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Currently, based on the data we have collected from our people at the time of onboarding – only 3.9% of our people have disclosed that they have a disability. But with disabled people accounting for 24% of New Zealand’s population, we know that this number is likely to be significantly higher.

Disability takes many forms – some are visible and many are hidden. Some people are disabled by society1  but may not identify as having a disability. We have an on-going focus on creating an inclusive and enabling environment for all disabled people, through removing barriers to employment and ensuring that our practices, processes and tools enable all people who work here to thrive.

“Nothing about us without us”

This is the principle that we work to when focusing on work that supports our people with disabilities. This means that we will work actively and collaboratively with representatives of the disabled community – through the Diversability Network, to develop, review and implement our actions that enable the disabled community at Inland Revenue.

Our focus for 2023/24

Reasonable Accommodation

We currently progressing a different approach to Reasonable Accommodations. A networked team including members of our Diversability Network and unions are developing a Reasonable Accommodation Policy to replace existing guidelines. Reasonable accommodation assists our disabled people and their leaders to make necessary and appropriate modifications to work on an equitable basis with others, based on individual needs.

These modifications could be in relation to tools, equipment, flexible working or something else.

The focus of this policy is on creating an enabling environment where the individual needs are supported if the request is ‘reasonable’. Once this policy is finalised, it will be supported by guidance relating to recruitment and for leaders to support decision–making.

Accessibility Tick

This year we will explore the benefits of working in partnership with a programme like the Accessibility Tick.

Accessibility Tick is a pan-disability social enterprise that helps New Zealand organisations become more accessible and inclusive of disabled and neurodiverse people. This would involve reviewing our processes, practices and policies including recruitment and selection, communications, the physical environment and career development to become more inclusive, followed by an annual review.

This exploration will inform the right next steps and if this is the right approach to work towards.

Other organisations who provide these types of services will be considered through this exploration, and through working with our Diversability Network representatives.

Our properties

Our property programme is committed to ensuring the voices of our disabled community are included across our property initiatives. This is generally through active involvement in Business Engagement Groups (BEG) for each specific property project. Acknowledging that individual experiences are unique as well as the specific features of each project and site – this approach allows actions to be tailored based on the specific needs of the project.

Digital Accessibility

Digital Accessibility remains an on-going focus for Inland Revenue. It ensures that everyone including people with disabilities can access and use digital content. As Inland Revenue is becoming increasingly dependent on digital tools – ensuring these continue to be accessible for all of our people is a priority.

Digital Accessibility at Inland Revenue is led out of the Digital Accessibility Working Group (DAWG), however accountability and responsibility is on all business groups and individuals to ensure that this is front of mind when procuring tools, services or learning.

We will be continuing to provide advice and support across the organisation, and work with external partners to ensure that accessibility requirements are met.

2024 Te Taunaki Public Service Census and our employee data

Our data about our disabled employees is limited. We gather information about our new starters, including if they self-identify as having a disability however this information is not compulsory. While we continue to think about how we might improve our internal data about diversity, we are able to leverage Te Taunaki Public Service Census data to assist insights about representation of disability. As this survey is confidential, it is likely to have an increased uptake, and therefore provide us with more robust data.

We will encourage all our people to complete the survey, however we will work closely with our Diversability Network to explain how the data will be used, and encourage the disabled community to share their information and experiences in a way that protects their anonymity.

We will continue to leverage our insights from our People Experience Pulse (PXP) surveys and wider listening programme (including insights from external candidates) to inform how our diverse groups, including our disabled people experience, recruitment and employment.

The role of leaders

We will be working to provide guidance for leaders to navigate many of the policies and people processes, with a lens on leading people with disabilities. The key thing all leaders can do – is get to know their people. Be open and supportive and seek to understand what their people need from them in order to achieve in their role.

Some people may not be comfortable discussing disabilities or impairments, and that’s okay. Many people may have experienced discrimination in the past that could make them hesitant to speak openly about their needs.

Leader should work to create an open and honest environment, where people feel safe to share who they are. This can sometimes take time.

Leaders need to make sure that they factor physical and digital accessibility needs into everything that they do – such as meetings, types of work and the tools that are used to do the work.

1Social Model of Disability Office for Disability Issues: Definitions, concepts, and approaches 

Last updated: 04 Jan 2024
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