The broadcaster has set itself a target of quadrupling the representation of disabled people on screen from 1.2% to 5% by 2017, according to a statement on its website.
Additional measures include a pan-BBC disability executive to champion the appointment of disabled talent and projects; the development of the BBC’s existing schemes to recruit and retain disabled staff; and the opening of even more opportunities for disabled people to work for the BBC
Jane Hatton, director at Evenbreak, a specialist job board run by disabled people for disabled people, tells Recruiter that this movement sends out a “strong message that disabled people form a significant and important part of mainstream society”.
“Disabled people have the same broad range of skills and talents and personalities as the rest of the population. By including disabled people in employment and programming, this will raise awareness and dispel some of the fear and ignorance that currently disadvantages disabled people,” she adds.
The new disability executive will be responsible for improving programming, commissioning, talent management and the portrayal of disabled people. This person will champion disabled talent and projects across the BBC, providing expertise and support to colleagues.
BBC director-general Tony Hall says it is “vital” the BBC reflects the public it serves.
“While the BBC has some good schemes in place, we must and can do significantly more. That’s why we want to quadruple on-screen representation, and open up many more opportunities for disabled people to work at the BBC,” he adds.
In addition, the broadcaster will be working in partnership with organisations such as the Shaw Trust, Leonard Cheshire Disability, Royal National Institute for Blind People (RNIB), Working Links and Remploy, to open up 150 roles to ‘non-media ’ disabled people in roles that support the business.