8 Conclusion |
202. The Government's aim of helping people with
disabilities and long-term health conditions into employment is
laudable but the scale of the challenge should not be underestimated.
We know that a very large proportion of people who will be in
the Work Programme will have previously claimed incapacity benefits
or Employment and Support Allowance. For the Government to succeed
in its objectives for the reassessment and the Work Programme
it is therefore critical that it effectively links up the findings
of the Work Capability Assessment with the support available under
the Work Programme.
203. It is important for claimants, Work Programme
providers and the overall efficiency of the system that the decision
on whether an individual is fit for and capable of work is accurate
the first time it is made. Our central conclusion is that the
assessment process, as it is designed at the moment, does not
accurately assess claimants' employability and needs in the workplace.
204. The current approach of using the benefit
claimed as a proxy for the needs of a client is not sufficient
in determining appropriate employment support. It is also the
cause of much of the confusion and anxiety amongst claimants who
do not understand whether the WCA is for the purpose of determining
eligibility for a benefit or capability for work. At the moment,
by trying to do a bit of both, it is not achieving either effectively.
205. The Government and Work Programme providers
will need to communicate effectively and regularly about whether
the WCA is accurately assessing employability. This information
can then be used to inform the levels of support for future Work
Programme contracts and will support the introduction of the Universal
Credit in due course.