BASE & ADASS publish top tips for local authorities

BASE has been working with the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) to produce some guidelines for local authorities to help them raise the employment rates of adults with disabilities.

Councils can play an important role in helping people with a disability who are in receipt of social care to find and maintain a job if they want one, at the same time managing future demand for council-funded social care and helping employers to benefit from a more diverse workforce.

People with disabilities are considerably less likely to be in employment than those without disabilities; currently employment rates for disabled people are 31% lower than for the non-disabled population. (Commons Library Briefing, January 2018). National indicators (NHS Digital 2017) show that the proportion of working-age adults with learning disabilities who are receiving long-term social care support and are also in paid employment has fallen each year over the last three years, from 6.0 per cent in 2014-15 to 5.8 per cent in 2015-16 and then 5.7 per cent in 2016-17. There was a big variation in reported employment rates between local authorities. In 2016-17, 7% of adults aged 18-69 in contact with secondary mental health services were known to be in paid employment at the time of their assessment or latest review, a slight increase from 6.7% in 2015-16 and 6.8% in 2014-15.

Studies have shown a consistent association between paid employment and better physical and mental health (Public Health England 2018). Research into the cost-effectiveness of supported employment for adults with learning disabilities has shown that supported employment (but not voluntary work experience) is cost-effective in helping people into and maintaining people in paid work (National Development Team 2014). Despite the human and cost benefits, many councils are disinvesting from evidence-based supported employment approaches as budgets tighten.

To help councils provide the best possible support, ADASS and BASE have produced a checklist of top tips.