March 2013

The latest edition of Easy News - the first newspaper designed for people with learning disabilities - has been published.

Using simple language and visual cues, the newspaper gives readers a round up of the biggest stories of the last few months, including the horsemeat scandal, a new report into disability benefits and the EU referendum.

DWP has produced a toolkit of communications materials to help staff and stakeholders explain the DWP welfare reforms. The toolkit explains the context behind the reforms and provides an overview of all the changes that DWP will be delivering over the next few years. It is available at http://www.qbasemail.com/dwp/mailresponse.asp?tid=870&em=432640&turl=htt...

DWP has published the second in a series of research reports aiming to evaluate the Work Programme in terms of the way it is commissioned, how it is delivered, how claimants experience support and whether it leads to additional employment outcomes. This research is part of a comprehensive evaluation of the Work Programme, commissioned in 2011 to provide an independent assessment of delivery and performance.

NDTi has published interim findings from research into the cost effectiveness of local authority and NHS investment in employment supports for people with learning disabilities and people with mental health problems.

The initial key findings include that:
* After a period of increased spend, investment in supporting people into paid work appears to have declined in 2012/13
* Many commissioners do not have access to the data they need on services they commission to ensure they are achieving best value for money

The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) and the Royal College of Psychiatrists have issued a joint statement on integrated individual budgets. They are committed to facilitating the recovery of people with mental health problems through personalisation and support the use of Personal Budgets in social care and Personal Health Budgets in the NHS. Their joint statement says:

Community Jobs Scotland has received funding for another year, allowing a further 1,000 young people to be employed within the Scottish voluntary sector. Announcing the £6.3m of funding for 2013/14, Scottish employment minister, Angela Constance, revealed that for the first time a proportion of the funding would be ringfenced for young people with a disability or long-term illness. £550,000 is to be ringfenced, providing 100 jobs for young people with a disability or long-term illness.

A new UK study has found that employees with disabilities are twice as likely to be attacked at work and they experience higher rates of insults, ridicule and intimidation.

Researchers from Cardiff and Plymouth universities found that people with physical or psychological disabilities or long-term illness reported higher rates of 21 types of ill-treatment than other workers did, often from their managers and colleagues. These included being given impossible deadlines and being ignored, gossiped about or teased.

Think Local Act Personal (TLAP) is working with the Towards Excellence in Adult Social Care Programme to develop practical advice and guidance for council managers and their partners on how to maximise the efficiency and effectiveness of the resources for adult social care. It has published two reports and a toolkit for councils.

ResPublica has published Responsible Recovery: A social contract for local growth. The report calls for a more joined-up approach to government policy on welfare, poverty and employment.

Arguing that we need localism that creates work and opportunity, rooting recovery in the communities that are most crying out for it, the report calls for a 'social contract' between residents, local business, service providers and the wider community, which would account for the needs of local labour markets, community networks and social assets.

Social Firms UK has launched its new Social Firms InfoMine service. Infomine is a new online diagnostic and support tool for Social Firms and other Work Integration Social Enterprises.