Workforce Disability Equality Standard

The Workforce Disability Equality Standard (WDES) is a set of ten specific measures (metrics) which enables NHS organisations to compare the workplace and career experiences of Disabled and non-disabled staff. NHS organisations use the metrics data to develop and publish an action plan. Year on year comparison enables NHS organisations to demonstrate progress against the indicators of disability equality.

Making a difference for Disabled staff

The WDES is important, because research shows that a motivated, included and valued workforce helps to deliver high quality patient care, increased patient satisfaction and improved patient safety.

The WDES enables NHS organisations to better understand the experiences of their Disabled staff and supports positive change for all existing employees by creating a more inclusive environment for Disabled people working and seeking employment in the NHS.

WDES 2021 data collection and new reporting framework

The WDES 2021 reporting timeline runs from 1 July until 31 August for NHS trusts and foundation trusts and requires metrics and narrative data to be reported via a new data collection framework (DCF). By 31 October 2021, trusts must publish their board ratified 2021 WDES annual report on their website.

National healthcare organisations are not mandated by the WDES, but also report metrics data and publish WDES annual reports in the spirit of transparency. National healthcare organisations WDES reporting timeline runs from 1 August until 30 September with WDES annual reports published by 30 November.

The analysis of data and published annual reports will enable a comparative data analysis across all trusts and national healthcare organisations. Findings will be published in the national WDES Annual Report 2021.

July 2021 NHS trusts and foundation trusts review their datasets, declaration rates and published WDES 2020 annual report.
 1 July 2021 WDES 2021 data collection period opens to enable NHS trusts and foundation Trusts to submit the metrics and narrative data via the DCF online platform.
31 August 2021 Submission deadline for the completed WDES data return from NHS trusts and foundation trusts.
31 October 2021 Deadline for trusts to publish their WDES 2021 Annual report which contains the metrics report and WDES action plan on their website.

WDES 2021 Resources for NHS organisations

Resources have been updated to support NHS Organisations in year 2 of the WDES and provides a range of information, tools and guidance.

WDES annual report 2020

The WDES Annual Report 2020 is based on analysis from NHS trust and foundation trusts 2019 and 2020 data returns. It provides us with the first opportunity to compare year on year progress into the career and workplace experiences of NHS Disabled staff. This report provides a summary of the 2020 national data analysis and presents key findings, recommendations for continued focus and actions by trusts and regions.

At a national level, the evidence clearly highlights that many Disabled staff continue to experience inequalities in the workplace when compared to their non-disabled colleagues. The analysis therefore demonstrates the continued need for trusts to take robust action, with monitoring and evaluation, to ensure that progress takes place and to embed the WDES into ongoing work programmes that support positive change.

Contact details

For further information please email: england.wdes@nhs.net