Workforce Disability Equality Standard

NHS England launches the Workforce Disability Standard (WDES)

What is the Workforce Disability Equality Standard?

The Workforce Disability Equality Standard (WDES) is a set of ten specific measures (metrics) that will enable NHS organisations to compare the experiences of Disabled and non-disabled staff. This information will then be used by the relevant NHS organisation to develop a local action plan, and enable them to demonstrate progress against the indicators of disability equality.

The WDES has been commissioned by the Equality and Diversity Council (EDC) and developed through a pilot and extensive engagement with Trusts and key stakeholders. It is mandated through the NHS Standard Contract and is restricted to NHS Trusts and Foundation Trusts for the first two years of implementation.

The WDES resources for NHS Trusts and Foundation Trusts

Resources have been developed to support NHS Trusts and Foundation Trusts with the implementation of the WDES, which came into force on 1 April 2019. Reporting the WDES Metrics will follow the same timetable as the Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES).

The resources pack provides NHS Trusts and Foundation Trusts with a range of information, tools and guidance.

WDES timetable

 Date Action
 April – May 2019 NHS Trusts and Foundation Trusts review their datasets and declaration rates.
 May – June 2019 NHS England will publish the WDES online reporting form on the NHS England website and will send NHS Trusts and Foundation Trusts a pre-populated WDES Spreadsheet.
 June – 1 August 2019 NHS Trusts and Foundation Trusts:

  • Complete the pre-populated WDES spreadsheet and submit data to NHS England via the Strategic Data Collection Service.
  • Complete and submit the WDES online reporting form.
 1 August – 30 September 2019 NHS Trusts and Foundation Trusts publish the WDES Metrics and action plan on their websites.

Note: The Action Plan and Metrics can be ratified by the next available Board meeting after 1 August, provided these are published no later than 30 September 2019. This deadline does not apply to the submission of the WDES spreadsheet and WDES online reporting form, which must be completed and submitted by 1 August 2019.

Regional WDES workshops

We have facilitated a series of regional workshops to introduce the WDES, the metrics, reporting and key areas for improving the experiences of disabled staff in the NHS.

The final workshop in the East of England on April 17 will be of particular interest to those equality leads, human resources and organisational development leads within NHS Trusts and Foundation Trusts who have been unable to attend previous events.

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 implementation of the WDES will enable NHS Trusts and Foundation Trusts to better understand the experiences of their disabled staff. It will support positive change for existing employees, and enable a more inclusive environment for disabled people working in the NHS. Like the Workforce Race Equality Standard on which the WDES is in part modelled, it will also allow us to identify good practice and compare performance regionally and by type of trust.

Contact details

For further information please Email: