Strategies for resolving the unemployment of disabled people – ethically and long-term.

What do you think:

DWP doomed to fail on disability unemployment unless other Departments play their part?

Back-to-work help for disabled people is pointless without improving poor health (especially mental) and skills?

Are disabled people “forced to fail” by low success rates of employment support and tough benefit rules?

(Apologies for this being long- would welcome your ideas on what’s missing/wrong)

In the UK, we are squandering the contribution of nearly 20% of the workforce to our national economy: around half of these working age disabled people are not in employment and, for those who are, work tends to be low level, part-time and short-term.  It’s easy to blame employer prejudice and discrimination for costs we all bear from lower economic inactivity and higher disability benefits.  It’s easy to make the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) responsible for putting everything right.  But reality is more complicated and far-reaching.

There is little point in forcing people in poor health to take part in costly return-to-work programmes: their chances of success are very limited and any work they do achieve is likely to be low paid and difficult to sustain – the starting point is to improve their overall health as far as possible (and especially mental health).  The same applies to people with lower education who are about four times as likely as others to be claiming disability benefits – the starting point is to build on their existing work skills and add new ones.  And the same principles apply to every unemployed disabled person regardless of what benefits they are getting – or not.

A key issue is whether the policies are driven by the narrow goal of reducing the numbers/cost of benefit claimants or creating real social and economic change by increasing their employment rates.  All of The latter does more for taxpayers and lifts disability unemployment beyond the reach of just DWP: different Departments across Government (spurred on by the Treasury) have to leap out of their work silos and take strategic collective responsibility across their policies and delivery –it’s what Cabinets are good for!  But in times of financial strain, none of this is likely without an across–the-board cost-benefit analysis and funding regime – it’s the starting point that seems missing for this part of Welfare reform.

And, while all of this is based on UK structures and data, the strategic principles could be relevant to other countries and their economies.

Realising the benefits of more disabled people in good work depends on life-long, society-wide changes:

  • Increase Public Health, education and social initiatives that encourage health and fitness and reduce the occurrence and consequences of the most common impairments.
  • Target health care according to demand (especially mental health), incentivise health professionals with clinical work outcomes and ensure they understand the life consequences of impairments, of delayed treatment, on future poor general and mental health, on worse health outcomes for those with visual and hearing conditions, and on employment prospects.
  • Target life-long learning on people with lower education and low-level jobs as better education reduces the likelihood of disabled people becoming unemployed or claiming benefits and improves their return-to-work prospects.
  • Ensure that the transport infrastructure, staffing and travel concessions are geared to working disabled people.
  • Stop using the criminal justice system to manage disproportionately high levels of disabled people.
  • Ensure that self-employment tax and National Insurance processes plus business start-up support is fully inclusive and accessible as working disabled people are more likely to be self-employed than their non-disabled peers.
  • Target employment in all sectors with the highest risk of causing long-term health conditions and use Health and Safety requirements, the health insurance industry and legislation to improve their performance, retention and re-employment support.
  • Abolish the stigma surrounding impairments (especially around mental ill-health) with more, successful disabled workers – disability prejudice is the largest by far cause of contacts with the UK Government’s Equality Advice and Support Service (EASS).  Imposing costs may have reduced the number of disability discrimination cases going to employment tribunals but they are still the main cause of calls to the EASS.
  • Use the might of public sector employment and its massive procurement spending power to lead by example and exercise financial muscle with contractors to increase employment of disabled people at every level, in every sector – compliance with equality legislation is an added bonus.

Specific action for young people will bring long-term benefits:

  • Ensure all young people stay in education as long as possible, gaining their maximum qualifications, vocational and employability skills.  Disability and unemployment are linked to low skills whereas higher skills are linked to lower levels of disability and better return-to-work/less benefit claimants.
  • Enable schools, colleges etc to make changes so that disabled students reach their full potential: provide adequate funding and effective management of student adjustments/support plus tailored specialist careers advice.
  • Provide mental health care, treatments and therapies as levels of such conditions can be high in youth.

