December 2013

The Government has published a discussion paper on the Disability and Health Employment Strategy. The paper sets out a range of proposals to further improve employment support. It will be followed in 2014 by publication of the government’s delivery plan. The proposals focus on: • supporting employers to recruit, retain and develop disabled people and people with health conditions; • enabling more young disabled people and people with health conditions to make a successful transition from education to employment;

The Council for Disabled Children (CDC), together with the Association of Colleges, Preparing for Adulthood and Natspec has produce a briefing designed to support further education colleges and approved independent specialist providers in preparing for the SEND reforms. The briefing outlines the new duties on FE colleges and ISPs from September 2014 including that: * The definition of special educational needs (SEN) is extended to include young people up to the age of 25; the definition includes ‘learning difficulties’ and ‘disabilities’.

DWP has published the Dr Paul Litchfield's latest review of the Work Capability Assessment. This Year 4 review sets out a series of recommendations to the government based on the evidence he collected as part of the review and which complement the recommendations from the first 3 annual reviews carried out by Professor Malcolm Harrington. The review found that the assessment rooms showed a "confrontational set-up" which "would appear to be common across the country for the WCA" and which "is not accepted practice in clinical healthcare".

Ministers Edward Timpson (Department for Education) and Dan Poulter (Department of Health) have written to local authority and health leaders about the special educational needs (SEN) reforms. In their letter the Ministers request these individuals work to ensure that the SEN reforms are implemented in a way that will deliver maximum benefits for local areas and for families and young people.

£2 million has been set aside through Access to Work to help people with disabilities take up work placements. Until now Access to Work has only offered this support to disabled people who engage in work experience placements that have been organised through Jobcentre Plus.

BASE member, The Aldingbourne Trust has been chosen for the Overall Business of the Year award at this year’s Arun Business Awards. It also came away with the Marketing and Promotion award and also took the Disability Awareness award for it’s Work Aid programme.