December 2015

Stockport MBC are advertising a tender exercise to deliver their supported employment services. The contract is for a period of 3 years and the closing date for expressions of interest is 21 January.

Details are at

Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission are consulting on proposals for inspecting how effectively local areas fulfil their responsibilities towards children and young people who are disabled and/or have special educational needs under section 20 of the Children Act 2004. The consultation document sets out the principles under which the 2 inspectorates propose to undertake these joint inspections. They propose to inspect all local areas over a five-year period with the first inspections commencing in May 2016.

Research by Jelf Employee Benefits reveals that few employers have yet to be made officially aware of the introduction and availability of the new government-funded initiative to reduce sickness absence in the workplace.

Spectrum Enterprises is organising a series of workshops for people with autism conditions who are interested in exploring opportunities for becoming self-employed. The workshops are open to people living in the Newcastle, Gateshead and Northumberland areas and begin on 22 January 2016. You must be over 25 years and unemployed or working part-time.

Further information and an application form is attached.

The Work and Pensions Committee has launched an inquiry into the Department for Work and Pensions' plans for "in-work progression" (also called "in-work conditionality") within Universal Credit. These measures will make benefit payments to claimants who are in work, but on low earnings, conditional on them taking certain steps to increase their pay or hours.

Written submissions are invited addressing the following points:
* DWP’s plans for in-work progression pilots in 2015/16, and how they should be evaluated

Mencap has published a report in response to proposals to reduce welfare benefits for people on the work-related activity group of Employment and Support Allowance.

The BBC has run a news story on the "unacceptable" employment rates for people with a learning disability. The 2014-15 ASCOF indicator rates showed a further decline in the employment rate which now stands at 6%. BASE provided a number of contacts for the BBC team and will be following up with a meeting this month with the Minister.

We would like to make it clear that we do not support any exemptions to the national minimum wage.