Disability Action Plans - why your organisation needs one

Disability Action Plans - why your organisation needs one

It's important to have a diverse workforce and that includes people with disability. A Disability Action Plan (DAP) sets out how your organisation will remove discrimination against people with disability and protect the rights of your employees or members.

Key points

  • Disability Action Plans set out how organisations work towards inclusion
  • All businesses, volunteer organisations, Government departments and not-for-profits can have a Disability Action Plan
  • There are public resources for creating plans, but it is important to include anyone involved in your organisation who has a disability

Why have a Disability Action Plan?

All of the barriers faced by people with disability are created by society.

To achieve equality in society, businesses and organisations play a big role in changing community attitudes to remove these barriers.

Under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992, employers and businesses are actually required to reduce barriers to work and community access for people with disability.

Having a DAP is a way to make sure you are working towards change as it sets out specific actions you will take.

It is a plan for how your organisation will be accessible and inclusive and works alongside other business plans you have.

The more organisations that have a DAP and follow them, the more job opportunities or other roles there will be for people with disability.

There will also be more people with disability promoted to the leadership roles they deserve and organisations will become more diverse.

Backing people with disability in leadership roles shows others in the community what can and should be achieved and encourages further change across society.

With one in five Australians living with disability, having diversity in your organisation reflects the diversity of the community and brings a range of benefits. These benefits include everything from connecting with clients or customers better to having a wider range of ideas offered by employees.

Developing an action plan is the start of working towards this improved way of doing business and supporting employees, volunteers or clients.

What should a Disability Action Plan include?

A plan should address all the factors of your organisation that can cause barriers to access or inclusion, such as:

  • Physical access to your workplaces - from the front door to the bathroom
  • Recruitment processes and attitudes
  • Employment policies and practices - in particular around reasonable adjustments for employees
  • How promotion decisions are made
  • Communications within your organisation and with the community
  • Interactions with customers and clients
  • Consultation or feedback processes

The plan needs to have actions for how you will remove barriers and timelines for when actions will be completed, as well as a date for reviewing the plan.

Including any budget and resources you might need to complete the actions can also be important, so that each person involved in making the changes has the money and ability to do it.

Who should be involved in a Disability Action Plan?

It’s important for as many organisations to develop an action plan as possible, so that community wide change can happen as quickly as possible.

This means DAPs should be used by Government departments, for profit and not for profit businesses, volunteer groups and any other organisations - such as community or sporting associations.

While business planning is usually done at a management level, it is important that you use consultation of a broader group of people in creating your DAP.

Including any employees or clients with a disability in this consultation will ensure the plan achieves the change it is designed for.

Every person with disability is different and each individual will have a different lived experience of disability.

Therefore, having the widest range of people with disability involved in your consultation as possible will mean the best practices are included in your plan.

If you don’t know of any employees or clients of your business with a disability you can send out communication asking whether any would like to be involved in the planning process. There might be some people with disability that you were unaware of who would like to contribute, or employees with family members and friends with disability who have experience in what practices work.

If there is no one who comes forward at all you can contact an advisory group of local community members with disability.

An advisory group can suggest ways for your organisation to improve and advise on how effective your DAP will be.

Once your DAP has been written, reviewed and finalised, share it with everyone in your organisation in a way that is accessible so they can understand what you’re working towards.

More information

The Australian Human Rights Commission has more information and resources for organisations looking to create a Disability Action Plan.

This includes a guide to forming the plan and a register of completed DAPs sent in to the Commission by organisations across Australia, that can be used as examples.

You can send your organisation’s DAP to the Commission to be included on the register by emailing [email protected].

The Commission recommends you upload the plan to your website so it is publicly available and then send the webpage link, rather than sending the full document.

How does your organisation address working towards equality? Tell us in the comments below.

Related content:
Reasonable adjustments in the workplace
Why flexible workplaces are important for people with disability
Your rights as a person with disability

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