Interview with Edward Tidbury of RBLI

June 9, 2014 - Mike Dilke

Interview with Edward Tidbury at RBLI

 A while ago I met with Edward Tidbury of Royal British Legion Industries. He runs the independent work based assessment programme which essentially means that he and his team help people remain in work, get in to work and be more efficient when they are at work. It is a large team and Edward is a busy man but he agreed to answer some questions for me.

In your experience, does keeping people in work keep them healthier and is there any evidence to prove this?
Yes absolutely, my experience is that being active physically and mentally in the workplace has an empowerment value that cannot be under estimated.

My belief is that everyone should be able to work and if you want to get help to enable you to do so there are many organisations that can help. A good starting place would be looking at the access to work scheme website at

What are the most common problems that you help people with?
RBLI delivers a pan-disability service to help overcome work-related needs as a result health conditional disability, this is led by the needs of the individual so we help people in all sorts of ways and don’t really have a most common difficulty that we help with.

Are we a ‘put up and shut up’ society?
In many ways yes but I think this stems from people not knowing what help is available. There is also sometimes a feeling that if someone asks for help they feel like a nuisance and think that this will be seen in a bad light. It is my experience that employees generally want their staff to be as efficient as possible so react well to requests for help. There are also some very positive employees who make it their business that staff are helped in this way and these companies reap the rewards of a motivated and efficient workforce.

Keeping people in work and efficient in work, is likely to make economic sense for the employer, can you provide examples to show this?
There are many but I will put myself forward as one. I have dyslexia and I have received excellent support from my previous employer and also RBLI. I am in my ninth year with RBLI and run a large team that provides assessments for the government run Access to Work programme in addition to our independent company assessments.

As well as running the Access to Work assessment delivery in the South I am also a customer of access to work and I have been provided with specialist computer software that helps with my dyslexia. Without this support I would find very difficult to carry out this role and could not contribute to the economy as a whole. 
For RBLI there is no question that providing the support we do has very positive financial outcomes for the employer and the larger economy.  

How many of the people you help are ex-service men or women?
We don’t know as my group does not ask if clients are ex- service. That said RBLI has a very proud heritage of helping those who have served their country and that is still a very large part of our work. 

What advice would you initially give someone who thinks they need some help at work to be more productive and comfortable?
I have been lucky in my career as I have always been open about the difficulties that I have faced and received support that has helped me be a productive employee. So my advice  would try and be as open and honest as you can about any difficulties you have and then be proactive in getting help  so you can demonstrate how useful and what good value for money you can be to your employer.
Support and help is available to everyone whatever disability they have. The Access to Work website is very user friendly and has full details on how to apply for a grant to provide practical help to enable you to become or remain an efficient member of the workforce -
Edward can be contacted on or 01622 795900
He can help businesses and individuals who need help with workplace assessments.

Information on the rest of RBLI’s activities is on

Members of Edward's team