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Meg Munn MP - Sheffield Heeley's voice in Parliament | Welcome
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A source of creativity and innovation

Monday, December 10, 2007

Meg made the following remarks at a FCO Disability Awareness event in London recently.

 

I am delighted to be here, and to be able to show my support by opening this Disability Awareness Event.

 

We are holding this event to celebrate the International Day of Disabled People. Many of you will know that was actually yesterday, pause for jokes about the Foreign Office

 

The area of disability equality as an employer, service provider and policy developer- is one of my Ministerial responsibilities, one that I take seriously. I have had previous experience in this field, and do appreciate the difference that someone with a disability experiences when they are taken seriously.

 

So what is the Foreign Office’s record on disability?

 

We were one of the first signatories on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and we are fully committed to promoting equality of opportunity for disabled people. Today you will get to hear more about this as well as other important policy work that we do in this area.

 

However as an employer, we know there is more we need to do. We have feedback from the Equality and Human Rights Commission, as well as from colleagues who have a range of disabilities representing around 4% of our UK-based staff. It’s one of the reasons why we have completely revised our Disability Equality Scheme and Action Plan, which you can view on-line.

 

I have invited individuals and organisations to give us their views on whether our revised Scheme and plan will help us improve our work and meet the requirements of the Disability Equality Duty.

 

But this is not just about legal obligations. Diversity in its widest sense and by this I mean not just visible difference, but, the non-visible differing perspectives, skills, ways of thinking and working- is a source of creativity and innovation. This requires a level of disability awareness, and, ensuring staff with disabilities can achieve their full potential. This is what today is all about.

 

Today you can listen to a range of disability experts and take away useful information on the different perspectives within the FCO. It’s also a chance to find out practical ways of getting more support when you need it, of how to work more effectively with others.

 

I would like to encourage you to visit the stalls next door and to take part in the workshop later on this afternoon, to be conducted by our experts Stephen Duckworth and Chloe Holland. In the workshop, you will have the opportunity to see the support and services available.  

 

I am delighted to welcome Jane Cordell, First Secretary at our Embassy in Warsaw. She was very recently the first foreign national awarded in ’People without Barriers’, a prestigious national poll organised by the Polish ’Integracja’ magazine. This aims to award disabled persons resident in Poland, who’s professional and social achievements can become a paragon for others. 

 

For those of you here who have concerns about declaring their disability, can I just say how important it is that you do so. We are able to provide the support and services that can help.

 

I am proud that the Foreign Office has many talents amongst its staff, staff with many perspectives. I look forward to talking with as many of you as possible. 


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