165. The Employers' Forum on Disability states that
"barriers created by inaccessible technology are not acceptable.
This includes inaccessible on-line recruitment, inaccessible and
unusable IT systems, and inaccessible 'e-commerce' processes."
Scott-Parker of the Employers Forum on Disability said: "We
did some research about three or four years ago, at which point
85% of all the on-line sites that we looked at were inaccessible.
It was preventing 1.3 million people from applying. It is not
just the site itself. [
] I guess one of the tests I have
for the new legislation is that it would enable individuals and
maybe groups - and it would give blind people not being able to
apply en masse for this job - some redress in law. It
has to somehow be drafted in such a way that it is clearly addressed."
166. However, the Minister, Maria Eagle, did not
see any need for this to be addressed in the new Bill: "This
is a big awareness and culture issue, as much as us having to
change the law. I think the law is already in the right place."
She added that "There is a role here for the Equality and
Human Rights Commission [
]. That is something which I expect
it would take an interest in and perhaps think about using some
of its enforcement powers to look at more closely. I think that
is an appropriate way."
167. We are
extremely concerned by the evidence from the Employers' Forum
on Disability that 85% of online recruitment sites were inaccessible
and that 1.3 million people were being prevented from applying
for jobs. If the employment rate for disabled people is to be
improved, this should be a priority for the Government and the
Equality and Human Rights Commission to address.
168. We recommend
that the Equality and Human Rights Commission conduct more research
into the extent of the use of inaccessible technology in the recruitment
process, with a view to taking further action in raising awareness
of the problem amongst employers and launching its own investigations.