February 2012

The Guardian is reporting that Defence Minister Nick Harvey, a Liberal Democrat, has expressed concerns that Work Programme prime providers are taking advantage of small local charities struggling with cash flow.

The Government has published an evaluation of 14 Project Search ‘demonstration’ sites in England. The Project Search model helps disabled people secure and keep paid permanent jobs. It is particularly suited to people with moderate and severe learning disabilities or autism, and others who can benefit from partnership working to help them into work.

The Guardian has reported that some long-term sick and disabled people face being forced to work unpaid for an unlimited amount of time or have their benefits cut under plans being drawn up by the Department for Work and Pensions.

The NHS Information Centre has published a report that looks into the prevalence of autistic spectrum conditions in England.

Employment Minister, Chris Grayling, has announced that official statistics for the Work Programme, including referral data, will be published for the first time on 21 February.

Further updates on statistics will be published quarterly. The Government had so far refused to publish any details of out comes on the Work Programme. It has also refused to publish details of outcomes or participation on the Work Choice programme despite it being operational now for over 15 months.

The government's focus on alleged fraud and overclaiming to justify cuts in disability benefits has caused an increase in resentment and abuse directed at disabled people, as they find themselves being labelled as scroungers, six of the country's biggest disability groups have warned.