Workforce Disability Equality Standard

What is the Workforce Disability Equality Standard (WDES)?

  • The Workforce Disability Equality Standard (WDES) is a data-based standard that uses a series of measures (Metrics) to help improve the experiences of Disabled staff in the NHS.
  • The ten evidence-based Metrics will enable NHS organisations to compare the reported outcomes and experiences of Disabled with non-disabled staff.
  • The WDES is mandated by the NHS Standard Contract.
  • NHS Trusts and Foundation Trusts will be required to publish their results and develop action plans to address the differences highlighted by the Metrics with the aim of improving workforce disability equality.
  • First reports must be published by 1 August 2019 and based on the data from the 2018/19 financial year.

What is the purpose of the WDES?

  • Results of the annual NHS staff survey show that Disabled staff consistently report higher levels of bullying and harassment and less satisfaction with appraisals and career development opportunities. The purpose of the WDES is to improve the experience of Disabled staff working in, and seeking employment in, the NHS.
  • The WDES mandates all NHS Trusts and Foundation Trusts to publish the results of their Metrics, together with an action plan, outlining the steps the organisation will take to improve the experiences of Disabled staff.

Which NHS organisations does the WDES apply to?

  • The WDES applies to all NHS Trusts and Foundation Trusts from April 2019.
  • It does not apply to the independent sector during the first two years of implementation.
  • It is a voluntary standard for arm’s-length bodies (ALBs).
  • CCG engagement about the implementation of the WDES will start in 2019.

You can read more about the WDES on NHS England website.

Equality & Diversity