Scope seeks disabled director to lead change

Scope has advertised for a disabled executive director to lead its strategy of improving diversity. It marks the first major step towards its goal of becoming more representative of the people it serves.

The charity, which came under fire when a survey revealed that only 3.1 per cent of its employees were disabled, does not have any disabled senior managers. But chief executive Tony Manwaring promised to correct this when he joined in February, and is now launching an initiative called Diversity Works to increase equality of opportunity for disabled people within its own workforce and in the labour market generally.

The newly-created post of director of diversity and corporate planning will attract a salary of up to £70,000, and whoever takes up the post will head Diversity Works, taking combined responsibility for human resources and diversity planning.

"This is a serious programme to change the culture and operation of the organisation so that we can become a model of equality and earn the leverage and credibility to effect change elsewhere," said Manwaring. "We can't assume it will be easy, but there is real support to see this succeed.

"Our disabled staff have been very much involved, and many have said that they feel pleased and proud about these developments."

Andy Rickell, director of the British Council of Disabled People, said: "It is really positive that Scope is taking this step. It is new ground for them and it will certainly be a learning process."

But another disability campaigner branded Scope's decision to recruit a disabled person as "a drop in the ocean".

"I think they will employ someone with whom they feel comfortable, and not someone who will challenge the way the organisation works," said Johnny Crescendo, a member of the Disabled People's Direct Action Network.

Scope insists this is not the case. "It is absolutely true that more needs to be done, but it is important that we change in a sustainable, planned and organised way," said Manwaring. "We are in it for the long haul. We want someone who can challenge bad practice."

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