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Select committee access to work report

19 December 2014

Access to Work problems stop disabled people working  

Statement on access to work

The select committee report confirms the sad truth about Access to Work. It could be, and should be, a transformative service to support disabled people into employment.

Instead, disabled people experience a penny pinching, bureaucratic mess which is difficult to navigate – which stops disabled people from working: the exact opposite of Government Policy intention.  And those groups of disabled people who find it particularly hard to get jobs – such as those with mental health conditions, autism or people who are Deaf – seem to find it particularly difficult to get the support they need from Access to Work.

Promises from the minister to improve administration and transparency are something but 3 years after the government accepted the Sayce report recommendations, they have still not been implemented. Why not?

Better use of existing resources, and using the money saved from other employment programmes, could and would increase the uptake of Access to Work, which would in turn see more disabled people take up employment.

Access to Work is a gateway to employment and independence for disabled people. If the government genuinely wants to support this in practice, it needs to take some action and make some changes, instead of just talking about it.

DR UK hears constantly from disabled people having their awards reviewed and cut, and Deaf people having their communications support reduced – thus jeopardising their employment. Disabled people in work and those trying to build up their businesses have been hit hard by recent cost control measures, questionable interpretation of the AtW guidance, and poorly managed administrative changes.

Money saved in the overall disability employment programme budget has not been poured into Access to Work.

DR UK is working with other organisations led by disabled people – including Action on Disability and Work UK, Essex Coalition of Disabled People, Fluidity and Spectrum CIL– and all report that disabled people are having their support cut at AtW reviews thus jeopardising their continued employment.

Access to Work is a successful programme but it needs investment in disabled people’s potential – not to be treated like a benefit that is meted out through complex, archaic and off-putting systems.

NB Access to Work will be a major theme of our AGM that will be taking place in London on 26th January 2014.