Access to Work ‘Barriers to Work’ launch, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsmen report into the scheme and related media coverage

Links and updated from our joint Stop Changes to Access to Work “Barriers to Work” report launch

On Tuesday 24th October, campaigners, service users and MPs gathered at Portcullis House to launch ‘Barriers to Work’ – a report authored by Catherine Hale and commissioned by Inclusion London, based on a survey carried out by the StopChanges2AtW campaign. ‘Barriers to Work’ looks at what happened with Access to Work and how can the scheme be once again fit for purpose.

The meeting was chaired by Debbie Abrahams MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and Sean McGovern, co-Chair of the TUC Disabled Workers’ Committee. Ellen Clifford from the StopChanges2AtW campaign introduced the recommendations for improving Deaf and Disabled people’s experience of Access to Work. Mahmuda Murshed from Barnet People’s Choice then read out her powerful Access to Work poem before Catherine Hale explained the findings of the report. The meeting then heard what the Access to Work cap means for Deaf BSL users from Paul Redfern of the British Deaf Association and why a framework agreement won’t mitigate the impacts of the cap, from Nicky Evans of the National Unions of British Sign Language Interpreters. Kath Sutherland from START Ability Services discussed supporting Deaf and Disabled people to navigate Access to Work before a number of personal testimonies were shared about the positives and negatives of the scheme from: Julia Evans, Joanne Munn, Angela Smith, Kevin Caulfield, Jenny Hurst, Penny Parker, Sam Calder-Bray and Will Davidson. Parliamentarians Deirdre Brock, Debbie Abrahams and Marsha de Cordova shared their thoughts with the meeting and statements from Jonathan Bartley and Dawn Butler were shared.

StopChanges2AtW is a campaign led by Deaf and Disabled professionals and campaigners and BSL interpreters. It was set up in 2014 to give a voice to Deaf and Disabled people adversely affected by changes to Access to Work. It is supported by Inclusion London, Reclaiming Our Futures Alliance, Disabled People Against Cuts and the National Union of British Sign Language Interpreters.

Link to the full ‘Barriers to Work’ report:

Barriers to Work (Word doc)  Barriers to Work (PDF)

Link to the StopChanges2AtW recommendations:

Improving Access to Work: Our Recommendations (PDF)

Link to the Easy Read version:

Making Access to Work Better_Recommendations in Easy Read

StopChanges2ATW recommendations in BSL:

Link to National Union of British Sign Language Interpreter’s ‘Dossier of Disgrace’: 

 NUBSLI – Dossier of disgrace

Footage from the day can be found here:

After a delay in publishing the report due to the General Election, campaigners weren’t the only ones to take note of the ‘Barriers to Work’ report; many media outlets were keen to expose the impact of the changes to the Access to Work scheme.

Letter from Dawn Butler MP:

Letter from Dawn Butler MP

See the links below for media coverage and blog posts.

Guest blog post by Geraldine O’Halloran, StopChanges2ATW

PHSO report into Access to Work scheme

Link to the report:

In the same week as the ‘Barriers to Work’ launch, the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) published the long-awaited report into the scheme. Campaigners were disappointed that, despite many complaints from users of the scheme – who were feeling the effects of cost cutting measures – the PHSO did not make any recommendations to improve it.

See here for more details:

The StopChanges2AtW scheme commented on the report:

StopChanges2AtW post on rebuttals to arguments justifying the changes to the Access to Work scheme: