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Employment Programmes for Disability-related Barriers to Work

Volume 519: debated on Thursday 2 December 2010

The Government are today announcing an independent review of the support the Government provide to disabled people who want to work.

Since taking office in May 2010, the coalition Government have set out an ambitious programme of employment support to ensure that people disadvantaged in the labour market will get the help they need to find and keep jobs. Our aim is that Government programmes should support more disabled people than ever before into sustainable employment.

The Department will introduce the Work programme —an integrated package of support providing personalised help to a broad range of customers. The Work programme will cater for a wide range of disabled people. The Government recognise that many customers have complex disability-related barriers and may require more specialist support. In October 2010, the Government launched Work Choice—a new programme of support designed to help customers with more complex disability-related barriers find and sustain work. The Work programme and Work Choice are an important stride forward in providing simple, effective customer service that draws on the best evidence about what works. A range of other, specialist programmes currently sit alongside the Work programme and Work Choice—Remploy, residential training colleges and access to work. All provide valued support for disabled people. This review is designed to ensure there is a cohesive set of measures in place which meet the needs of disabled people in sustaining employment.

In the current fiscal climate it is more important than ever that the funding available for employment support is used more effectively. Decisions on the use of the available funding should draw on robust evidence about what works in the modern labour market and on how the support meets the needs of individual disabled people. In this context, the review will examine DWP’s current employment support for people with severe disability-related barriers to work, and make recommendations about how this can be further improved to provide better value for money over the life of this Parliament.

To support this review I have today published a call for evidence to inform the review. This provides an opportunity for people and organisations to submit evidence that will inform the development of our future strategy. This call for evidence will close on 28 February 2011. I expect to publish the outcome of the review by summer 2011.

The review will be conducted by Liz Sayce, chief executive of the disability organisation RADAR.

The terms of reference for the review and the call for evidence are available on the Department’s website at: http://dwp.gov.uk/consultations/. They are also available in the Vote Office and the Printed Paper Office.