Supplementary memorandum submitted by
the Shaw Trust (ES 14)
The contract and funding regime of
the Employment Service is putting at risk the success of the programme
by appointing contractors with little, or no experience of working
with people with disabilities.
To succeed a provider requires dedicated staff,
premises and marketing and NDDP cannot be delivered on the cheap.
What is needed is a partnership approach between
the Department of Works and Pensions and service providers, where
the financial risk is shared. The partnership approach should
be underpinned by longer-term investment, which allows Job Broking
to become established in an area
At present the ES approach to contracting is
that the procurement process is seen as an end in itself, ie obtaining
large numbers of cheap contractors is seen as the goal rather
than the delivery of the service.
The key issues on the Job Retention
and Rehabilitation service are Random Assignment and its impracticability
and invalidity. An additional problem is the cost of an invalid
approach to evaluation.
The whole approach to NDDP has been bedeviled
by "pilots" and "evaluation" allowing no proper
investment by service providers. The deadweight argument is irrelevant
for a group who, on average has been without work for more than
Disabled people appear to be `guinea pigs' in
a Treasury led experiment, which undermines the employment programme
for those facing the most severe barriers to a return to work.
The major issue is the inadequate
funding of the NDDP and the continued absence of any recognition
of the economic and social benefits of properly investing in employment
programmes for disabled people. This can only be borne out of
prejudice and discrimination by Civil Servants and politicians
over many years, which has resulted in only one in two disabled
people of working age being in employment.
This discrimination has existed for the past
50 years and resulted in little being done to enforce anti-discriminatory
practice, with only six prosecutions in the last 50 years under
the old quota system as an example of this.
The Tax Credit System does not properly
benefit people on sickness and disability benefits who return
The Working Tax Credit should be increased for
disabled people, in recognition of the higher benefits they receive.
Workstep is an improved programme
that has the potential to play a major role in the Welfare to
Two issues are:
Employment Service procrastination
in national implementation of the Pathfinder approach.
Slow progress on implementation of
the Civil Service Commissioners' decision to allow Workstep employees
to enter the Civil Service, without competition.
Work Preparation is an undervalued
programme which provides a no risk option for both employers and
disabled people, who wish to try out a job after long periods
There are concerns that the Disablement
Employment Adviser specialism may be lost in Job Centre Plus and
that Job Centre Plus may fail to recognise the many barriers faced
by Disabled People wishing to return to work.
Concern that there is no recognition
by the Social Exclusion Unit and the Cabinet Office that disabled
people who are economically inactive are the major socially excluded
group in Britain.
9 May 2002