Workforce Disability Equality Scheme

The Workforce Disability Equality Standard (WDES) is a set of ten specific indicators (metrics) that enable NHS organisations to compare the experiences of disabled and non-disabled staff. NHS organisations use the metric data and local data to develop a local action plan and enable them to demonstrate progress against the indicators of disability equality.
The WDES was commissioned by the Equality and Diversity Council (EDC) and developed through a pilot and extensive engagement with NHS Trusts and key stakeholders. It is mandated through the NHS Standard Contract and was restricted to NHS Trusts and Foundation Trusts for the first two years of implementation.

WDES Performance Report 2020

To support performance and improvement in equality, diversity and inclusion, Whittington Health and other NHS organisations have been required to report on the ten indicators of the Workforce Disability Equality Standard (WDES) since 2019.  The first WDES Performance Report was compiled that year and covered data from the 2018-19 financial year. The 2020 Performance Report covered data for 2019-20.
The data for the ten WDES indicators is taken from our electronic staff record (ESR) system, with some indicators drawing on data from the annual staff survey and some from other data sources. As a backdrop to the data below, comparisons with staff survey data suggest some staff are not recording their disability on the ESR system, however a concerted effort has been made to encourage staff to update their data.

Indicator 1: Profile - disability at different bands
Two percent of staff recorded having a disability on ESR, while 50% recorded having no disability and 48% did not disclose.
Indicator 2: Likelihood of being appointed
Non-disabled staff were 0.96 times more likely to be appointed to a role than staff with a disability. This represented an improvement over 2019 when the corresponding figure was 1.24.
Indicator 3: Likelihood of entering formal capability process
There were no staff with disclosed disabilities that entered into a formal capability process.  This was an improvement over 2019 when staff with a disability were 1.74 times more likely to enter into a formal disciplinary process than staff without disabilities.
Indicator 4: Percentage of staff experiencing harassment and bullying from: patients & public, managers or colleagues

                                                                  Staff with disability          Staff without disability    

  • Patients and public           33.4%                                           31.3% 
  • Managers                               24.1%                                           16.3%
  • Colleagues                             32.9%                                           23.5%

The 2020 figures showed a reduction in harassment and bullying experienced by staff with disabilities from patients and the public and managers over 2019, while the figure for colleagues showed an increase. In addition, the gap between the two groups decreased in the two categories other than 'colleagues', which increased.   

Indicator 5: Percentage of staff believing there are equal opportunities for career development
  • Staff with disability           72.1%
  • Staff without disability    78.3%
The 2020 figures showed an increase in the percentage of staff with disabilities believing there are equal opportunities for career development over the figures for 2019. In addition, the gap between the two groups decreased.     
Indicator 6: Experience of feeling pressure from manager to work when not well
  • Staff with disability            33.5%
  • Staff without disability     22.0%
The 2020 figure for staff with disability showed an increase in the percentage of staff who felt pressure from their manager to work while unwell over the figure for 2019, while the figure for staff without a disability decreased. The gap between the experiences of the two staff groups also increased.
Indicator 7: Percentage of staff saying they are satisfied with the extent to which the Trust values their work
  • Staff with disability             39.3%
  • Staff without disability      51.6%
Both staff groups, those with and those without disability, recorded increases in 2020 over the 2019 figures, however the gap between the two staff groups increased slightly. 
Indicator 8: Percentage of staff saying employer made reasonable adjustments
The percentage of those saying their employer made reasonable adjustments increased from 62.5% in 2019 to 68.1% in 2020.
Indicator 9a: NHS Staff Survey and relative engagement scores 
  • Staff with disability               6.7%
  • Staff without disability        7.2%
Both staff groups recorded a slight increase in their engagement scores over the previous year, while the gap between the two remained the same.
Indicator 10
Indicator 9b: Has the Trust taken action to facilitate the voices of staff with disabilities in your organisation to be heard? Yes or No?
The response to this question was 'No'. Staff later created a staff engagement network for colleagues with disabilities, with the support of the Trust. The 'WhitAbility' network has now met (virtually) a number of times.    

Indicator 10: Relative level of Board representation
Board figures show an over-representation of both people with disabilities (11%) and people without disabilities (38%) when compared to Trust workforce figures, which likely reflects staff underreporting their disabilities on ESR. 


Page last updated: 02 Nov 2020
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