Supplementary memorandum submitted by
Progress Recruitment after the publication of the Welfare Reform
All moves towards ensuring all citizens have
the right to enter the world of work is warmly welcomed.
An enabling system that acknowledges and provides
for individualised, tailored support is essential if people with
more complex barriers to employment are to be part of the included
Additional help and support must be available
to people who are at the margins. This is likely to be costly
and far from the standardised support that will be beneficial
to the majority. Rather than exclude those who need a lot more/different
support by "excusing" them from participation, it is
hoped that the application of the reform truly focuses on employment
opportunities for all.
A major and far-reaching development is the
long awaited change of name. Most people working with disability
or disabled people will be delighted by the removal of the damming
Access to occupational health support is very
warmly welcomed. As a small voluntary organisation access to help
like this will be invaluable, providing access is free or at least
Rewards for GPs are also welcomed. It is proposed
that support be available for GPs in the shape of alternatives
to offer to patients who come in search of respite from work.
Access to supported employment type support either through an
extension of pathways or as a parallel provision will see the
achievement of this aim.
To enable people to return to work the availability
of support must extend beyond "in work", to be available
in and around work to assist people to reach the stage where they
are able to return to work.
I appreciate the thinking around payment on
results; however, in order to include smaller more specialist
and successful voluntary organisations, consideration must be
given to payments in advance.
Payment of a higher rate to those with the most
significant disability makes sense, however, reward for people
in this group who do take on some form of work must be built into
the system. Please do not bar this group from the world of work.
This group must also be better off for working.
The move to protect the level of benefits of
existing claimants is essential if people are to have the confidence
to take the huge and potentially risky step of trying to work
In the delivery of welfare reform it is vital
that measures of success include distance travelled. For some
people getting to a job interview is nothing, for others it is
a million miles from where they started.
Private and voluntary organisations can play
a key role in delivering many programmes but the Government must
support the concept of full cost recovery if all voluntary organisations
can enjoy the level playing field, which enables them to provide
a broader range of services than they do currently.
The long-term goal of an 80% employment rate
is a meaningful goal. Account should be taken of the changes in
the labour market, as more employers are recruiting from overseas
and results viewed in this light.
Housing benefit is rightly acknowledged as key.
People need reassurance that their home is safe if they are to
take the brave step into paid employment.
I commend the aim of a single, transparent system,
with a single gateway to financial and back to work support for
all claimants, however that must be extended to back to and in
CHAPTER 2 HELPING
Access to practical help to audit the workplace
and make recommendations for improvements.
Accreditation linked with IIP or similar. Employers
could use this to attract potential employees.
Progress Recruitment has found many GPs are
happy to support people to return to work when they learn about
the support we offer to the employee. We believe GPs need to be
confident that support will be there for the patient. Access to
information about supported employment and the ability to refer
people for in work support would make a significant impact.
As a small business Progress Recruitment would
welcome practical support to design and implement a managing absence
policy. This would include free access to expert/legal advice.
The range is suitable, providing there is 1:1
support (where required) to ensure people can take part and benefit.
A supported employment package of vocational profile, job specification,
job search, job analysis, matching, job tasters, and in and at
work support will be required by many people in this category.
The retention of DLA is a very positive move.
This has been a major influence on people's willingness to "risk"
work, especially when they have been dependent on benefits for
many years. In some cases 02 to 30 years.
In our experience people need to have evidence
and reassurance that they will be protected. Supported permitted
work is gaining credibility and continues to be a good route for
many disabled people. Our preference is that people are encouraged
to earn "safely" rather than take part in long term
unpaid work, albeit promoted as a route to paid work. In many
instances people do not take the step. Employers often view those
they pay and those they don't very differently.