November 2014

The Government has responded to the Work and Pensions Committee report on Employment and Support Allowance and Work Capability Assessments. The report addresses each of the Committee's recommendations.

The Fifth Independent Review of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA), carried out by Dr Paul Litchfield, has been published. DWP will consider all the recommendations before publishing a response.

Mark Harper, Minister of State for Disabled People, has issued a written ministerial statement to announce the publication of this review.

Care Minister Norman Lamb is encouraging large companies to sign up to the Time too Change mental health campaign. He write to all the FTSE 100 companies on World Mental Health Day urging them to sign up.

The Department for Education is inviting interested individuals and organisations to help them work out better ways to distribute special educational needs and disability (SEND) funding. To help with this, they have a pack of data about children and young people with SEND, and are interested in any conclusions you may draw from this data. They are also interested in any local knowledge that could inform the national debate on how best to allocate this funding in the longer term.

The Government is consulting on the draft statutory guidance for local authorities and NHS organisations on the Autism Strategy in England. This is to support the implementation of Think Autism which is the update to the 2010 adult autism strategy. The consultation looks at: * staff training * identification and diagnosis of autism in adults * planning of services move from being children to adults * local planning and leadership * preventative support and safeguarding * reasonable adjustments * supporting people with complex needs * employment for adults with autism

The Work and Pensions Committee has decided to conduct an inquiry into benefit sanctions policy. This inquiry will consider aspects of sanctions policy which were outside the remit of the Oakley Review.

Submissions of no more than 3,000 words are invited from interested organisations and individuals and should be submitted by Friday 12 December.

The Committee is particularly interested in:

Social enterprise Pluss was recently bestowed with the national Social Champion Award at the Charity Times Awards. The awards are in their fifteenth year and are the pre-eminent celebration of best practice in the UK charity and not-for-profit sector. The judges said Pluss had “Impressive growth, impressive impact based on a clear vision. This is a very impressive winner.”

The Public Accounts Committee has published its report on the Work Programme. The report suggests that differential payments have not helped to achieve better outcomes for those considered "harder to help". It also finds that contractors are spending less than half the amount that they had aboriginally pledged on claimants with disabilities.

One in five employees with a disability feel they are unsupported and discriminated against in the workplace, according to the findings of a survey commissioned by employment law experts Leigh Day.

The survey published today and entitled the Purple Workforce, found that one in five people with a disability felt they were discriminated against in employment, while almost half admitted they would not feel comfortable disclosing a disability when applying for a new job.