-A A +A
Select color visibility that suits you Basic theme Dark theme Darker theme Text only

Number of DWP disability employment advisers falls by a third during the pandemic

06 April 2021

The DWP is facing questions over its commitment to disability equality after new figures revealed the number of Disability Employment Advisers (DEAs) fell sharply during the pandemic, while the number of mainstream Work Coaches soared.

The figures were finally released – weeks late – by the DWP, in response to a freedom of information request by the Disability News Service (DNS).

They show that at the start of 2021 there were just 447 full time equivalent DEAs in post across the DWP, compared with 661 on 1 February 2020.

But over the same period, the number of Work Coaches across the DWP rose from 12,555 full time equivalent on 1 February 2020 to more than 19,000 at the start of this year, as part of ministers’ pledge to recruit 13,500 new Work Coaches to deal with the pandemic unemployment crisis.

This means that the number of DEAs fell by 32% during the pandemic while the number of Work Coaches was rising by 51%.

According to a parliamentary briefing, DEAs are trained to “help Disabled people to find suitable jobs, and work alongside work coaches to provide additional professional expertise”.

In March last year, the Minister for Disabled People, Justin Tomlinson, stressed the importance of the DEA role, suggesting to MPs that they would play a key part in achieving the government’s target of seeing one million more Disabled people in work between 2017 and 2027.

Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey then announced last July that the number of mainstream Work Coaches would be doubled to 27,000 by March this year.

The DWP told DNS that both DEAs and work coaches support Disabled jobseekers and those with complex health conditions, and so the figures provided in the freedom of information response should be taken as a combined total of the support the department provides.

Ken Butler DR UK’s Welfare Rights and Policy Adviser said: "An increase in the number of DWP work coaches is not in itself an answer to increasing the number of Disabled people in employment.

"The DWP should be aiming to recruit far more DEA’s not dramatically cut their provision.

"The disability employment gap remains high, Disabled people having an employment rate that is around 30 percentage points lower than that of non-disabled people.

"Generic work coaches with limited knowledge of health and disability and the huge barriers Disabled people face, ranging from inaccessible workplaces to employer attitudes, cannot be as effective as individual DEA claimant support.”

Source and for more information DWP admits number of disability employment advisers plunged during pandemic available from disabilitynewsservice.com.