Disability Rights UK urges rethink of Government back to work schemes
Disability Rights UK’s new report ‘Taking Control of Employment Support’ argues that the Government’s Work Programme is failing the vast majority of disabled people and is very poor value for money.
The Government currently has two programmes – The Work Programme and Work Choice – both aimed at helping people with disabilities find paid employment.
Disability Rights UK, the leading charity of its kind in the UK, canvassed the views of 530 disabled people this summer. It found that Work Choice – a more specialist programme – does some good work despite a payment incentive system which steers them away from the very people the programme is supposed to help (those facing complex barriers).
Liz Sayce, Chief Executive of Disability Rights UK said:
‘The Work Programme is a non-work programme as far as disabled people are concerned. When instead disabled people and employers decide on the support that will work, people make really individual decisions – for instance, getting skills in anything from bicycle maintenance to finance, getting a mentor who has overcome disability-related barriers, or putting in place support for the individual and employer so both know they can call if they need to. Britain will only achieve an economic recovery if it is an inclusive recovery – so disabled people can use our talents, confident we can design support that meets our individual needs and aspirations’.
The charity urges the Government to radically re-think its policy, cutting out the middle man (the Work Programme or Work Choice provider) and put power in the hands of the people who can really make employment support work – disabled people and employers – with advice available to them as needed.
78% of disabled people responding to the survey wanted more information and say over their employment support and 74% wanted to decide how the money available was spent.
In its report, Disability Rights UK calls for:
Disabled people to have more opportunities to gain experience and skills via placements in the workplace
Personalised employment support budgets to help support disabled individuals to get and keep jobs
A focus on young, disabled individuals to help them gain the necessary skills and qualifications to find jobs