Inquiry into government’s commitment to halve the ‘disability employment gap’ – Inclusion London submits evidence
Government funding for employment support cut by £570 million.
Inclusion London submitted evidence to the Work and Pension’s inquiry into the government’s commitment to halve the ‘disability employment gap’.
A summary of Inclusion London’s evidence and our recommendations is below:
- Government funding for the Work and Health programme has a national budget of £130 million, down from the current budget of £700 million, a cut of £570 million. Funding for the Work and Health programme is inadequate.
Recommendation 1: Government funding for the Work and Health programme is substantially increased. (See page 8).
- Placing JCP staff in GP surgeries, in benefit offices or foodbanks will act as a disincentive to some Disabled people to use these services.
Recommendation 2: JCP staff remain in JCP centres and are not placed in other venues. (See page 9).
- The government is trying to expand the number of Access to Work users on the same level of funding to the detriment of existing users whose support is being cut.
Recommendation 3. Substantial additional funding is provided for Access to Work so pressure is not applied to reduce funding of those currently receiving AtW. (See page 14).
- Employers are failing to fulfil their duties under the Equality Act 2010.
Recommendation 4: The government focuses action on ensuring that employers fulfil their duties under the Equality Act 2010. (See page 17).
- Employers are not recruiting Disabled people and others are not making reasonable adjustments for Disabled people.
Recommendation 5. Employment support providers are commissioned to give practical advice to employers on a case by case basis to support employers to fulfil their duties under the Equality Act 2010, particularly the duty to make reasonable adjustments. (See page 17).
- Effective employment support for Deaf and Disabled people is as follows:
Deaf and Disabled people are provided with peer led, long term, one to one personalised, employment support, using the model below:
- The support is peer led i.e. provided by a Deaf and Disabled people’s user led organisation.
- An intensive, one to one personalised approach which looks holistically at Deaf and Disabled people’s needs and barriers to employment. This may include support with housing, or financially related problems.
- The employment support is not punitive, i.e. sanctions are never used.
- Training and advice is provided for local employers 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 under the Equality Act 2010, particularly those under reasonable adjustments.
(See page 21)
- Current models of payment are not working for providers of employment support so a different of model of payment is needed:
- The employment journey needs to be seen in a longer timeframe of 2 to 3 years.
- Providers are paid in instalments, with an upfront fee paid at the beginning of a Disabled person’s journey towards work; the starting fee is higher when the Disabled person is further away from job market.
- Further instalments are then paid for:
- Each significate step a Disabled person makes towards employment
- when a Disabled person obtains employment
- when employment is sustained over a named period
- advice given to employers on practical ways to fulfil the duty to make reasonable adjustments for Disabled employees.
(See page 21)
- The cut in the amount of Employment Support Allowance, (ESA) which Disabled people in the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) will push Disabled people into poverty and further away from employment.
Recommendation 8: ESA returns to a rate of £102.15 and is not cut to £73.10. (See Page 24)
- The current evidence base does not support the government’s current policy.
Recommendation 9: An independent review is commissioned to assess the evidence base regarding Disabled people claiming ESA in the WRAG and carry out a robust equality analysis to ensure the government is not in breach of its statutory duties. (See page 27)
More information about the inquiry is available at: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/work-and-pensions-committee/news-parliament-2015/disability-employment-gap-launch-15-16/
Download Inclusion London’s response: