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Guaranteed interview scheme

Employers who have signed up to the 'two ticks' (disability symbol) scheme guarantee disabled people an interview if they meet the minimum criteria for the job vacancy. The commitments are listed on Direct.gov.uk. They are not legally binding.

'Two ticks' Positive about disabled people - the scheme

Many employers, particularly larger employers or public sector employers (e.g. local authorities), have signed up to the scheme and display its logo. You can ask at your local Jobcentre for information about employers in your area who are signed up to the scheme.

Employers who have signed up make various commitments, the most important of which is that they guarantee to interview all disabled applicants who meet the minimum criteria for a job vacancy. It is no excuse, for example, that there are other 'better applications'.

Employers should ensure that the minimum criteria are made available to applicants, and should avoid setting criteria which are not essential. There are further commitments about helping a disabled person stay in employment.

See under Links below for detailed 'Essential' and 'Desirable' actions by employers who have signed up to the scheme.

A job applicant falls within the scheme if he or she has a 'disability' as defined in the Equality Act. (Guidance in the ES Guide, linked below, says "People who fall outside the definition of disability in the DDA,[now the Equality Act] because their disability affects them only at work will also be eligible." However, it is not clear if that adds anything, given it is now clear the legal definition of disability includes effects of the impairment on many work activities.)

Example: Civil Service

Many departments subscribe to the 'two ticks' scheme, and accordingly offer a Guaranteed Interview Scheme for disabled people. See for example on the Civil Service Faststream.There is a A Practical Guide to Good Practice in the Recruitment of People with disabilities to the Civil Service (Word doc) on the Cabinet Office website.

News article: Scandal of disabled civil servants' pay (Independent on Sunday), 7th Feb 2009. The Civil Service might say its recruitment practices are aiming to address such issues.

What if an employer fails to meet the commitments?

The 'two ticks' scheme is separate from the Equality Act. The scheme is not law, and you cannot take an employer to a tribunal for failing to meet their commitments under it (though see below EqA claim if pick and choose between disabled people?).

At the same time, meeting the 'two ticks' commitments does not mean that an employer has done enough to satisfy its legal obligations under the Equality Act.

If a disabled person wishes to lodge a formal complaint that an employer has broken its 'two ticks' commitments, this should be done through the Disability Employment adviser at the local Jobcentre Plus office. If this does not produce results, the person could approach their union, if they are a member of one. (Source: PCS Union link below)

EqA claim if pick and choose between disabled people?

An employer is not legally required to meet the commitments of the 'two ticks' scheme. However, there may be a legal claim under the Equality Act if an employer treats some disabled people more favourably than others. If the employer operates the guaranteed interview scheme for a particular post, but refuses to give an interview to a particular disabled person, this may be unlawful as direct discrimination.

An employer advertises a job vacancy as falling within the 'two ticks' scheme. It refuses an interview to a person with a stammer who meets the minimum criteria for the job vacancy (and who has a disability within the Equality Act). However, it gives a guaranteed interview to someone in a wheelchair or a blind person - or would give such a person a guaranteed interview if they applied for the job. This may be unlawful as direct discrimination.

This is because it is legal to treat disabled people generally more favourably than non-disabled, but it may not be legal to treat some disabled people more favourably than other disabled people. For more: Treating disabled people more favourably.

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Last updated 29th August, 2012