November 2015

The Government has announced that the Work Programme and Work Choice are to be merged into a new Work and Health Programme from 2017. The announcement came as part of the Spending Review. DWP is facing budget cuts of 14% and this is likely to have influenced the decision. BASE will be pressing for assurances about access to appropriate employment support for people with substantial disabilities.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Social Market Foundation have jointly published a new report that argues for welfare reform. They argue for: * a slimmed down JCP to act as a gateway to Government services and providing help to those nearest the labour market * a new segmentation tool to identify individual support needs so that personalised funding and support can be agreed * an extension of the Work Programme * a new programme for those "with the greatest needs" and those leaving the Work Programme without finding employment

DWP has published the results of its PAT reviews of contracted employment programme providers The Provider Assurance Team (PAT) reviews systems of internal control that Contracted Employment Provision (CEP) providers have in place. This report provides the assurance levels for each review undertaken.

A new Disability Confident Award has just been launched to recognise Local Authorities that demonstrate best practice as an employer. The award is part of the annual Municipal Journal awards and nominations are open from now until 5 February 2016. The winner will be announced in June 2016.

This new award category recognises Local Authorities that demonstrate disability confidence as an employer.

Judges will be looking for evidence of:
* The development or introduction of adult employability services, targeted at disabled people.

New research from Leonard Cheshire shows 59% of adults with a disability or long-term health condition feel disclosing it to a potential employer would negatively affect their chances of securing a job.

In a survey of more than 400 people with a disability or health condition:
* 59% were not confident disclosing their condition to a potential employer, whether in their CV or during an interview, would not negatively affect their chances of securing a job
* 29% disagreed they had the same opportunities at work as their non-disabled colleagues

A new research report has concluded that the Work Capability Assessment may have caused adverse effects on the mental health of claimants whose benefit entitlement was assessed. In what is believed to be the first research of its kind to examine the mental health impact of the work capability assessment (WCA) in England, experts said there could be “serious consequences” of the policy to move people off benefits, which they said had been introduced without any evidence of its potential impact.

A new survey by Mencap has found that many employers remain uneasy about the role they are expected to play in closing the disability employment gap. Only 16% of UK employers felt confident that the disability employment gap would be halved. The survey also reveals nervousness about how customers and staff might interact with people with learning disabilities.