Throughout working lives, interventions can reduce the employment consequences of disability:

  • Target people in low-level, poor quality jobs:
    • Improve their skills and employability so they have better prospects should they acquire an impairment.
    • Provide careers advice and encourage to full-time, permanent, better quality jobs to reduce the risk of unemployment linked to disability and other characteristics (women, age, mental health) – with added bonus of reducing need for Government low-income subsidy.
    • Encourage better health and fitness at work and leisure.
    • Improve Health & Safety protection as low level jobs can have higher risk and so higher general health consequences.
    • Provide easy access to health care (including for mental health) to mitigate occurrence/consequences of most common impairments (moderate pain, muscular skeletal and mental health conditions) noting that poor mental health is linked to low quality jobs.
  • Support employers with:
    • Information and practical help to make the changes needed to retain employees with/acquiring disabilities enabling them to change role/tasks, work locations and hours, equipment and support, information, policies, practices and procedures and so fulfil their legal responsibilities.  In the UK, the Fit for Work occupational health service should assist employers with some of these responsibilities. Target tailored support at small and medium-sized employers that employ the majority of the workforce but have limited organisational resources (rather than larger corporates).
    • Promote and effectively manage legally-compliant, adequate Government funding for workplace changes/support that would be unreasonable for employers of/self-employed disabled people (especially those with mental health conditions)

Notwithstanding the interventions above, some people with long-term health conditions will still have periods of unemployment and need return-to-work help.  Characteristics likely to make that support more successful include:

  • Demand.  Capitalise on existing demand from those already keen to work to achieve early success benefits: persuasive motivational role model examples for positive promotion and publicity to increase further demand and employer buy-in, counter any negative perceptions caused by past employment support and road-test delivery models.
  • Mandatory?  Enforce participation with caution.  Early return-to-work activity can be justified by reducing the mental ill-health, loss of employability and fossilisation of work skills linked to long-term unemployment.  But the enforcement methods must be equitable and productive rather than simply forcing claimants off benefits.  The UK’s Work Capability Assessment (WCA) and sanctions regime move claimants on to Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) or the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) Work Related Activity Group and penalise non-participation.  But justification and effectiveness is less convincing when the WCA itself has been flawed (especially in relation to mental health), when providers of mandatory or voluntary support (Work Programme and Work Choice) “cream” the easiest to progress, while “parking” the more challenging/reluctant, when benefit sanctions are disproportionately applied to ESA claimants and those with mental health conditions and when support lacks the breadth described here.  In these circumstances, mandatory participation and sanctions become counter-productive “enforcement to fail”: unemployment rates show limited reduction, attitudes are further polarised, mental ill–health and psychological barriers increase while those abandoning benefits for economic inactivity are further removed from the prospect of work.  Suggestions of enforcing mental health treatment by threat to benefits flies in the face of “informed consent”.
  • Scope.  Support needs wider capacity than just creating good CVs and job-matching.  It needs to be holistic: encompassing health, housing, finances, personal relationships, work travel, confidence building, training, volunteering and work experience, employment skills, self-employment.
  • Health.  There is little point in funding employment support without interventions to maintain good health/improve poor health (especially mental health). People in poor health have far less chance of returning to work or staying there while those unemployed long-term are more likely to have mental health conditions.
  • Skills.  Likewise, funding employment support that doesn’t improve employability beyond basic skills has little prospect of cost-effective long-term success.  People moving in to low level jobs face all the risks to health and job security outlined above.   Although some will bring psychological barriers and experience of education shortfalls, many will have previous work experience to build upon if training is sufficiently flexible and accommodating of their current circumstances.  Combining practical learning with vocational experience in apprenticeships might merit further development/promotion to break down the disability/low education/unemployment relationship.
  • Attitudes.  Alongside mental health consequences, individuals have many psychological reactions to (the onset of) disability and unemployment ranging from anger to apathy.  Interventions need to re-build self-confidence and esteem, motivation and aspiration while countering status quo bias, isolation and despair. Poor success rates as measured by “forced to fail” policies simply risk reinforcing these barriers.
  • Delivery.  Group delivery and batch processing might seem cheaper but is a form of “creaming” that fails those with more complex barriers requiring help tailored to their individual needs and circumstances.  Instead, personalised support can be more productive: one-to-one, local delivery, non-judgemental, not time bound, recognising a range of individual goals.
  • Specialism.  No single provider is likely to have either sufficient skill or capacity to provide every element of a comprehensive return-to-work model – nor would it probably be cost-effective.  Primary case-workers need to be highly experienced in supporting unemployed disabled people with funded access to other specialists for specific contributions (e.g. health, training, disability-specific interventions/equipment, self-employment etc).  For some conditions, such as severe mental health and learning disabilities, a case worker with appropriate additional skills/experience may be more productive.  The key is that funding agreements (and subsequent contract management) is specific as to access to specialist support and ensures that it happens.  Notwithstanding which, Specialist Employment Support has now been introduced in the UK.
  • Local.  The geographical reach of support can be important for disabled people who lack the capability or means to travel – they may need more local support (often in their own homes initially).  Providers also need knowledge of local cultures, social structures, labour markets plus partnerships with other local support and specialist organisations.  Coordinated funding of local delivery can realise best value and eradicate silo-working, mismatched eligibility and success criteria, incoherent management information plus gaps and duplications.
  • Funding.  Any employment support provider is going to cream the quick wins but must be disincentivised from doing so to the cost of individuals placed in poor, unsustainable jobs and those parked as more difficult to assist. The significance of “failure” goes beyond the psychological and mental health consequences for the individual to undermine employer confidence, policy competence and taxpayer credibility. More subtle funding and sanctions structures are required: equitable and geared to the degree of need/complexity; rewarding a range of positive outcomes other than work; balancing costs in some Departments (health, education) with savings elsewhere (benefits, criminal justice) and acknowledging increased tax and National Insurance takings, broader economic improvements etc.

