Select Committee on Work and Pensions Written Evidence

Supplementary evidence submitted by Remploy after the publication of the Welfare Reform Green Paper

  1.  We welcome the Government's commitment, in the Welfare Reform Green Paper, to getting one million people off Incapacity Benefits and back into work and commend them for setting a clear target. However it is important that, in the drive for targets, people with more complex needs are also properly supported. Social inclusion demands that people with complex needs who want to work be given the chance to do so.

  2.  The operational implementation of the personal capability assessment (PCA) needs to ensure that all disabled people who want to work are encouraged to take up the very positive support available under Pathways and that no one, who wants to work, is assumed to be unable to do so.

  3.  As part of the Welfare Reform proposals, the Government is proposing to roll out the Pathways to Work initiative across the country. We are of course in favour of extending this level of support. However many of those with the most complex support needs such as those with mental health conditions and learning disabilities risk losing access to this support as many will have been screened out through their personal capability assessment (PCA).

  4.  The latest Pathways to Work evaluation ("Incapacity Benefit reforms—Pathways to Work pilots performance and analysis" DWP working paper no 26) demonstrates that over 37% of candidates are screened out of the process due to their disability or health condition as assessed at their PCA. We endorse the Government's view that all people who want support should have access to it and encourage them to ensure that the detailed processes deliver this in practice and do not perpetuate one of the problems with the existing welfare regime; that work is not seen to form part of an individual's rehabilitation and that certain conditions are seen as making work unsuitable for that individual.

  5.  For example, many people with mental health conditions and learning disabilities do work—and very successfully. But very many do not. Only 20% of the 675,000 people with mental health conditions and barely 25% of the 160,000 people with learning disabilities work. These people face the greatest barriers to work and we should be seeking ways of breaking down these barriers. Remploy has demonstrated that it can be done. Last year we found over 1,500 jobs in mainstream employment for people with learning disabilities or mental health conditions. We are committed to working with Jobcentre Plus and other job brokers to do even more.

  6.  This is exactly why Remploy alongside RADAR, Mencap, Mind, Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health, Disability Rights Commission, Employment Opportunities, Work Directions and Papworth Trust have jointly created a unique taskforce to identify and promote proven strategies for raising the employment levels of these two client groups. Collectively the taskforce members have helped thousands of people with mental health conditions and learning disabilities into inclusive mainstream employment. We also recognised however that despite our collective success the overall numbers in employment for these two groups was unacceptably low.

  7.  The taskforce is committed to finding more effective routes to sustainable employment for people with mental health conditions and learning disabilities. That commitment will mean implementing effective strategies across taskforce members as well as suggesting policy changes within the context of Pathways to Work and the current Green Paper.

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