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Disability

The information from the 2013 Disability Survey (Statistics NZ) shows that the rate of disability in the Public Service workforce is estimated to be around 16%, lower than that for the overall workforce of 19% as shown in Figure 4.8, although the difference is not statistically significant (i.e. the difference is within the margin of error for the survey).

Figure 4.8 Percentage of staff with disability in each sector, 2013

Figure 4.8 Percentage of staff with disability in each sector, 2013

The Public Service has similar disability rates for sensory and physical disability, but much lower rates for psychiatric or psychological disability and other limitations (this includes impaired speaking, learning, and remembering).

The Public Service has a lower rate for disabilities caused by accident, which may be related to risk of injury being lower in a predominately white collar industry (‘other business services' also have a lower rate for disabilities caused by accident).

The disability rate for managers and professionals is lower in the Public Service than for managers and professionals in the total workforce. However, for lower skilled Public Service staff the disability rate is similar.

SSC is committed to developing an effective method for collecting disability data. As a first step SSC has received a special cut from the 2013 Disability Survey to identify a baseline.

SSC collected data until 2004, when it stopped due to concerns about the integrity of data collected. Disability data is complex due to the self-reported nature, and people are less likely to report that they have a disability especially if they are worried about stigma. SSC is cognisant of these difficulties and will work with agencies and other experts to develop a sound method of collecting disability data.

SSC has also been in discussion with the Disability Data and Evidence Working Group coordinated by the Office of Disability Issues (http://www.odi.govt.nz/what-we-do/better-evidence/ ) which is running concurrent to the Commission's process. This group will establish a common definition of disability, which the Commission will use in designing the relevant data collection method.

Through this process SSC will establish a robust method of disability data collection, at a level that will enable effective monitoring of progress within agencies.

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