Source material.  Some of the supporting data gathered from recent reading and blogs:

  • About 20% of the working age population are disabled people.
  • Most disabled people acquire their disability during their working lives rather than at birth/as children.
  • Propensity for disability (especially physical impairments) increases with age (under 4% for 16-24 year olds to about 23% for 50-65 year olds ONS.
  • In 2013, there were about 2.3 million disabled people who were unemployed.  They outnumber and cost more than those receiving Job Seekers Allowance.
  • In 2013, disabled people who reported that their primary impairment was a mental health condition made up 26.9% of all disabled unemployed people and 18.5% of all disabled working age people.
  • People with lower education are about four times more likely to claim disability benefits than those with higher education.
  • People with poor health are less likely to get back to work and, if they do, are less likely to sustain jobs.
  • Since 2008, the employment rate for disabled people has been about 31% lower than for non-disabled people; the economic inactivity rate for disabled people has been similarly around 31% higher than for non-disabled people.
  • Unemployed disabled people aren’t just those claiming Employment and Support Allowance or Incapacity Benefit.  It has been estimated that about 25% of Job Seeker Allowance claimants have disabilities, others are claiming Income Support and more are not claiming any benefits at all.
  • Regarding the Work Programme:For Employment Support Allowance (ESA) claimants the DWP’s original minimum standard was to ensure at least 22% of those who had completed the Work Programme achieved job outcomes (lasting at least three months). By the end of March 2014, only 11% had. The DWP now predicts this measure to rise only to 14% by the current end of the Work Programme—March 2016 … ESA sanctions for those within the Work Programme also far exceed job outcomes.”
  • Regarding Work Choice: less than a third of the volunteers joining the scheme achieved a work outcome
  • Disability discrimination concerns make up over 60% of all contacts to the Government’s Equality Advice and Support Service (the dramatic reduction in tribunal cases reflects the new costs to claimants).  Mental health conditions continue to be amongst those carrying most stigma.
  • 1 in 4 UK adults have mental health problems each year – ONS.
  • Ministry of Justice data shows that the level of disabled people in prison is nearly double that in the wider population.

Penny Melville-Brown

Disability Dynamics ltd www.disabilitydynamics.co.uk

Helping disabled people to work since 2000

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Helping disabled people to work

What do you think: • Bully or buddy – which will be more successful in encouraging disabled people back to work?   • Voluntary or mandatory – which deserves the employment support resources?   • Work for Yourself disabled client features on BBC TV programme.

Over recent weeks, I’ve been responding to several consultation papers issued by the UK and Scottish Governments related to disabled people and work.  Some key thoughts were:

