Improving Lives The Work, Health & Disability Green Paper
Government publishes "Improving Lives The Work, Health & Disability Green Paper"
The long-awaited Green Paper on disability employment has been launched . The Government is seeking views on what it will take to transform employment prospects for disabled people and people with long-term health conditions via a consultation [closing date 17 February 2017]
There is encouraging content in Improving Lives about joint working with health services; access to specialists within Jobcentre Plus; and improved engagement with employers, including a pilot offer for small business. There is a continued emphasis on the need for personalised support and the paper commits to an extra £15 million a year in 2017/18 and 2018/19 for the Flexible Support Fund so that local managers can buy services including mentoring and better engage the third sector in their community. The paper commits to "undertake comprehensive research to better understand how best to engage with people in the Support Group and those found to have limited capability for work and work-related activity in Universal Credit".
The document sets out a range of objectives and Government says that it will:
- ensure that disabled people and people with long-term health conditions have equal access to labour market opportunities and are given the support they need to prevent them from falling out of work and to progress in workplaces which embed effective health and wellbeing practices
- help employers take action to create a workforce that reflects society as a whole and where employers are equipped to take a long-term view on the skills and capability of their workforce, managing an ageing workforce and increased chronic conditions to keep people in work, rather than reacting only when they lose employees
- ensure people are able to access the right employment and health services, at the right time and in a way which is personalised to their circumstances and integrated around their need
- more effectively integrate the health and social care and welfare systems to help disabled people and people with long-term health conditions move into and remain in sustainable employment;• put mental and physical health on an equal footing, to ensure people get the right care and prevent mental illness in the first place
- invest in innovation to gain a better understanding of what works, for whom, why and at what cost so we can scale promising approaches quickly
- change cultures and mind-sets across all of society: employers, health services, the welfare system and among individuals
The Green Paper commits the Government to 'early action' in the following areas:
- significantly improving employment support: e.g. expanding the number of employment advisers in talking therapies
- introducing a new Personal Support Package offering tailored employment support accessed via Jobcentre Plus work coaches
- working with health partners such as NHS England, Public Health England, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, Health Education England, the Royal Colleges and regulators to embed evidence into clinical practice and support training and education across the NHS workforce
- investing £115 million of funding to develop new models of support to help people into work when they are managing a long-term health condition or disability.