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NHS Workforce Disability Equality Standard

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 trusts use the metrics data to develop and publish an action plan. Year on year comparison enables trusts 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 2020 data collection and reporting framework

The WDES 2020 reporting timeline runs from 6 July until 31 August and trusts are required to submit a WDES spreadsheet and WDES online reporting form.

By 31 October 2020, trusts must publish their board ratified 2020 WDES annual report on their website.

The information returned by trusts and an analysis of published annual reports will enable a comparative data analysis across all trusts. Data will be compared with 2019 results and analysed by type of trust and region in the national WDES Annual Report 2020.

July 2020 NHS Trusts and Foundation Trusts review their datasets, declaration rates and published WDES 2019 annual report.
6 July 2020 The Strategic Data Collection Service (SDCS) will send an email to trusts with a link to their WDES spreadsheet.


The WDES team will send an email to trusts with a hyperlink to the WDES online reporting form.

31 August 2020 Submission deadline for completed WDES data returns:


  • The WDES spreadsheet via the SDCS.
  • The WDES online reporting form via the button at the end of the survey.
31 October 2020 Deadline for trusts to publish the WDES 2020 Annual report which contains the metrics report and WDES action plan on their website.



WDES 2020 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 2019

The WDES Annual Report 2019 provides the first national review of the NHS workforce that relates to the workplace representation and career experiences of Disabled staff. The detailed data analysis and evidence base allows NHS trusts to benchmark their 10 WDES metrics data by trust type and trust size as well as on a local, regional and national level basis. The baseline data and analysis can be used as a measuring tool to enable trusts to understand where progress has taken place and where improvements need to be made.

At a national level, the evidence clearly highlights disparities between the experiences of Disabled and non-disabled staff across the 10 metrics. The analysis therefore demonstrates the 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: [email protected]

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