News

BASE will be postponing all regional forums and training events until further notice in the light of the coronavirus restrictions. Office functions will continue as normal and certificate learners can continue to receive support by contacting their assessor by email or phone.

We have been asked for advice regarding the provision of workplace support but there are no easy answers. Clearly, the welfare of service staff and clients has to be a priority and services should support those customers through risk assessment where they are vulnerable because of their health. The Business Disability Forum has produced a useful legal update about the position for disabled workers.

Employees who are shielding in line with public health guidance (or need to stay home with someone who is shielding) can be furloughed if they are unable to work from home. The government have confirmed that shielding employees can be placed on furlough even if the employer has work for them to do.

Older jobseekers in the Greater Manchester area will be the first to trial targeted new approaches being developed to help over-50s get back to work.  

The Centre for Ageing Better, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, and the Department of Work & Pensions have announced plans for the ‘Greater Manchester Employment Support for Over-50s' pilot programme to improve support models for older people. An estimated 800,000 people in the UK aged 50 to 65 want to be working but are not, with many caught in an ‘unemployment trap’. Losing a job after the age of 50 is more likely to lead to long-term unemployment or inactivity compared with job loss at younger ages.  

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has lost more employment tribunals for disability discrimination than any other employer in Britain since 2016. BBC's Panorama found that the DWP lost 17 of 134 claims of discrimination against its own disabled workers from 2016-19. It paid out at least £950,000 in both tribunal payments and out-of-court settlements in that time.

DWP employs over 80,000 staff, over 11,000 of whom have decared a disability. The DWP said it was "shocked" by the data but was reviewing its processes to ensure all staff were treated fairly.

The DWP Local Supported Employment trailblazer will be listed on the Test & Learn dynamic purchasing system (DPS) on 16 March. The opportunity will be open for expressions of interest until 7 April. The new programme is scheduled to go live in early August. The trailblazer follows on from the Proof of Concept that ran during 2018-19.

Cooper Gibson Research (CGR) has published a research report looking at how Supported Internships are delivered. The research, commissioned by the Department for Education (DfE), aimed to explore: 

  • The models and approaches to delivery of supported internships available for young people with EHCPs in England. 
  • The factors perceived to be associated with success for supported internships. 
  • Perceived barriers to the success of supported internships, and how these may be overcome. 

The Centre for Social Justice has published a new report, Commissioning Excellence in Disability , that examines DWP's nationally contracted disability employment provision. 

The report is critical of performance over recent years and highlights some of the problem areas including commissioning processes, funding models and supply chain management. It suggests ways of making better use of the expertise within the voluntary sector and makes a series of recommendations.

Public Health England has issued updated statistics for the Public Health Outcomes Framework. They should that the disability employment gap for people with a learning disability and people in contact with secondary mental health services stands at almost 70% across England. The gap has increased by nearly 7% over the last 7 years.

As part of its independent work programme, the Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC) is conducting research into how the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) engage with disabled people in formulating policies and processes which affect them.

Two BASE members, Pembrokeshire County Council and Vision Products, have received awards for their Disability Confident work. The awards were presented on 5th February by the Department of Work and Pensions at the Hospitality Wales Confident about Disability Awards.

Pembrokeshire County Council has been named an ‘Inspirational Employer’ at the Cardiff ceremony for Welsh employers. 

DWP has announced market engagement events for the Local Supported Employment (LSE) Trailblazer in the run up to the issuance of the Invitation to Tender.

The events are now confirmed as follows:

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