January 2016

Baroness Jane Campbell has failed in her attempt to persuade the government to publish an annual report on progress towards its target of halving the disability employment gap. She had proposed an amendment to the government’s welfare reform and work bill during this week’s report stage in the Lords.

She told fellow peers that without such a report there would be “no robust way of analysing what exactly is preventing disabled people from working, and of putting it right”.

Following a Freedom of Information request, DWP has published details of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) Work-Related Activity Group (WRAG) claimants in each quarter from and including February 2014, broken down by the International Classifications of Diseases Summary Code. The largest category is that of "mental and behavioural disorders" but no further detail is given for this category.

DWP has published the latest statistics on Access to Work. The figures cover the period to 30 September 2015. Individuals with mental health conditions have seen the largest increase in numbers supported. There have also been increases in the number of people helped who have a primary medical condition recorded as dyslexia or deaf and hard of hearing. https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/access-to-work-statistics-on-r...

Ingeus has published a report that informs its contribution to the Scottish Government's discussions on the design of a replacement to the Work Programme. The report concludes that the group currently eligible for the Work Programme will be significantly different in April 2017 compared with its profile in 2011 when Work Programme was introduced. - There is a higher proportion of those on Employment Support Allowance (ESA) - More of those on ESA have a 3 or 6 month prognosis.

The Work and Pensions Committee has published its report into the local welfare safety net. The recommendations include: * that DCLG and the LGA work together more actively to facilitate the adoption of best practice in the administration of the local welfare safety net. * in cases where people with disabilities and their carers cannot reasonably be expected to work or earn more, or be helped to move to cheaper accommodation, they must either be suitably protected from unintended effects by Discretionary Housing Payments or exempted from the reforms.

The Government has published its response to the Work and Pensions Select Committee report into Welfare to Wor.k. The Government confirms its broad plans for the structure of employment support set out in the recent Spending Review: * Broadly flat investment in the range of employment support but much greater focus on more intensive Jobcentre Plus support in the earlier months of benefit claims

The Government has responded to the Work and Pension Committee's report on Welfare to Work. It is due to publish a White Paper on disability and employment this year and recently announced plans for a single Work & Health Programme to replace the existing Work Programme and Work Choice.