Memorandum submitted by Progress Recruitment
What are the implications of DWP's proposals for
the new structure of incapacity benefits? Do they address the
complications inherent in the existing incapacity benefits system?
Is a dual benefit the right approach? Could it be improved?
1. The approach to change the inherent message
of "incapable" is warmly welcomed. I support the notion
of dual benefit based on need rather than ability to work. If
we start from the premise that all people are capable of work
but acknowledge that for some that may not be achievable because
the support they need is not available. For example someone with
profound and multiple disabilities is more likely to succeed in
the work if he/she has 1:1 specialist support and is supported
in a job that has been carved to make full use of the persons
skills in relation to the employers need. If this level of support
and expertise were not available then the person would need to
remain on the higher benefit. I propose that care is taken not
to exclude people with potential simply because the complexity
of their needs means they are less likely to access mainstream
Will the reforms help to improve work incentives
for sick and disabled people?
2. From a service providers perspective
yes. Especially the safety net of return to benefit if the job
is not the right job. A reassurance that a return to benefit is
not a once only option, people often need to try a variety of
jobs. The nature of work, in for example Blackpool, is often seasonal.
People need to feel secure taking seasonal work and when the job
ends being able to return to benefits. Having shown he/she can
work should not be punished.
Is it possible to distinguish between those who
are able to return to work and those who cannot?
3. I believe where people have significant
disabilities the potential for success in employment is often
not visible to those without the first hand experience of good
employment support services. This is potentially damaging for
people who are too often more successful in work than others with
more minor disabilities where the person is not motivated to work
or is unsupported. I would therefore suggest that there may be
a way to distinguish, however, it needs to be assessed on a broad
range of criteria, not simply skills and perceived ability.
Will the reforms address the main areas of concern
with the current system?
4. Yes, especially if sufficient work is
done on the prevailing attitudes and perceptions.
Are people with different disabilities and health
conditions, in both pilot and non-pilot areas, given appropriate
support by Jobcentre Plus? Is there a tendency to help those perceived
as closer to the labour market?
5. The perception is that those with high
support needs will be excluded. This may not be the reality.
How do personal advisers work in collaboration
with other Jobcentre Plus staff such as Disability Employment
Advisers and with Job Brokers?
6. The relationship between local JCP and
Progress is seamless. There is a shared commitment to work collaboratively
in our shared goal of employment success. Likewise our relationship
with Shaw Trust (as job brokers) is solid and focused on the outcome
for the job seeker.
7. We work collaboratively by establishing
a value base, being clear about the goal and freely giving and
sharing our individual expertise and contribution for the benefit
of the job seeker.
Have the private and voluntary sectors been successfully
involved in the Pathways pilots? How can they be further involved
in the reform of incapacity benefits?
8. Sadly not allcertainly not smaller
organisations. Access to a common ground forum would helpperhaps
through the Local Area Agreement forum?