14 October 2008
The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) held its third consultation event for the Welfare Reform Green Paper, No one written off, in Edinburgh on Thursday 9 October.
The day started with an address by John Shaw, Minister for Disabled People, followed by a presentation by Dr Sheila Riddell, from Edinburgh University, about disabled people and employment in Scotland. Gavin Hay, Technical Development Manager for City Building (Glasgow) talked about getting female lone parents into construction.
Gayle Leiper, Employment Services Manager for Scotland at Employment Opportunities, then addressed delegates from a provider perspective, which was followed by a Q&A panel session.
Delegates were invited to choose two workshop sessions in the afternoon. Options included:
- Active steps towards work - helping more, expecting more - considered the proposals in Chapter 2 regarding Work for Benefit, problem drug users, skills for jobseekers, obligation to work.
- Strategies to increase parental employment - discussed the Green Paper proposals for partners of benefit customers and the new measures to enhance skills for lone parents.
- Simplifying and streamlining the benefit system - focused on proposals to abolish Income Support, moving Income Support claimants (including carers) to a modified Jobseekers Allowance, as well as the potential for a longer-term move to a single income-replacement benefit for people of working age.
- Encouraging innovation and the process for providers - considered the issues around Chapter 7 of the Green Paper on the implications for the private and voluntary sectors including the triple devolution of power, Right To Bid, links with the Integrated Employment & skills agenda and with the proposals outlined in Chapter 3 for harnessing the innovation of the private and voluntary sectors.
- ESA as an active benefit: supporting disabled people into work - considered proposals for engaging with existing Incapacity Benefit (IB) customers, so they are not left behind and written off. Aimed to provide an overview of plans to move existing IB customers onto ESA (Employment Support Allowance), providing more back to work support for those who can work and better financial security for those who cannot.
- Improving the focus on work: Next steps for the Work Capability Assessment - further development of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) is being considered and this session was to discuss:
- Reviewing the WCA to ensure that people are receiving the right benefit and their personal needs are identified.
- Re-assessing all existing Incapacity Benefit claimants using the WCA, to assess eligibility for ESA.
Action for M.E. is currently collating and analysing responses from its recent survey and focus groups in preparation for its consultation response to the Welfare Green Paper: No one written off – reforming welfare to reward responsibility.