Inquiry into the Future of Jobcentre Plus – Inclusion London’s evidence
Read our recommendations.
Inclusion London submitted evidence to the Work and Pensions Select Committee’s inquiry into the Future of JobCentre Plus.
A summary of our evidence and our recommendations are below:
Disabled people can ‘experience barriers to employment which are external to themselves and over which they have no control’. The barriers can include ‘negative assumptions about the capabilities of disabled people in the workplace, which held Disabled people back from getting jobs or from progressing in their career’.
Download the full response Inclusion London’s evidence JobCentre Plus inquiry (Final for web)
Recommendation 1: All employment support recognises the barriers Disabled people face and is based on the social model of disability.
Employment support for Disabled people
We believe that JobCentre Plus (JCP) staff do not have the necessary knowledge or skills to provide intensive, tailored employment support to Disabled people especially those that have been unemployed for some length of time. Therefore we recommend the following:
Intensive employment support for Disabled people is not provided by JCP staff but people is contracted out to providers that already have expertise in providing intensive employment support for Disabled people, based on the model of employment support below:
- The support is peer led i.e. provided by a Deaf and Disabled people’s user led organisation.
- An intensive, personalised approach which looks holistically at Deaf and Disabled people’s needs and barriers to employment. This may include support with housing, domestic, benefits or financially related problems, all or which could divert a Disabled person’s focus from finding work. Ongoing support helps to resolve issues quickly and prevents problems.
- The employment support is not punitive, i.e. sanctions are never used.
- Working with local employers; training and advice is provided.
- The person providing support has a good understanding of:
- The social model of disability.
- The impact of particular impairments, for example has a good understanding of the impact of the autistic spectrum or mental health support needs or fluctuating conditions etc.
- The barriers Deaf and Disabled people experience in obtaining and maintain employment and how the barriers varies according to the impairment
- the Access to Work scheme
- employer’s duties to provide reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act.
We believe these are the fundamental components of a successful model of employment support for Disabled people, including people with mental health support needs and learning difficulties. JCP staff do not have this level of knowledge or the skills, which would take time to acquire.
Disability Employment Advisors
Many if not all Disability Employment Advisors posts have been abolished.
Recommendation 3: Disability Employment Advisors posts are re-instated.
2.4 Genuine support not sanctions – a positive role for JCP staff
Recommendation 4: JCP staff form positive relationships with local employers and broker relationships between Disabled people and local employers.
Recommendation 5: JCP staff to raise awareness amongst employers and Disabled people of employer’s duties to make reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act.
Recommendation 6: JCP staff to work with training providers and organisations providing apprenticeships to ensure the schemes can be accessed by Disabled people.
We are concerned that the coercive scheme that is currently in operation will continue; where sanctions are harshly and inappropriately applied, pushing Disabled people further away from being in a position to obtain employment.
- The sanctions regime is abolished.
- If the sanctions regime continues Disabled people are to be exempt from all sanctions.
- If the government continues to impose sanctions on Disabled people that reasonable adjustments are applied so sanctions are not inappropriately applied to Disabled people.
Recommendation 8: Genuine employment support is provided for Disabled people without the threat of sanctions.
Co-location of JCP offices with other local services
Disabled people, particularly those with mental health problems may be wary of using services, such as GP services, mental health services or foodbanks if JCP staff are in situ.
Recommendation 9: We recommend that JCP staff are not placed where health services or where any other services are provided and remain in JCP offices.
Attending the JobCentre more frequently
A requirement to visit the JCP venue on a daily basis will cause some Disabled people difficulties.
Recommendation 10: Disabled people are not required to make daily visits to JCP.
Download Inclusion London’s full response: