Disability Survey


Public Board



Report Title:

 Disability and Neurodiversity Survey Action Plan Report

Agenda Item:



Caroline Nwadu, Head of Culture and Inclusivity 

Lead Director:

 Dr Hein Scheffer, Director of Strategy, Culture and Education


SR1a: If we do not ensure our people are safe and their wellbeing prioritised, there is a risk that we will be unable to attract, retain and keep all our people safe and well


SR1b: If we do not ensure our leaders are developed and equipped, there is a risk that we will not be able to change our culture, and value, support, develop and grow our people

Equality Impact Assessment

No negative impact identified



Negative impact identified:



Sexual Orientation




Gender Reassignment








Pregnancy and Maternity


Marriage and civil partnership




The Trust Board is asked to consider the first results of the Disability survey and the first draft of the corresponding action plan. 

Previously considered by:

 Executive Leadership Team and People Committee


The purpose of this report is to provide the Trust Board with an overview of the recent Disability report, which includes the key considerations, and main headlines. The report also includes the first draft of each action plan, based on the recommendations in the report.

Executive Summary

We promised last year, following the completion of the BME survey, that we would conduct a further survey for our staff with disabilities and neurodiverse conditions. The aim of these surveys was to understand the lived experiences of colleagues within EEAST that consider themselves to be disabled.

The survey launched in January 2023 and conducted 1:1s and focus groups throughout February and March 2023. The survey concluded a number of key themes, many of which were in keeping with the results of the recent BME survey. Specifically, that more work was needed to educate our workforce on individual differences, support our managers to consistently apply policy or procedure, and provide improve mandatory training provision for all staff.

The Disability survey forms part of the ambition of the Trust to improve its Culture, making EEAST a great place to work, learn and volunteer, it is important that the content of the report is accepted as the baseline to improve from.

The Trust Executive have met with members of the Disability Support Network (DSN), and whilst some of the activity and poor behaviours clearly occurred before the current Executive team’s arrival, the CEO personally apologised to staff for their experiences and perceptions.  A zero tolerance for such poor behaviour was confirmed, and if repeated, appropriate and proportionate action would be taken.

The Disability slide deck includes the first draft of each action plan, based on the recommendations and these themes outlined above. The survey action plan will now form part of the EEAST inclusivity plan. The Inclusivity plan includes a number of actions which will be implemented to increase employee experience across EEAST and achieve greater diverse representation across the organisation.

At the Private Board meeting on the 12th April 2023, a decision was made to separate the Disability survey from the LGBT+ survey in terms of their publication and launch. 

Introduction/ Background

In December 2022, EEAST commissioned McKenzie LLP – a specialist Equality, Diversity and Inclusion consultancy - to undertake an external research and consultation project with all staff with disabilities and neurodiverse conditions employed within the Trust.

The research and consultation exercise included an online survey and one to one telephone interviews and was completed during January – March 2023.  

Disability and Neurodiversity Survey

The Disability and Neurodiversity survey had 233 / 330 surveys returned which equated to a 71% return rate.

Some key themes identified were:

  • Good disability related support and adjustments are provided at EEAST
  • Reasonable request for adjustments are made but not always implemented
  • Unreasonable expectations of the Trust are held by minority of the employees
  • Some EEAST policies & practices risk unlawful disability discrimination
  • Some EEAST managers are poorly trained in respect of disability and neurodiversity
  • There is inconsistent local practice within different part of EEAST

The Disability and Neurodiversity survey sets out 8 recommendations that we have incorporated in an action plan and will form part of the inclusivity plan.  These have also been included in the slide deck for review.

The Disability survey was presented to the DSN and all the Equality staff networks on the 25th of April to ensure they were fully briefed on the results. The networks were also asked to review the draft action plan to ensure these aligned with their expectations and suggestions.

Following the staff network briefings, the survey results will be published in the same way as the BME survey. This means they will be published in full (with redacted sensitive information) internally to all colleagues, as well as externally.

Key Issues/ Risks

Overall, the response rates for the Disability survey was good. However key themes run through all 3 surveys:

  • Inappropriate language being used
  • A lack of cultural awareness, ignorance pertaining to cultural differences
  • Inappropriate leadership behaviours by line managers
  • Possible direct and/or indirect discrimination in some of our policies

As these issues were publicised as part of the BME survey report release, there is an ongoing reputational risk to EEAST. These surveys were conducted proactively to understand the lived experiences of colleagues throughout EEAST, and the results demonstrate that some of the items identified in the BME survey are also experienced by other colleagues with other protected characteristics. This may create more of a negative public image about EEAST, which in turn, may create more press interest. We must also reflect that publication of these results (which remains the right thing to do) may also deter some prospective applicants from applying for roles with us, further perpetuating a lack of representation in our organisation.


The Trust Board may accept the results and draft action plan or reject.

The Disability survey’s action plan is a direct response to the recommendations made in the report. They will now form part of the Inclusivity plan. It should also be noted that a number of the actions already link into the Inclusivity work, which are already under way.  The Disability survey results, and action plan was also shared at the private board on the 12th April 2023.

Appendix 1 – Disability Survey Report

Appendix 2 – Full Survey Report



Appendix 1 - Disability Survey Report

Appendix 2 - Disability and Neurodiversity Consultation Exercise

Next Section: WRES and WDES Data Report