Values Into Action Scotland believes that people with learning difficulties and individuals on the autistic spectrum should have the opportunity to have paid employment.
We understand that, for many, good quality support is needed to help them achieve this. People with learning difficulties and individuals on the autistic spectrum who have enjoyed a successful working life have told us that the support that works for them is:-
* Good quality benefits advice
* Help to think about and plan out what an ideal job might look like
* Job finding support
* Help to talk to employers
* Support on/ off the job
* A career for life (with planning and support to achieve this)
This process is often referred to as Supported Employment.
Currently there is no UK wide programme that offers this type and level of support. Instead, there is growing concern that many people with legitimate significant support needs who undergo the Work Capability Assessment are being told that:-
* They are ineligible for Employment Support Allowance and are transferred onto time limited Job Seekers Allowance.
* They are ineligible to be placed in the Employment Support Allowance Support Group. Instead they find themselves in the Employment Support Allowance Work Related Activity Group.
From either of these two scenarios, people are often then placed onto the Work Programme. Following investigation, Panorama recently aired a programme exposing the following:-
* Work Programme providers are only helping a very small fraction of disabled people into work.
* They are failing to refer people to sub-contractor charities who could potentially offer better supports.
* The level of service some disabled people are receiving is less than for other people on the Work Programme. Face to face contact is, in many cases, being replaced with telephone contact. The programme referred to this process as ‘parking’.
* A Work Programme provider can legitimately claim £14,000 if a disabled person finds and sustains a job beyond three months.
* The Work Programme is failing deliver for disabled people.
* A more comprehensive person centred approach is required to help people to overcome the multiple barriers they face.
* Only 1/5 of disabled people have found jobs via the Work Programme.
* The current Work Programme is clearly not fit for purpose and requires urgent review.
* There is research evidence available to demonstrate that the supported employment approach costs on average £7,500 per year and can demonstrate paid employment outcomes for the majority of people supported. Adopting this approach across the UK, would therefore save money, deliver better outcomes and provide the holistic, person centred supports that many people need to achieve success.