January 2014

The Work and Pensions Committee has published its report on Jobcentre Plus (JCP). The report concludes that Jobcentre Plus should continue to provide a public employment service for the unemployed. The Committee recommends, however, that JCP’s key performance indicators be immediately revised to ensure that JCP is incentivised to get jobseekers into work, not just to get them off benefits.

BASE member, Progress Recruitment, has announced it is to close after losing its contract with Blackpool Council. The service has helped around 2,000 people with disabilities take up employment opportunities over the years. The organisation, which employs eight people directly, will close on March 31.

Shaw Trust has announced it has been successful in winning a 2 year contract with Suffolk County Council to provide employment related support to individuals with mental health problems, learning difficulties and or autism.

Shaw Trust Mental Health and Employment Operations Manager, Chantelle Beckett, says of the service:

"I am delighted to continue our long established and well embedded presence in Suffolk. The experience gained through our current delivery provides us with extensive knowledge and an in-depth understanding of the needs of people who use this service.

A BASE member, Gloucestershire County Council, has been named as the first local authority in the national Disability Confident campaign. Launched by the Prime Minister last year, the initiative aims to help businesses take a more proactive approach to employing disabled people.

The Scottish Government has now launched a new directory to showcase the work of supported businesses in the country. The directory was launched by Health Secretary, Alex Neil, and the Enterprise Minister, Fergus Ewing, at an event where a new company was launched to employ former Remploy workers.

Six Scottish charities have launched a project which aims to get more young disabled people into jobs. The Open Doors Scotland project plans to help 350 disabled people aged 16-24 find and sustain employment.

It was launched by Enable Scotland, The Lennox Partnership, RNIB, Action on Hearing Loss, Capability Scotland and Scottish Association for Mental Health. The project is being funded by Skills Development Scotland through its Employment Recruitment Incentive (ERI). ERI already supports young carers, care leavers and ex-offenders.

The Government has published a mental health action plan. The document, Closing the Gap: Priorities for Essential Change in Mental Health, outlines 25 areas for health and care services to take action which will make a difference to the lives of people with mental health conditions. The changes aim to make the system fairer for people with mental health problems and for the NHS to take mental health as seriously and treat it as importantly as physical health.

Small disability groups could boost their chances of getting funding and improve their services thanks to new government help.
The Community Data Toolkit provides everything disability groups and other grassroots organisations need to know about how to analyse and interpret data in one place.

Minister of State for Disabled People Mike Penning said:

More than 1,800 champions will be on hand from this September to help parents navigate the new special educational needs process following a £30 million funding boost, announced today by Children and Families Minister Edward Timpson.

The Third Sector Research Centre has published a working paper that examines whether the Work Programme has overcome some of the factors that lead to parking and creaming within results-based commissioning.