Is Chancellor’s money enough to kick start disability employment?

What do you think:

  • What should a disability employment strategy look like?
  • How would you test the effectiveness of a disability employment provider?
  • How would you design a disability employment programme?

It didn’t really resonate in the media but thank goodness yesterday’s Autumn Statement made it clear that the Government is recognising that disabled people are the largest group who are not working, that they cost most (after pensioners)  and they need better  back-to-work help.  But it really depends on how cleverly the additional funding is used – have the ‘parking and creaming’ lessons of the Work Programme and Work Choice been learned?  Will the detail of a strong strategy be translated in to effective delivery – or will providers be too focussed on funding to care about individual clients?

For my money (which, of course, it is  – as a taxpayer), I’d like to see much more robust criteria applied to any provider of the new Work and Health Programme – perhaps:

An evidenced track record of achieving work for at least 25% of their disabled clients?

  • Case loads of under 50 clients per adviser?
  • Personal, one-to-one support that is not judgemental or time-bound?
  • Activities and interventions to improve both health and skills before applying for jobs?
  • Tailored self-employment support?
  • Equal partnerships with specialist providers?

There’s lots more practical detail but the key to success is to change the mind-sets of those disabled people who are frightened of losing their current benefits ‘security’, the reluctance of employers and the selectivity of providers.

The money is good (but sufficient?) but the leadership, vision, values and attitudes will make or break the investment.

Here are the extracts from the DWP news release:

  • “A real terms increase in funding to help those with disabilities and health conditions return to, and remain in, work.
  • A new Work and Health Programme replacing the Work Programme and Work Choice which will provide specialist support for the long-term unemployed and claimants with health conditions and disabilities.
  • Over £115 million of funding for the Joint Work and Health Unit, including at least £40 million for a health and work innovation fund, to pilot new ways to join up across the health and employment systems.
  • A real terms increase in spending on Access to Work, providing specialist IT equipment, or support workers, to help a further 25,000 disabled people each year remain in work.

The focus continues to be on increasing employment levels amongst people with disabilities and health conditions as a key part of the Government’s aim to achieve full employment.

For more information, please see the Spending Revie

w and Autumn Statement 2015 pages on GOV.UK or please contact corporate.stakeholders@dwp.gsi.gov.uk

Penny Melville-Brown

Disability Dynamics ltd www.disabilitydynamics.co.uk

Helping disabled people to work since 2000

Disability Floral Art

Disability Floral art

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