  • Bully or buddy – which will be more successful in encouraging disabled people back to work?  I have spent literally hours over the last week answering phone calls after one of our Work for Yourself clients, David Harding, was featured in the BBC TV Saints and Scroungers programme.  They have all been people with long-term health conditions – some have lasted for years – desperate to get back to work, unable to find the advice and support they need and searching for someone prepared to listen and offer ideas.    Often they talk about experiencing hostile and de-humanizing attitudes (inflamed by negative stereotyping in the media and politics) so that they won’t risk contact with agencies supposed to help – even if they know about them.  Imagine if you are already feeling pretty wretched, depressed and useless from coping with a long-term health problem that has stopped you working, impacted on your finances and stressed family life.  You don’t know where to turn, are fearful of risking benefits and, often, have had bad experiences seeking help in the past.  You probably want someone who is empathetic and has time to provide practical help across the whole range of difficulties.  You don’t want someone motivated by targets, caseloads and rigid processes but a friendly helping hand to get through the minefield of problems.
  • Voluntary or mandatory – which deserves the employment support resources?  Few are likely to disagree with the goal of helping another million disabled people get back to work.  But let’s give top priority to helping every one of them who is already keen to do so rather than using a stick on the rest.  Success rates are likely to be higher with volunteers, motivation is more likely to attract employers while role models of achievement show the reluctant what is possible in the future.  Let’s capitalise on all those disabled people already keen to work and change attitudes across the board before expending time and effort on the remainder.

Penny Melville-Brown

Disability Dynamics ltd www.disabilitydynamics.co.uk

Helping disabled people to work since 2000

Equality for disabled people

What do you think? • Have 5 years of the Equality Act made any difference for disabled people? • Will House of Lords review of equality legislation make any improvement for disabled people? • Do disabled people face systemic and institutionalised discrimination?

There has been a recent call for evidence from The House of Lords Select Committee on the Equality Act 2010 and Disability as part of their review of whether the legislation is working for disabled people.   Drawing on previous blogs over a couple of years, I sent them the following comments – and couldn’t hope to cover all the other areas in which we still aren’t getting an equal chance.

Without doubt, five years of legislation have had limited positive benefit for disabled people and, in some ways, their situation is probably worse.  This is particularly true in relation to the failings of the Public Sector Equality Duties. The Government initiative to enable disabled people to fulfil their potential and have equality of opportunity by 2025 has become a creature of smoke and mirrors, shackled by austerity cuts, deaf to the legislation’s demands during policy creation and blinkered to it’s requirements in delivery.  The generous amongst us may believe these failings are simply oversights of lazy, broad-brush policy thinkers whereas the more cynical may perceive systemic and institutionalised discrimination emanating from the very heart of the nation’s public sector.  Would other laws be flouted so blatantly?  How can we possibly hope that employers, businesses and others will comply and make a difference when it is so obvious that the public sector does not?

 Perhaps the answer is really simple?  The majority of “disabled” people (about two thirds of us according to the Office for Disability Issues research) wouldn’t use this label about themselves.   So we are very unlikely to have any homogenous coordinated political voice.  Would another 20% of the electorate be ignored so consistently?

 One wonders how these public policies, practices and procedures will be squared with the protection afforded by the UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled People when the UK’s performance is next reviewed.

 Just a few examples of issues that have been publicly evidenced over recent years:

Life chances:

  • Prisoners.  The 2014 Ministry of Justice report was lamentable (out-of-date data and disability definitions) but did reveal that the proportion of prisoners with limiting long-term health conditions was about twice that in the general population.  Does this mean that, as a nation, we manage some impairments through the criminal justice system or does the system itself create those impairments – or both?  We are probably unimpressed by other nations that imprison disproportionate numbers of those from, say, ethnic minorities but seem to barely raise an eyebrow at similarly skewed outcomes of our home-grown justice system.
  • Bedroom Tax.  There is a disproportionately higher level of disabled people in social housing.  They are more likely to be receiving housing benefits.  It is good news that there has been more flexibility in waiving “bedroom tax” for those disabled people who need extra space for their impairment-related equipment.    But how were their needs considered when the policy was created and the rules designed?
  • Disproportionately poor health outcomes.  The Chief Medical Officer’s 2014 report highlighted that people with visual (like me) or hearing impairments are more likely to acquire dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, other long-term health conditions, anxiety or stress and have less confidence in managing our health.    Yet suggestions to her that a key issue is the failure of the health sector to communicate effectively with us using alternative formats, auxiliary aids etc received just the response that Equality Act compliance rests with individual health providers.  So where is the leadership and policy drive to redress the situation and implement the legislation?  The consequences are not just discriminatory but life threatening.

