Select Committee on Work and Pensions Written Evidence


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

  Papworth is a Registered Charity and Company Limited by Guarantee, which has been providing a number of services to disabled people for over eighty years.

  The Trust helps over 4,500 people each year to achieve more independence in their lives and employs 240 staff directly, who are supported by around 40 volunteers to deliver its services. The organisation operates from seven centres across the Eastern region and also delivers a number of its services on an outreach basis in local communities. As an organisation, Papworth is fairly unique in both the services it delivers and the clients it supports.

SERVICES

  Papworth provides cover the full range of social, care and work related activities and include specialist housing (including being a Social Landlord), residential care and employment related services such as vocational assessment, work preparation, vocational rehabilitation, and support in to and during employment.

  Papworth works with people with physical disabilities, learning disabilities, mental health conditions and/or acquired disabilities. Wherever possible, Papworth cooperates with partner organisations from the private, public and voluntary sectors in order to offer appropriate expertise and services to its clients. These organisations include Jobcentre Plus, Social Services, Health Services, Legal Services Commission, educational establishments, private employers and other voluntary sector service providers. They can act as funding providers as well as referral or signposting bodies.

GENERAL COMMENT

  Papworth supports the aspiration of Government to make UK society non-discriminatory, inclusive and with equality of opportunity for all.

  Papworth also support the view that paid employment is a fundamental means of overcoming disadvantage, poverty and welfare dependency.

  In Papworth's experience many barriers still exist for disabled people in finding, securing and sustaining employment, and that these exist within our work culture and welfare systems. Whilst Papworth welcomes and supports welfare to work reform it also cautions Government on a number of issues it has identified within the Green Paper.

  These issues are summarised below and will be given in further detail when the Trust submits its full consultation response.

SUPPORT FOR PEOPLE WITH MORE COMPLEX NEEDS

  It is the view of Papworth that much of the reform and initiative proposed in the Green paper are aimed at supporting the most able and ready to work client group who will be new claimants of incapacity benefit (IB).

  All research has indicated that the longer a person remains on IB, the less likelihood there is of that person returning to employment.

  Papworth has experience through delivery of New Deal for Disabled People (NDDP) and its Vocational Rehabilitation Programme, that people with the most complex needs can be supported back into employment if appropriate resource is made available.

  The Trust is concerned by the lack of detail within the Green Paper on how people with more complex support needs will be provided the opportunity to move back into work.

  (Papworth has detailed research for its Vocational rehabilitation programme that it will make available to DWP—not yet unless you can think of a credible way of saying unpublished research!)

PERMITTED WORK

  The Green Paper has not put forward proposals for the development of permitted work within benefit reform.

  In the Trust's experience permitted work is a valuable stepping stone for many people returning to paid employment. Restrictions on permitted work and benefit disregard should be removed, so that work under 16 hours can be used as an effective means of supporting people back into employment. Fully paid permitted work could be time limited, subject to review.

  Fully paid permitted work would be an essential element in lifting benefit dependency, increasing self esteem and underpinning the value of paid work for disabled people.

CAPACITY OF JOBCENTRE PLUS (JCP)

  Papworth believes that the capacity and expertise of JCP frontline staff will be overburdened by the process requirements of the suggested reforms within the Green Paper.

  Issues remain unanswered over the capability to deliver the Work Focussed Interview process and the expertise of JCP staff to effectively assess the needs of customers with often complex needs.

  Papworth believes that the handling of these assessment is crucial, which is an area of significant risk within the reforms. More engagement of specialist disability organisations with the appropriate levels of competency to assess customer need would minimise this risk and would ultimately provide better value to Government.

INVESTMENT IN PATHWAYS TO WORK ROLLOUT

  Like many organisations Papworth's experience of the existing Pathways to Work model is one of high levels of resource achieving current outcomes. Proposed future investment supports the view that national rollout of the programme will be delivered a greatly reduced level which would only be effective for people who are closer to work, thereby further disadvantaging customers with more complex needs.



 
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