March 2014

NDTi has published a report that looks at the effectiveness of commissioning of supported employment services. It finds significant variability in the cost of employment support services and costs per job outcome achieved that cannot be explained by factors such as complexity of people’s disability or size of service. The study concludes that variable cost and outcomes is primarily explained by one or both of the service model being used and the strategic organisational actions taken.

From 31st March 2014, Access to Work will be available to support disabled customers, who are starting a work experience placement. For those customers in contact with Jobcentreplus, they will be directed to Access to Work through the Jobcentre. Individuals who are not in contact with Jobcentreplus but wanting to start a work experience programme should contact Access to Work in the normal way on 0845 268 8489 or 0345 268 8489.

DWP has published official statistics to 31 December 2013 on Work Programme referrals, attachments, validated job outcome payments and sustainment payments. Cohort outcome rates remain very low for ESA customers.

Unfortunately, the regional member network meetings for Wales (20 March) and North West England (28 March) have had to be postponed. New dates will be circulated soon and listed at http://base-uk.org/regions

Minister of State for Disabled People Mike Penning, has announced that the Independent Living Fund (ILF) is to close on 30th June 2015.
Last year the Court of Appeal ruled against the Government's earlier decision to close the Fund, saying the government had not given proper consideration to issues raised by the Equality Act.The DWP press release issued yesterday ( 6th March 2014) advises that the DWP has carried out a new equality analysis to enable ministers to make a new decision about the future of the fund.

Employment Minister, Esther McVey, has announced that the Government is to terminate Newcastle College Group's contract to deliver the Work Programme in North East Yorkshire and the Humber. An alternative provider is to be sought.

The announcement follows a review of the lowest performing 25% of contractors on the programme. In a writtern ministerial statement, Esther McVey said:

EAST Kent College is celebrating after winning the Association of Colleges (AoC) Beacon Award for its supported employment programmes for students with learning difficulties and disabilities. The honour was presented at a ceremony held on Thursday, February 27. College staff were joined by supported interns and the employers involved as well as other members of the local community.