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DWP has written to contractors to remind them of their responsibility to pay subcontractors promptly. BASE has met recently with DWP Commercial and has agreed an ongoing dialogue about commissioning and provider management issues.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has published its latest report into Disability pay gaps in the UK: 2018 which has found that in 2018 the median pay for non-disabled workers was £12.11 an hour, against £10.63 for disabled workers.

Disabled employees with a mental impairment had the largest pay gap at 18.6%, while for those with a physical impairment the pay gap was 9.7% and those with other impairments had the narrowest gap, at 7.4%. Around a quarter of the difference in mean pay can be accounted for by factors such as occupation and qualification.

BASE held its annual conference in Manchester on 5-6 November. The event was attended by 160 people and featured a range of speakers and workshops. We're pleased with the feedback received and would like to thank all who contributred to making it such a success. The conference closed with a witty and insightful contribution from Francesca Martinez. Next year's conference has been announced and will be in Leicester on 11-12 November 2020.

The Education Committee has published its report on Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. It doesn't pull any punches and makes a series of recommendations.

DWP has advertised details of a market engagement event on 30 October. This early engagement event means that a procurement idea is currently active and DWP is in the early stage of development and judging interest from potential suppliers. Though the event is advertised through the Employability and Health Related Services Umbrella Agreement, DWP have stressed that the opportunity is open to SMEs and the voluntary sector.

Statistical information has been published for the 2018-19 employment rates in England for people with a learning disability and for people using secondary mental health services. They show a mixed picture. Employment rates for people with a learning disability have been on a downward trend year on year [Indicator 1E] and now stand at 5.9%.

A new service to help provide meaningful employment opportunities for people with a disability is set to be launched in Devon. The Disability Employment Hub is a collaboration between the Devon County Council, Learn Devon and Jobcentre Plus.

DWP is inviting providers to take part in a supplier survey about the Welfare to Employment Market. We urge members to complete the survey as we frequently hear complaints about how DWP procures services.

The Open University's new report,  'Access to Apprenticeships', has found that, while two thirds of employers consider hiring candidates with disabilities for entry-level roles is an important priority for them, many feel 'unequipped' to do so - with financial barriers and lack of training meaning they aren't able to offer the correct provisions for disabled workers.

The Goivernment has issued guidance to providers currently delivering ESF funded projects.

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