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One in four TV roles are closed off to people with physical difficulties, due to inaccessible offices, a lack of accessible toilets and limited training of employers in how to forge an inclusive workplace, a landmark study has revealed.

In Channel 4/Amazon Prime Video’s Industry Access survey, which collated individual responses from 105 organisations, 25% of offices operated by broadcasters, streamers and indies are “not entirely located on the ground floor, step-free, or with access via a lift”.

On top of this, 25% lack a functioning accessible toilet, with a further 15% unsure if they had one. Among micro-sized companies (one to two employees) this rises to a third, and for large companies (250+ staff) this drops to 7%.

The report extrapolates this to conclude that effectively, a quarter of roles available in the TV industry automatically exclude disabled people with physical needs. The exception is where the roles are 100% remote, but C4 and Amazon warn that this in turn could be a form of exclusion if the rest of the team is primarily office-based.

Disabled-led organisations represented 24% of respondents and 59% of all companies spoken to employed 19 employees or fewer.

In yesterday’s budget, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced a voluntary Universal Support employment scheme for disabled people, which will invest up to £4,000 to help get them into work. The government is also to publish a White Paper on reforming disability benefits.

Meanwhile, less than half of companies have visual fire alarms and only 42% confirmed they provide Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (Peeps).

Less than half – 47% - said they “always” ask visitors about access requirements, with 22% saying they did “not usually” ask. The authors suggest further interrogation on this, given that it means that at least one out of every two times a disabled person visits a TV workplace, the onus is on them to share their access requirements and ask for adjustments.

The report notes that among disabled-led organisations, the proportion who ask was higher at 56%, and among those companies that had held dedicated inclusion training for senior leaders within the past six months, it stood at 76%.

While just over one-third training their reception and facilities staff in disability inclusion, the survey indicated some failings in the understanding of employment law.

In recruitment, 17% of respondents believed they can ask candidates during the application and interview process about how their health and impairments may affect their ability to do their job, rising to 23% of micro- and small-sized companies. Such questions are against the law.

Just 26% knew that it is not unlawful discrimination to treat a disabled person more favourably in certain circumstances.

In terms of talent management, 84% said they expect to pay for adjustments for disabled employees, though only 26% knew that they can get help from government or social disability benefits to achieve this.

Outside of disabled-led organisations, only a third talk to new employees about access and adjustment needs as standard.

The report also identified room for improvement in training staff in accessing and liaising with disabled employees. Some 46% had no dedicated staff member responsible for this, but among the 25 organisations that had undertaken senior leadership disability inclusion training in the past six months, this fell to 16%.

The report found little indication employers are proactively progressing or nurturing disabled talent. Opportunities such as mentoring, networking or training are offered at best only 50% of the time.

C4 chief content officer Ian Katz said that while the results make "difficult reading", it offered "a benchmark and a starting point that will help us as broadcasters and programme-makers focus on where change is needed and where we can establish best practice".

The report includes a three-step action plan for individual organisations to implement over the next six months.

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