Bascule Disability Training

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Bascule Disability Training's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Bascule Disability Training is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Chris Jay, Managing Director
Building bridges between people
with disabilities and business
Born with cerebral palsy, Chris Jay has been a wheelchair user
for over 20 years and is an experienced training facilitator,
public speaker, guest spokesperson and writer on the
topic of disability awareness. As founder of Bascule Disability
Awareness Training, he explains the many benefits of inclusivity
and why the best training is always user-led. He believes that
businesses, alongside statutory and educational organisations,
should consider awareness training to expand their market,
improve customer service and increase staff retention.
At Bascule, we believe that disability awareness training should be user-led – the training
we provide is developed and facilitated by people who have disabilities themselves.
This means we can shape what we offer with our unique personal experiences and
insight into disability, thus providing authentic, tailored training packages for all
types of business. It is our intention to raise awareness and consequently benefit
organisations and their workforces, working towards an overall positive impact for
all areas of industry; a survey found that 53 per cent of people with disabilities have
experienced bullying or harassment at work because of their impairments.
We empower workforces by providing them with a firmer understanding of all
areas of disability. This means covering issues from customer service, etiquette and
communication to the correct use of language, legislation and the development of
inclusive business environments.
By deploying a targeted training programme, we aim to raise the confidence of any
staff team by removing any barriers that may exist. These usually arise because of a
lack of training, understanding or knowledge.
»Managing Director: Chris Jay
»Incorporated in 2018
»Based in Southampton
»Services: Disability awareness
»The word “bascule” is a form
of bridge – we chose it for our
name because of the bridges
we build between people with
disabilities and businesses
Bascule Disability
Highlighting best practice
Inclusivity is profitable
If any business owner was told that
they are failing to engage with 20 per
cent of their potential customer base,
they would likely stop in their tracks to
learn more. It may come as a shock to
some, but a vast majority of companies
simply don’t engage with this portion
of the market – and the cost of this
failure is an estimated £1.8 billion a
month for UK businesses alone.
The customer base in question is, of
course, people with disabilities.
This vast number of British consumers
accounts for an enormous segment of
our population, yet, despite the power
of the “purple pound”, the term used
for the spending power of people
with disabilities and their families,
businesses in the UK are still failing
to see the many business benefits
Many business owners already
perceive themselves as “inclusive”
organisations, given that they currently
follow and adhere to all the correct
legislation. Unfortunately, this isn’t
enough. You can create and develop
the most inclusive environments in the
entire world, but these adjustments
are worthless if the people that you
employ lack an inclusive mindset.
If you take into consideration the
results of a study performed by
Scope, the national disability charity,
it becomes clear that understanding
and attitudes towards disability are
not as positive as we might imagine.
The survey found that as many as two
thirds of the British public admitted to
feeling “uncomfortable” when talking
to disabled people and felt “awkward”
about seeming patronising or saying
the wrong thing.
It has to be considered how this
discomfort or awkwardness may
impact the way in which a workforce
may communicate, and also how it
could potentially affect a business’s
reputation, staff attraction and
employee retention.
The fact is, a huge number of
businesses simply aren’t aware of
the many benefits that inclusivity
could bring, and how it can be
achieved. Adjusting is easier than
you would imagine, however – and
by simply changing staff perceptions
through education and increased
awareness, most businesses will see
Developing awareness in
the workplace at Coutts
53 per cent of
people with
bullying or
harassment at
work because
of their
The impact of awareness
When awareness is fostered and
developed through our training
programmes, it provides workforces
with a greater sense of empathy,
especially when it comes to the needs
of other people. This will naturally
enable businesses to appeal to a wider
customer base and a larger pool of
talented employees.
In total, 12 million people in Britain
have disabilities. A huge number of
these are hidden – only 8 per cent
are wheelchair users. Even if an
SME employs as few as ten people,
there is a strong possibility that the
company already employs someone
with a disability without knowing.
The reason for this could well be that
staff don’t feel comfortable disclosing
their disability in the current workplace
environment. If an inclusive workplace
was to be developed, however,
these staff members, and the wider
workforce, would benefit hugely.
When considering that 2 per cent of
the working age population, which is
roughly 1.3 million people, becomes
disabled every year, and that 78
per cent of disabled people acquire
their impairment aged 16 or older,
it becomes impossible to think that
disability will never affect a business.
Providing a workplace or business
with an open, empathetic approach
towards disability will increase the
likelihood of people with disabilities
remaining with the company. If they
don’t, the loss of output and the
logistics of the recruitment process
can cause serious administrative and
financial concerns, costing as much
as £30,000 in many cases. Disabled
employees will also recognise that
they have a better opportunity to
fulfil their potential while having a
closer understanding of their goals
and aspirations, all of which will
massively increase both productivity
and morale.
Any client-facing workforce needs
disability awareness training if
they are to improve their ability to
communicate to a wider audience. It
will boost their level of understanding
and also their confidence in
communicating. Once an organisation
develops a reputation of being an
inclusive service provider or business,
interest in the brand and customer
loyalty will be enhanced within a
previously inaccessible portion of their
customer base.
Cultivate your public image
When a business becomes openly
inclusive, it’s able to proudly promote
its significant contribution to reducing
the numbers of unemployment for
people with disabilities in the UK. This
allows it to openly reap the rewards of
publicity when declaring its dedication
to becoming and remaining a fully
inclusive organisation.
Although we were only recently
incorporated, we hope to continue
bringing our experience and user-led
awareness and inclusivity training to
organisations across the country.
We hope to
bringing our
and inclusivity
training to
all across the
Chris delivering user-led

This article was sponsored by Bascule Disability Training. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy