The statistics for being in any kind of employment if you are disabled are grim. The government knows this and has decided, rather late in the day, to accompany its plan of reducing the benefits bill for all disabled people with some ideas to improve opportunities for getting into and staying in, work. The Department for Work and Pensions has published a new Disability and Health Employment Strategy: the discussion so far that sets out a range of proposals to improve employment chances for disabled people. We are promised a follow-on document in 2014 around how these proposals will be delivered.
Some of the significant proposals are:
- creating a One Stop Shop for employers that will include
- an Information Portal giving employers easy access to information about their obligations under the Equality Act 2010
- account management for larger employers, supporting them to attract, recruit and retain more disabled people and people with health conditions
- advice and toolkits for smaller employers
- improving the Access to Work programme – but there’s no indication of any more funding for this;
- providing links to the new Health and Work Service, by providing more direct access to expert help on occupational health
There are also proposals for more specialised employment support to hep individuals get into, stay in and progress in work. It’s difficult to know whether this will translate into employment support advisers who might actually know something about MS.
There are also some rather woolly proposals around better support for individuals with common mental health conditions, including developing an Outcome Indicator for GPs around their employment. This probably won’t have any positive effect on people with MS.
So, as always, a mixed bag. We need to see the detailed delivery plan of how these proposals will be put into practice to assess how useful it might be for people with MS who want to work but are currently unable to.
The original document is here:
Author: Alice, Policy Officer