Employment issues.  My primary interest area:

  • Increased age requirements for State pensions.  Expecting people to work longer before they can claim their state Retirement Pension goes hand-in-hand with an ageing population.  But does all the supporting policy make this feasible for that majority of disabled people who acquire their impairments during their working lives (some 70% according to DWP).  It is very well known that propensity for disability increases with age (under 5% of those starting their careers which more than quadruples to 23% of those approaching retirement).  So, let’s have the policy but make sure that it works in reality by tailoring and delivering employment legislation, practices and support accordingly rather than jeopardising the livelihoods of even more people with impairments.
  • Work Programme and Work Choice.  The original concept was good: help people to get back to work.    But it needed much more attention to practical realities to avoid disproportionate outcomes for disabled people.  Instead, flawed funding models, poor contract management and insufficient specialist delivery has left those facing most work barriers still on the shelf.  Overall, it looks as if the improvement in the economy is probably the biggest factor in the employability of jobseekers whereas publicly-funded employment support has more potential impact amongst disabled benefit claimants.  But this depends on good delivery: holistic, individual, specialist, tailored, flexible, local with all adjustments in place and empathetic, experienced front-line teams – so quite different from much current delivery.
  • Employment and Support Allowance, Work capability Assessments and Access To Work (ESA, WCA and ATW).  These should be the three pillars that help disabled people get back to work.  But a 2014 Select Committee report described WCA as de-humanising and distressing, stressful, confusing, uncertainty and more.  Another Select Committee report the same year was similarly highly critical of the ATW system for providing in-work support for disabled people and said it required substantial improvement (and those self-employed have had a particularly hard time).   So, with two legs buckling if not actually broken, are the policies properly in place to give us equality of opportunity?  Instead, it seems that unlawful discrimination and harassment are endemic in the delivery systems.
  • New Enterprise Allowance.  Where is the evidence that the policy design and delivery detail for this initiative took account of the needs of disabled people?    It should have been a basic consideration that then merited even higher attention because disabled people are the largest and most costly group of unemployed people and, as shown by the 2011 Census, those who work are more likely to be self-employed than their non-disabled peers.  Of course, some disabled entrepreneurs will have survived the judgemental processes and inadequate timescales but was the real potential of the initiative fully realised?  We receive phone calls and e-mails from across the UK each time one of our new disabled business owners is featured by the BBC –showing that the demand is there but the NEA is not hitting the mark.

Return to the old box-ticking equality impact assessment processes would just risk resistance to bureaucratic red tape.  But we know that one-size doesn’t fit all.  Instead those creating and delivering public policies need to undertake more robust success and risk impact assessments that address equality issues.  Where citizens with protected characteristics such as disability will be most affected by a policy, those characteristics need to be at the heart of decision making and delivery design in order to be successful.  “Most affected” means that disabled people (or other protected groups) may experience positive or negative consequences at disproportionately higher levels in relation to either/both the overall population or individual impact.

There is an untapped resource of experts with practical experience who can contribute to shared goals alongside those in the Government Departments that most affect disabled people.  Utilising them offers more chance of getting policy and delivery right from the outset rather than years of subsequent criticism and costly change.

Current enforcement seems patchy at best and very difficult for individuals to access.  While there is scope for improving enforcement, it is highly preferable for those in the public sector to be better motivated from the outset by recognising that effective consideration of disability issues will improve the success of their policies.  More carrot than stick!

Penny Melville-Brown

Disability Dynamics ltd www.disabilitydynamics.co.uk

Helping disabled people to work since 2000

More pay and longer working hours

Did you know:  BGO: Work for longer hours and more pay offers escape from poverty.

It is hardly rocket-science but now there’s the data to prove that work is a major means of getting out of relative poverty.  And it’s a Blinding Glimpse of the Obvious that the level of pay and numbers of hours worked are likewise important.    Having a permanent or temporary work contract doesn’t matter much in the short-term – but it’s worth moving to a permanent contract to keep out of poverty long-term.  If work doesn’t make the difference straightaway, increasing hours and pay rates (even if that means moving jobs) is a good next step to escape poverty.

So if you want to get out and stay out of poverty:

  • Start working.
  • Work as many hours as you can (even if part-time).
  • Look for work that offers you longer hours, more pay and a permanent contract in the future and, if these don’t happen, be prepared to move to a job that does.

“In the UK, 8% of people in employment aged 18 to 64, were in relative income poverty in 2013, equivalent to around 3 million people.”  This was close to the level across the EU as a whole but about twice the percentage in some countries, such as Greece, and about half the percentage of others, such as Finland.

“By contrast, the poverty rate for those in the same age group and not working was 31%.”

