DWP holds ad pitch to counter disabled discrimination

Agencies have been invited to pitch for a campaign from the Department of Work and Pensions to promote disabled people in the workplace and counter discrimination.

Under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, the Government is committed to make disability discrimination as offensive as discrimination on the grounds of race, sex and age.

It is understood that the department is already in talks with agencies and is in the process of drawing up a shortlist ahead of the Government's implementation of the next phase of the Act, which comes into effect at the beginning of October.

In the past, the Government has received criticism from pressure groups representing people with disabilities that they have been largely ignored in governmental advertising campaigns.

In response, the Government set up a review two years ago to ensure that more disabled people appear in campaigns that emanate from Whitehall.

In 1999, the Department for Education and Employment, the forerunner to the Department of Work and Pensions, rolled out a campaign highlighting disability discrimination through D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles.

Under the strapline "See the person", the campaign featured a series of headlines designed to shock and highlight inherent unspoken prejudices.

J. Walter Thompson recently ran a television campaign for the Special Olympics European Football Week to tackle prejudices associated with people with disabilities or mental handicaps. The ads featured the Manchester United and England footballer Rio Ferdinand.