July 2012

Professor Malcolm Harrington has said that he is to stand down once he's completed the third annual review of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA). Professor Harrington has recommended a number of improvements to the operation of the WCA and has said that he is confident that all his recommendations have been implemented.

EUSE has announced the Call for Papers for the 11th EUSE Conference entitled “Building an Inclusive Europe through Supported Employment”

This significant event is an inter-disciplinary conference open to professionals at every level within the Disability, Community and Business sector who support people with disabilities or marginalised groups into mainstream supported employment opportunities. It also is open to academics/ educators at any stage of their career as well as people with disabilities and their families.

Confirmed plenary speaker to date are :

All the Work Programme prime providers have now passed the Merlin Standard. The Standard assesses the supply chain behaviours of providers against four core principles; Supply Chain Design, Commitment, Conduct and Review. Against each of these principles providers are assessed as being excellent (*5% or more), good (70% to 84%), satisfactory (55% to 69%) or unsatisfactory (below 54%.

Individual review reports from the first assessments are available to download at http://www.merlinstandard.co.uk/merlin-accredited-organisations.php

The Government has announced that the employer subsidy previously announced for young disabled people finding work through Work Choice is now operational. From today, employers can claim a payment of up to £2,275 when they recruit a young disabled person through Work Choice.

The subsidy will sit alongside the £1 billion Youth Contract and was extended to Work Choice following criticism that it only previously applied to young poeople finding work through the Work Programme.

Minister for Disabled People, Maria Miller said:

The Department of Health has published an implementation framework for No Health without Mental Health. The Mental health implementation framework sets out what employers, schools, businesses, local authorities, housing organisations, voluntary groups and health and care organisations can do to promote good mental health, whether it’s clinical commissioning groups appointing mental health leads, schools developing awareness programmes to help staff recognise pupils at risk, or employers supporting the mental health of their workforce.

The July 2012 official statistics show that, for the latest period 55 per cent of new claimants who go through the Work Capability Assessment are found fit for some form of work, 20 per cent could be capable of doing some work with the right help and support and a further 26 per cent of people will go directly into the Support Group, receiving unconditional financial support.

Goldsmiths College, University of London, is carrying out a large-scale study of people's experience of autism spectrum diagnosis in the UK. Their aim is to gather the most comprehensive range of experiences and opinions about diagnosis.

The Government has announced that fees of up to £1,200 may be charged for taking a claim to an Employment Tribunal. The introduction of fees is part of the Government's Employment Law Review and follows the Ministry of Justice's consultation.

ERSA, ACEVO and NCVO have launched a guide, ‘Perfect Partners: strengthening relationships within employment services supply chains’. The guide uses case studies from a range of different supply chain models to demonstrate examples of best practice from employment programmes, including the Work Programme, Work Choice and Access to Work.

DWP has updated the provider guidance for Work Choice. The full guidance is available at http://www.dwp.gov.uk/supplying-dwp/what-we-buy/welfare-to-work-services...

The changes are listed below:

Section 1
• Added new ESF Match Funding requirements, links etc

Section 2
• Amended 2.16 to state that the whole of form WCSR01 needs to be sent to JCP, not just page one.

Section 3
• Added bullet requiring the Provider to explain what support they will give to participants with any travel and childcare costs.