The Association of
Disabled Professionals

Drawing on the expertise of disabled professionals to improve the educational and employment opportunities of disabled people

Research Projects

Project 1

Why are 48,000 disabled people managed out of work each year?

This project will start to address the knowledge gap, in retaining disabled people in the labour market. Given the large numbers of disabled people being managed out of work, it will contribute to understanding:

a) a critical and under-researched issue in relation to disability and employment;
b) why the disability employment gap remains so large – 30% between the employment rate for
disabled people (51.5%) and non-disabled people (81.7%) – in the final quarter of 2018
(NAO, 2019), an issue the All Party Parliamentary Group on Disability has also worked on ;
c) where the legislation (Equality Act 2010) is currently falling down;
d) how the Equality Act 2010 can be better implemented and enforced;
e) what employers can and are doing to retain talented disabled employees; and
f) what disabled employees can do to retain their employment, for instance, through accessing new disability resources (web based – static and interactive platforms), networks of disabled people (who have been through similar experiences), and advisers, who can advise both employers and employees.

The study also ties in well with the UK Government’s agenda to tackle the disability employment gap. Specifically, the research will contribute to policy areas set out in the Government’s 2017 paper (referenced in the research proposal).

This includes, but is not limited to:

i. advice and support for employers of all sizes, including the Civil Service, in relation to the retention of disabled employees;
ii. Occupational Health Services;
iii. the creation of healthy workplaces, where all employees can thrive; iv. ensuring the right
incentives and expectations are in place for employers; and
v. improvements to Access to Work 

The research was  published  on 22 June 2022 .  

The research can be downloaded here Ableism and the Labour Market

You can listen to the podcast below:

Project 2

Labour and Livelihoods of Disabled People in Britain, c. 1970-2015

A researcher very kindly wrote the history of ADP 1971 – 2000 . ADP trustees decided to donate all the papers to the British Library.

What kinds of working lives have been possible for disabled people in contemporary Britain? Spanning an estimated 18% of today’s population and set to increase in the
future, disability is of deep societal and policy interest. Its contemporary history can tell us much about how labour markets operate, particularly for those facing forms of
stigma and exclusion. This Project is an opportunity to address these questions within the field of labour history, informed by disability studies, to provide an intersectional analysis of disabled people’s experiences of employment in modern Britain. This story is necessarily also a political story of activism and contestation, as well as a cultural story of media, stigma and cultural resistance. 

Based at Cambridge University and the British Library in London, Working in collaboration with the Association for Disabled Professionals (ADP), the project will investigate the presence of large numbers of disabled people outside of institutional care, and their presence within a range of occupations. The recently deposited papers of the ADP allow for investigation of professionals, a group who have faced significant obstacles in accessing employment and navigating workplaces despite their educational capital. Other disability collections at the British Library include Speaking for Ourselves, Unheard Voices, Hearing Link and Oral Histories of Disabled Peoples Experiences of Education collections. They offer opportunities to place the experience of professionals alongside other kinds of labour markets, regulatory contexts and economic sectors. These collections portray a range of activist responses to disability exclusions, and help extend the chronology of such activism beyond the ‘disabled civil rights’ era that began in the 1970s into more recent decades.

 Cambridge University has started the research predicted to end in 2025.



Project 3

Is the UK tax system effective in supporting disabled people? 

This research by the Oxford University is ongoing and focusses on the effectiveness of a number of reliefs and provisions across a range of UK tax legislation which are designed to mitigate taxation for disabled people, their carers and financial providers.

ADP’s Chair is honoured to be asked to be involved as she is on a HMRC
accessibility panel.

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