Select Committee on Work and Pensions Written Evidence

Supplementary memorandum by Employment Opportunities following the publication of the Welfare Reform Green Paper

  1.  Employment Opportunities for People with Disabilities (Employment Opportunities) welcomes the opportunity to make a further submission to the select committee following the publication on 24 January 2006 of DWPs Green Paper "A new deal for welfare—Empowering people to work".

  2.  A copy of the press release issued by Employment Opportunities on 25 January 2006 with our initial comment on the Green Paper is attached. The charity has welcomed the proposals in principle but has emphasised its view that welfare reform must be underpinned by adequate and appropriate employment services.

  3.  The charity welcomes the commitment to a national roll-out of the Pathways pilots by 2008. We have noted from Chapter 5 Para 11 of the Green Paper that there is to be further consultation about employment services for disabled people later in the year. We support, in principle, the concept of a flexible menu of provision from which services for individuals can be drawn on an individually-tailored basis. However, pending further detail on the Government's proposals in this area and the opportunity to comment on them, Employment Opportunities continues to be concerned about future employment-related provision for people with more serious conditions or more complex eeds, who may be further away from being job ready or who may need support for a longer period once they have entered work. We welcome the acknowledgement that the voluntary sector and other providers have an important role to play in helping people off benefit into work and we are pleased also to see the proposals aimed at increasing city council involvement in the provision of resources and facilities for this purpose.

14 February 2006

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