Portsmouth City Council is to make a new commitment to helping people with disabilities at work.

Councillors have decided to sign up to the government's new Disability Confident scheme, and get the council accredited as a Disability Confident Committed Employer.

The Disability Confident scheme aims to challenge attitudes towards disability, increase understanding, remove barriers to work, and ensure disabled people have the opportunity to fulfil their potential and realise their aspirations.

To qualify as a Disability Confident Committed employer, the council will commit to: ensuring its recruitment process is inclusive and accessible; promoting vacancies openly; encouraging applications from disabled people; and supporting employees who acquire a disability or long-term health condition, enabling them to stay in work.

The Leader of the Council, Cllr Donna Jones, announced the move after it was approved by the council's employment committee.

She said: "By strengthening our reputation as an employer that actively seeks out and hires skilled disabled people, we'll be helping to change attitudes and behaviour – not just in this organisation but in our wider networks and in the community as a whole."

The committee heard that as well as supporting people with disabilities, being a Disability Confident Committed Employer would ensure benefits for the council including:

· drawing from the widest possible pool of talent

· securing high-quality staff who are skilled, loyal and hard working

· saving time and money by reducing staff turnover

· keeping valuable skills and experience

· reducing the level and cost of sickness absences

· improving morale by showing all employees are treated fairly