As someone involved with SCIL for many years, one thing characterises what we are, and that is that we don’t like to see grass growing under our feet. This particularly true of how we work with businesses, to help encourage them to see the value of Disabled People, both as customers and employees. Now we want to move the goalposts again…
But first: A brief history of our work with businesses: First came ‘partnership’ meetings:These meetings involved ‘support’ organisations and one or two big businesses. We all agreed what a jolly good idea it would be for all sizes of businesses to see the value of Disabled People. The trouble was we were preaching to the converted. The businesses that we wanted to get to, didn’t really want to get to us! After all, they were too busy trying to make money.
Then came ‘Barriers to Business’, SCIL organised a £20k conference in 2002 aimed at promoting ‘the business case’ to business. We got several businesses to say how great Disabled People were at improving their profits, we also got the Minister for Disabled People in. The conference was memorable for 2 things (1) a huge polystyrene graffiti wall, and (2) SCIL proves it can pull off these events. However, we still attracted more of ‘the converted’ than those that we wanted to convert.
Most recently… The Business Awards – This was built on the ‘if you can’t beat them’ principle. Businesses like being slapped on the back and receiving trophies. We reasoned that other businesses will look at the winners and say ‘we want to win that award next year’. Well, after three years the awards have been a very successful method of publicity for SCIL and sponsors loved them. But, we still really struggled to persuade businesses to get nominated.
Whilst all these events have been good for SCIl in some respects, it does feel like we have flogged a few dead horses along the way. So, where next – SCIL is not known for quitting…
We now have developed a plan to ‘mystery shop’ businesses and statutory services that Disabled People should have the same rights to access as everyone else. We want to develop an annual survey of how local businesses are treating Disabled People. We want to get Disabled People to visit these organisations incognito, and develop a way of assessing how well or bad these organisations are doing to include Disabled People. By publishing our findings we feel we might instil a mixture or fear and competition in them which will result in better outcomes for us as Disabled People.
Tell us what you think? We’d love to know. PS: It is ideas like this that show just how very different we are from the enemas of this world that are only interested in doing things that make them money – SCIL like taking risks and we will not be going away real soon… Take note.
This article was written by Ian Loynes – Chief Executive of SCIL.