May 2015

We are delighted to announce that we are now accepting nominations for our 2015 Practitioner Awards. We have 5 awards available and nominations are sought by 7 August. The awards will be presented at our annual conference at the Queens Hotel, Leeds on 9-10 September. We would like to thank those organisations that have kindly sponsored the awards.

* Team of the Year Award (sponsored by Working Links)

* Practitioner of the Year Awards (sponsored by Olympus Care Services)

* Innovative Practice Award (sponsored by Shaw Trust)

Leonard Cheshire Disability is running a new project, Business Booster, to support disabled entrepreneurs as they start up in business.

By taking part people will get access to:
* Networking events with top quality workshops from leading experts in start-up, planning for growth, finance and investment.
* One-to-One business mentoring and help to develop and implement a personalised action plan.
* Expert and peer support through their online network.

Please note that the BASE office will be closed from 1 June to 14 June because of staff holidays. Emails to BASE will be checked periodically but may not receive a reply until 15 June.

A new TUC report Disability and employment looks at the experiences of disabled people in the labour market and finds that they are still at a significant disadvantage compared to other workers. The report, which is published on the second day of the TUC’s annual Disabled Workers’ Conference, makes a series of recommendations to help tackle the inequality faced by disabled workers. It also highlights a number of key findings including: * Disabled people generally have much lower employment rates than for non-disabled people – an average of 31 per cent lower from 2008 to 2013.

A study by the Public Interest Research Unit, commissioned by Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), indicates that in the last four years there has been a deterioration in the workplace experiences and long-term job prospects of disabled workers. The study collected information from 137 disabled workers and from 141 organisations; and was produced for DPAC. The study covers the private, public and voluntary sectors. Principal findings include: * Employer attitudes towards disabled workers have deteriorated in the last four years.

Congratulations to Elite Supported Employment Agency who have won the prestigious European Award, Employment for All, for best practice on providing support services in employment for people with intellectual disabilities. All finalists were evaluated by an international jury including representatives from Disability organisations, experts and members of the European Parliament, service providers and employers.

David Cameron has announced changes to his Cabinet following the general election. Ian Duncan Smith will continue as Secretary of Sate for Work and Pensions and he's joined by Priti Patel who succeeds Esther McVey as Employment Minister. Priti Patel was elected as the Member of Parliament for Witham in May 2010. She previously worked in the communications industry and prior to the General election in 2010, she was the Director of Corporate Communications at Weber Shandwick.

Smart Works Greater Manchester have just secured premises in Stockport (St Petersgate) and will be opening on 2nd June. They are holding a Smart Works Open Day where people can come along to learn more about what they do and how they can help support the charity. They are looking for volunteers to assist with dressing, interview coaching, administration, and stockroom, and are also looking to build relationships with referral agencies and corporate organisations.

DWP has published an impact assessment regarding the proposed changes to Access to Work. The changes were proposed in a policy document in March and include an upper limit for Access to Work claims of 1.5x average annual salary.

Croydon Council is organising a Disability Confident event in partnership with Shaw Trust. The event takes place at the Fairfields Hall in Croydon on 20 May and is followed by a careers fair. Details are in the invitation letter attached below.

This seminar will examine the barriers and challenges people with disabilities face in employment and the actions that businesses and the borough can take to address these.