Jobcentres to trial autism accreditation framework

The Department for Work and Pensions has announced that 15 Jobcentre Plus sites will be testing an autism framework, designed with the National Autistic Society (NAS), to transform the service available to jobseekers on the autism spectrum. The framework pilot will aim to help people with autism find, retain and progress in fulfilling jobs.

Working age autistic people are often locked out of employment due to a lack of understanding and knowledge from employers and colleagues, and anxiety-inducing environments that can be distressing. It is hoped that the framework will help to break down these barriers and see more autistic people in jobs they love.

The Minister for Disabled People, Chloe Smith, said:

"Everyone deserves an equal opportunity to find a job they love and to progress in their career, but we know we must do more to help people with autism.

"By testing this autism framework and offering new specialist training to our jobcentre staff we are helping to deliver more employment opportunities for those who would otherwise feel locked out, as we work towards seeing one million more disabled people in work by 2027."

The framework explores how best to support autistic people into employment, including ensuring jobcentre appointments with autistic customers take place in the right environment and educating local employers in the additional requirements of autistic workers.

The test project began in October 2021, using 15 Jobcentre test offices across the country, assessing the current state of knowledge and practices for dealing with autistic customers within those offices and then going on to create a new service delivery framework that ensures those customers get the support they need, in the way they need it.

There will then be an assessment of each of these test sites to ensure compliance with the framework and accreditation against it.

The test project will be completed by 31 March 2022. The results of this test will be evaluated and if results are positive then DWP will explore how this can be rolled out across the whole network of Jobcentres.

Jobcentres taking part in the test:

  • England: Gosport, Slough, Leeds Eastgate, Croydon, Grantham, Wigan, Stourbridge.
  • Scotland: Alloa, Falkirk, High Riggs, Leith, Musselburgh, Paisley, Fraserburgh.
  • Wales: Aberdare