Getting back to work is an important route out of poverty: “Over the period 2007 to 2012, of people aged 18 to 59 who were not working and living in a household in poverty, 70% of those who moved into employment left poverty. The other 30% remained in relative income poverty despite entering employment.”  And this is a better result than that for the EU as a whole where only about 50% of those getting in to work left relative poverty.  The UK ranks one of the best for work being a route out of poverty.

You can read more here

Penny Melville-Brown

Disability Dynamics ltd www.disabilitydynamics.co.uk

Helping disabled people to work since 2000

Public health support disability employment

What do you think? • Funding from Public Health is the way to get more disabled people back to work? • Or is strong leadership focused on outcomes for disabled people the real answer to reducing their cost to the State? • Blind design in pewter is OK but the molten metal is probably a step too far!

The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has new ideas about using Public Health money to help more disabled people work – it sounds rather like a return to the old DHSS (Department for Health and Social Security for you young ones!).  A key difference is that they suggest that local Councils lead: “holding the budget, brokering or commissioning provision, and being held to account for performance”.

Our Help to Work activities (www.helptowork.org.uk) have already successfully tested the IPPR vision of partnership delivery:  “to draw together a range of services and support – across employment health, housing, skills, substance abuse and so on”.  Our Steps to Success model shows the different types of help that might be needed – and it is clear that no one delivery organisation can do it all.  To succeed, we know that delivery partners often need to adapt their support for disabled clients:

  • Personal.  One-to-one support tailored to individual needs; flexibility about timings, duration and location of support; building in reasonable adjustments and alternative formats from the outset.
  • Holistic.  Able to coordinate a range of different help without clients becoming lost during “hand-offs”.  Reducing “creaming” and “parking” by valuing outcomes other than just jobs/self-employment.
  • Specialist.  Fully trained and experienced staff; case loads planned on client needs rather than the budget.
  • Local.  Recognising that disabled and disadvantaged people can’t or won’t travel; targeting realistic individual travel-to-work labour markets.

This could all look expensive but is far more achievable if cost is spread across the public sector bodies that will reap the benefits.  IPPR suggests funding from DWP, the health sector (about 7% of Public Health funding plus contributions from Clinical Commissioning Groups), European funds plus social investments.  But this may be not ambitious enough.  There is clearly a case for contributions from other parts of the State that will also see benefits from more disabled people in work: From less re-offending, more tax and NI payments, more skills etc.

Localism is core so the IPPR idea of future Combined Authorities taking the lead could be risky: just new levels of bureaucracy amongst Councils covering large areas with little knowledge or experience of employment support across the diversity of disabilities.  Most important is that they don’t waste time and money on re-inventing the wheels that so many of us have been successfully turning for years.  It may be too optimistic to just bolt on new tasks to existing structures that already have long-term priorities.  Instead, many Councils may need new employment support movers and shakers to drive the vision forward.  If all the experience and target-driven culture of Jobcentres, Work Programme and Work Choice have failed, it is going to take more than different funding streams, devolved responsibilities and partnerships to succeed.   Strong leadership focussed on outcomes for disabled people has more chance than simply moving the deckchairs.

The paper’s recommendation to increase the obligations of both employers and employees to return to work is probably overdue but not demanding enough.  Indeed, they seem to suggest that the Equality Act 2010 is failing: “There are also few requirements on employers to make adjustments to work duties or working conditions or to offer an alternative job, to facilitate a return to work”.  Perhaps there needs to be a sanctions regime as tough as that for benefit recipients that is applied to employers’ unlawful behaviour – without having to go to employment tribunals?  A fairer balance of obligations and consequences faced by both employers and employees would be a valuable step forward – but perhaps there is little political appetite for challenging employers when the vulnerable are easier targets.

Click to read the full report

Finally, on the vexed issue of benefit sanctions, surely most of us agree that there need to be some obligations placed on those claiming benefits (“conditionality”) but equally penalties for failing to fulfil such must be fair and just – see the Guardian article

Bouquet of the week.

Disability creativity

Disability creativity

Goes to Fleur for helping me turn my clay models in to useful little pewter objects.  She did all the complicated pouring of molten metal and soldering while I made moulds with Lego.  It was a good start but I’m going to do better.

 

Penny Melville-Brown

Disability Dynamics ltd www.disabilitydynamics.co.uk

Helping disabled people to work since 2000

150216 - Pewter picture with PMB card 2