Advice and Guidance on Part 5

We help the public sector work towards ensuring that at least 3% of their employees are people with disabilities and to progress towards ensuring that a minimum of 6% of their employees are persons with disabilities.

It is important that the whole of the public sector focuses on improving its performance under Part 5. Otherwise, it will be unlikely for the sector to reach the new minimum statutory employment target of 6% by 2025. Read more on the Minimum Statutory Employment Target on this page

Part of this involves focusing on creating EDI (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) work cultures using a Universal Design approach that will help public sector bodies increase the recruitment and retention of people with disabilities. It’ll also help support employees with disabilities and make them feel more comfortable sharing their disability status.

We provide advice and guidance on:

  • Creating equitable, diverse and inclusive (EDI) work cultures using a Universal Design approach

  • Supporting employees to feel comfortable in sharing their disability status

  • Increasing the recruitment, retention and career progression of persons with disabilities

  • Data collection

Our Centre for Excellence in Universal Design provides more information on Universal Design.

This advice is informed by previous research we conducted and a recent review of the Part 5 monitoring process published in 2022.

In 2018 we commissioned research to identify good practice within the Irish public sector and how this is achieved, and particularly to identify innovative and new models to increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities. The report 'Research on good practice on the employment of people with disabilities in the public sector' provided useful information although the extent of good practice identified is limited.

In 2009 we commissioned a research report to describe the leadership and organisational culture factors for the effective recruitment and retention of people with disabilities in the Irish public sector. The research was carried out by Real World Group.

Another piece of research from 2007 looked at experiences from other countries in setting statutory public sector employment targets.

How do you Create an Equal, Diverse and Inclusive Work Culture using a Universal Design Approach?


Good leadership is key to creating an equal, diverse and inclusive work culture. CEOs, directors and senior management have to commit to creating an EDI work culture by using a Universal Design Approach.

As a leader, you should:

  • Focus on the capacity of employees with disabilities
  • Plan a targeted approach to increase the percentage of employees reporting a disability e.g. 0.5% or 1% every year
  • Understand your obligations to create universally designed EDI work cultures that will attract, retain and support a diverse workforce including persons with disabilities, under the Public Sector Equality and Human Rights Duty, Our Public Service (OPS) 2020 and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.


Clear strategic objectives in your HR/corporate strategy are needed to:

  • Create an EDI work culture using a Universal Design approach so the following are easy to access, understand and use for all employees and customers regardless of age, size, ability or disability
    • Products
    • Services
    • Communications
    • Public spaces
    • Built environment
  • Increase the recruitment and retention of employees with disabilities and have a clear process for career progression
  • Communicating the supports available to employees such as reasonable accommodations and Employee Assistance Programmes


In your company culture make sure that you have visible role models for your employees. People with disabilities should be encouraged to be Diversity Champions and drive your organisation’s EDI agenda. Visibility may help other employees to feel comfortable sharing their disability status.

People with disabilities should also be on internal advisory groups that inform the development and evaluation of your organisation’s policies and processes.

Some other things you can include in your company’s culture to help employees with disabilities include:

  • Networks to support employees/professionals with disabilities
  • Implementing an inclusive consultation process from the outset - consult with a diverse range of stakeholders on developing and implementing universally designed products, services etc. This can be done by following the Design For All Standard that is explained further on the Centre for Excellence for Universal Design website
  • Having Irish Sign Language and captioning at all public events

Advice for Increasing Recruitment, Retention and Career Progression of Persons with Disabilities

Training and Professional Development

Providing all employees with training in EDI, disability awareness and Universal Design will increase awareness and ensure that they can provide professional services to everyone.

Don’t forget to update and evaluate training on a regular basis.

Inclusive Recruitment Processes

Training employees involved in recruitment, external recruitment agencies and interview panels in EDI, disability awareness and universal design is vital for increasing recruitment, retention and career progression of persons with disabilities.

You should also:

  • Make all recruitment material including job advertisements and application forms/processes available in accessible formats
  • Advise in job advertisements that applicants can request application forms in accessible formats and candidates can request reasonable accommodations for interviews
  • Write accurate job descriptions
  • Provide work experience programmes with organisations such as Specialisterne, Rehab, WALK, AHEAD as alternative means of recruitment
  • Engage with organisations such as Employers for Change, an employer disability information service, that has many useful resources for employer

Career Progression

Make sure that there are clear policies and processes in your organisation for employees to progress in their careers, including employees with disabilities.

Advice on Data Collection

Part 5 of the Disability Act does not set out any particular methods of counting or identifying employees with disabilities.

Each public body is responsible for choosing the appropriate method for counting employees with disabilities in their organisation each year.

The National Disability Authority advises public bodies about various methods that may be used to collect and update data on an annual basis.

We have advised public bodies to maintain consistent approaches over time regarding data collection and processing.

We acknowledge that it can be difficult for public bodies to obtain accurate data on the number and percentage of employees with disabilities in their organisations for a number of reasons:

  • It is up to employees to share their disability status. Some employees may not feel comfortable sharing their disability status
  • Employees with disabilities retire/leave an organisation
  • Some employees find the definition of disability under the Disability Act 2005 confusing and are unsure if this definition applies to them