Parliament supports a range of internships and a network for disabled people standing for election and working as staff.
In the video above Dame Anne Begg shares her experiences of disability in Parliament. More videos can also be found on the Parliament YouTube channel:
House of Commons Diversity and Inclusion Scheme
Access and inclusion is a priority area under the Commons Diversity and Inclusion Scheme, which aims to make Parliament accessible to disabled Members of Parliament, staff and visitors. The scheme was launched in March 2012, where these videos were first shown.
Speaker’s Parliamentary Placement Scheme
This Scheme offers paid internships in a range of Parliamentary roles to individuals from diverse backgrounds and helps make access to Parliament representative of the UK population.
After a successful first year, the Scheme has been expanded following funding from the Government Equalities Office for up to 3 disabled interns.
Access to Elected Office Fund
The Government launched the Access to Elected Office Fund for disabled people in July 2012. This is a £2.6 million fund designed to help disabled people overcome barriers to becoming councillors, police and crime commissioners, or Members of Parliament, and is part of the Government’s Access to Elected Office Strategy.
This strategy aims to tackle the currently low levels of disabled people in public life. The fund will provide individual grants to disabled people who want to be selected as candidates for an election, or who are standing for election. These grants will meet additional support needs which arise as a result of their disability, thereby helping to eliminate barriers which are not faced by non-disabled people in the selection and campaign processes.
Workplace equality networks
All this work is supported by ParliAble, the workplace equality network in Parliament for disability. This network is open to all parliamentary pass holders, and falls under the support, talent management and career progression area of the diversity and inclusion scheme. ParliAble’s mission statement is “to increase awareness and appreciation of disability issues on the Parliamentary estate, and to provide a platform where disabled people can find support, where disability equality objectives can be progressed”.