people with health conditions

Positive Action - What do I need to know

4. Anticipate and provide reasonable adjustments as required

Employers have a duty under the Equality Act 2010 to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ in the workplace where a disabled person would otherwise be put at a substantial disadvantage compared with their colleagues.

Whether or not an adjustment has to be made depends on how ‘reasonable’ it is - and that’s something that will hinge on the individual circumstances of each case, and the resources of the employer. What is seen as reasonable for a large multi-national company might not be seen as reasonable for a very small employer.

Please note this is general advice only and cannot by its nature deal with all circumstances. It is always best to seek your own, independent legal advice if you are unsure of your obligations in specific circumstances.



Making reasonable adjustments (such as changes to working patterns, adaptations to premises or equipment and provision of support packages) will ensure disabled workers are not disadvantaged when applying for and doing their jobs. This includes contract workers, trainees, apprentices and business partners.

Many adjustments are straightforward and easy to carry out - particularly if there’s been a little lateral thinking about how an accommodation can be reached. Often these adjustments will cost nothing or very little.

More information

EHRC guidance Employing people: workplace adjustments

Reasonable adjustments are often straightforward (Acas guide)

5. Support any existing employee who acquires a disability or long term health condition, enabling them to stay in work


Retaining an employee who has become disabled, thus keeping their valuable skills and experience and saving on the cost of recruiting a replacement. More information

Access to Work guide for employers

CIPD and MIND Supporting mental health at work

Mind - Mental Health at Work gateway

Business in the Community Mental Health Toolkit for employers

Musculoskeletal health in the work place tool kit

EY (video) talk about their approach to recruiting talented disabled people and how they support staff who acquired a disability during their career.

IMG Productions (IMG) (video) is one of the world’s leading television production companies. Their journey to becoming Disability Confident began when producer Simon Birri acquired a disability following a brain aneurysm.

Activity that will make a difference for disabled people

To become Disability Confident Committed, you must also commit to offering disabled people at least one of the following. Tick each of the activities, so that you have a record of what you have committed to.

1. Work experience

This is usually a fixed period of time that a person spends with your business, when they can learn about working life and the working environment.

More information

Employer guides to work experience

Minimum wage: work experience and internships

2. Work trials

This is a way of trying out a potential employee before offering them a job. This can be informal or can be by agreement with Jobcentre Plus. If this is agreed with Jobcentre Plus, an employer can offer a work trial if the job it may lead to is for 16 hours or more a week and lasts for at least 13 weeks. The work trial can last for up to 30 days.

More information

Jobcentre Plus help for recruiters: work trials

Jobcentre Plus offers a range of recruitment services that can help you as an employer.

More information

Jobcentre Plus help for recruiters

Recruiting disabled people

4. Apprenticeships

These are for new and current employees. They combine working with studying for a work-based qualification. If your business is based in England, you may get a grant or funding to employ an apprentice.

More information


Employ an apprentice

5. Job shadowing opportunities

These positions:

  • offer potential employees experience of a workplace and occupational skills that are different from what they are used to
  • are usually limited to observation only, are non-paid and don’t give direct work experience, responsibility or skills
  • ideally last between half a day and 2 days

More information

What is job shadowing?

6. Traineeships

These help young people who want to get an apprenticeship or job but don’t yet have the right skills or experience.

More information


Traineeships: employers

This is a period of paid work experience lasting between 1 and 4 months, usually taking place during the summer. A supported internship is aimed at disabled people still in education who are seeking work experience.

More information

Advertise an internship

Leonard Cheshire Change100

Providing quality internships: guidance for employers

8. Student placements

These are university or college qualifications. They are usually for a set period of time, between 4 to 6 months.

9. Sector-based work academy placements

These help you fill vacancies more effectively. They are available through Jobcentre Plus. They provide sector-based training, work experience and a guaranteed job interview.

More information

Sector-based work academies: employer guide

Recruiting disabled people

What happens next?

When you have read this pack and agreed to the commitments and at least one action from the activities list, you will need to sign up as a Disability Confident Committed employer on our website. You need to do this before you can move on to the next stage. You will be asked to:

  • provide your contact details
  • sign up to the Disability Confident commitments
  • identify at least one action that you will commit to do

In return we will send you:

  • a confirmation email with links to a welcome pack and additional resources
  • a certificate in recognition of your achievement as a Disability Confident Committed employer
  • a Disability Confident Committed badge that you can use in your own business stationery, social media and communications for 3 years
  • information on taking the next step to become a Disability Confident Employer.

As a Disability Confident Committed employer we will include your business name, town, postcode and DC status in a list of all businesses signed-up to the scheme on our website.

Disability Confident Branding Guidelines:

You can find a copy of the Disability Confident branding guidelines on the DC website.

If you require a copy of your DC badge in a different format please email the Disability Confident Team

Definition of disability

Someone is disabled under the Equality Act 2010 if they have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. This means that, in general, the:

  • person must have an impairment that is either physical or mental
  • impairment must have adverse effects that are substantial
  • substantial adverse effects must be long-term, generally taken to mean for longer than 12 months
  • long-term substantial adverse effects must be effects on normal day-to-day activities, such as a breathing condition that impedes walking or moving around or a mental health condition that impedes interacting with other people. A condition that impeded participation in high level competitive sport, or that prevented playing a musical instrument to concert level performance but that still allowed normal day to day activities would generally not be seen as a disability under the Equality Act.

Guidance for employers about their responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010

Long-term health conditions

Examples of long-term conditions include:

  • high blood pressure
  • depression
  • dementia
  • arthritis

Long-term conditions can affect many parts of a person’s life, from their ability to work and have relationships, to their housing needs and educational attainment.

Mental health conditions

A mental health condition is considered a disability if it has a long-term effect on your normal day-to-day activity. This is defined under the Equality Act 2010.

A condition is ‘long-term’ if it lasts, or is likely to last, 12 months.

‘Normal day-to-day activity’ is defined as something you do regularly in a normal day, such as using a computer, working set times or interacting with people.

If a mental health condition means they are disabled, they can get support at work from their employer. There are many different types of mental health condition, including:

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • bipolar disorder
  • obsessive compulsive disorder
  • schizophrenia
  • self-harm

What isn’t counted as a disability?

See guidance on conditions that aren’t covered by the disability definition, for example addiction to non-prescribed drugs or alcohol.