16 June 2011
Disability campaigning organisation RADAR has published an independent review of the Government’s specialist disability employment programmes, highlighting the need for personalised support and a doubling of people using the Access to Work Programme.
The report, Getting in, staying in and getting on, by Liz Sayce, Chief Executive of RADAR, was published by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), 9 June.
It says that “Evidence from across learning disability, mental health, physical rehabilitation and beyond shows consistently that support that is flexible, personalised, long lasting when needed, with a rapid focus on job search, is more effective than a series of stepping stones to employment. It also shows support must be available to the employer.”
Describing the Access to Work Programme as the Government’s “best kept secret,” the review recommends doubling the numbers of people able to use Access to Work support and raising the overall numbers securing specialist disability employment support to 100,000.
It suggests that this can be achieved within existing resources by “ensuring government funding is spent where it can have most impact, by better partnership working to maximise the contribution of government, employers, service providers and disabled people themselves; and by reducing the costs of assessments, driving down costs of services and equipment, encouraging suppliers to compete, empowering employees and employers to have far easier access to information, peer support and cost-effective solutions.”
The review also suggests “using benefit savings to fund more support for more people through Access to Work (the AME-DEL switch).”
The DWP says: "This independent report contains a range of specific recommendations, and the Government intends to consult on these before moving to any decisions. A full response and consultation will be issued shortly."