Johnny Timpson's Blog

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Last November, the disability organisation Purple launched Purple Tuesday, an accessible shopping and services day which is committed to improving the customer experience for disabled people. Purple Tuesday proved to be a tremendous success reaching over 800 million people and with over 750 organisations participating.*

With 13.9 million disabled people in the UK**, improving access to everyday products and services, including financial services (and insurance in particular) for consumers living with health conditions and disabilities, is a hot topic. It’s also one that is rightly attracting increasing political, charity sector and consumer group attention. Considering the ‘Purple Pound’ (the consumer spending power of disabled people and their families) is worth £249 billion in the UK alone, it’s important the needs of disabled consumers and those with mental health conditions are met.

Purple Tuesday is not just a one-day shopping event. The aim of the day is not only to increase awareness, but also to encourage sustainable changes in business practices that improve customer experience over the long term.

This year’s Purple Tuesday national awareness day is taking place on Tuesday 12th November.


Participation is vital for this initiative to stay alive and it wouldn’t be possible without the endorsement of the Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work, and the support of some of the UK’s biggest retail brands, including Argos, Asda and Marks & Spencer.

Purple Tuesday is free for organisations to get involved in. All that is asked is that each organisation makes at least one new commitment to improve the customer experience for disabled people. If you are just starting out on your accessibility journey, here are four straightforward pledges to consider:

  1. Conduct an accessibility audit of your organisation (Purple can provide checklists for you to follow).
  2. With IDD CPD requirements and FCA Vulnerable Customer comments in mind, provide disability focused customer service training to your staff (resources are available through Purple Tuesday).
  3. Sign up to the government’s Disability Confident scheme to demonstrate your commitment to becoming an inclusive workplace. If you are advising businesses on Group Risk needs, this for me, is a must do.
  4. Appoint a member of your board or senior leadership team as your organisation’s ‘disability champion’ to take ownership of accessibility issues. For more information on this specific topic, please refer to Purple’s joint guide with KPMG - Leading from the front: Disability and the role of the board (PDF 1MB). Can I suggest that industry professional bodies and trade groups consider this point in particular.

As a strong supporter of the cause, I am personally promoting Purple’s industry letter (PDF 293KB) which provides more detail of the initiative and highlights more ways your organisation can get involved.

For more information on all of the above and to register your interest in this important initiative, visit


* (PDF 1MB)


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