December 2014

DWP has published the latest statistics for the Work Programme. These cover the period to September 2014. Over 1.6 million people have joined the Work Programme with reducing numbers joining each month. The proportion expected to require more assistance has been around 3 times higher in those joining in the last 2 years compared to the start of the scheme.

Congratulations to CDG-WISE Ability, and their supply chain, who received the highest grade possible in their Merlin assessment. Their 90% rating reflected an assessment of "excellent" across all four areas of the assessment.

The assessors found:
* Very strong emphasis on the activities of the CDG-WISE Ability supply chain network in having a positive impact on the disabled person it supports. Values and principles are shared, embraced and are embedded in organisational practices.

The Access to Work (AtW) programme, designed to provide disabled people with practical support to stay in employment, is helping only a minority of the people it could benefit, due to inadequate funding and a lack of awareness of the programme, says the Work and Pensions Select Committee.

The Department for Education has announced it will invest a further £31.7 million in 2015 to 2016 to help local authorities in England continue to meet the costs of implementing the special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) reforms. Children and Families Minister, Edward Timpson, said:

DWP has announced that is putting £13m aside to fund specialist employability support from September 2015 until 2017. The Department for Work and Pensions intends to contract for providers of Specialist Employability Support (SES) for disabled people with the greatest barriers to work. The support will be a mix of provision depending on the customer need for either short intensive support to feed into other employment programmes, or for intensive and integrated employment support to help them access sustainable employment.

The government has announced a further £12 million is to be invested in helping people with mental health conditions return to work. The £12 million investment includes £6 million from the Department for Communities and Local Government and £6 million match-funding from pilot areas.

To coincide with the International Day of the Disabled on 3rd December 2014 Community Service Volunteers (CSV) is launching a new initiative: ‘Inspiring Disabled Young People’ . Funded by the Department for Work and Pension (DWP) it aims to inspire disabled people into work across the UK and tackle employer’s misconceptions about hiring disabled employees.

The Government has published a series of evaluation reports around the SEN pathfinders projects. The reports look at the local offer, support for 19-25yrs and workforce development. Local offer (LO) • Central and local government perspectives on what the LO should be are aligned around five core principles: collaboration in development, and accessibility, comprehensiveness, transparency and sustainability1 of the information.

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has published a 16 page report entitled Disability Confident Britain: The Disability and Health Employment Strategy: One year on which provides an update on some of the topic areas covered in the Disability Health and Employment Strategy, the discussion so far.

Law firm Leigh Day has issued a press release regarding legal action against The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith. The action on behalf of the campaign group ‘Stop Changes to Access to Work’ concerns the lack of guidance from DWP and “inconsistent, unlawful and opaque application of its policy” toward the Access to Work scheme (AtW)