National Disability Strategy published

The Government has published the long-awaited National Disability Strategy. It follows a consultation that was strongly criticised by disability campaigners. It is published on the DWP website rather than by the Cabinet Office which led development of the strategy.

The strategy contains a range of proposals covering education, employment, housing, transport, leisure and access to services.



DWP will fund a local supported employment trailblazer, working with 20 local authorities, expected to begin in autumn 2021. A planning meeting is taking place with DWP today and engagement with local authorities is expected soon. The trailblazer will support approximately 1,200 people. At least two thirds of participants will be people with a learning disability and autistic people who use local authority social services. People with learning disabilities face particular barriers to employment, with only 5.6% of people with learning disabilities currently in work.

Building on the learning from their work with Supported Businesses, DWP will test whether providing additional support for employers, who are willing to do more and flex job roles for those who need more than standard Access to Work, can open up job opportunities for disabled people. DWP will run a Proof of Concept to gain insight into the difference this approach can make.

Other announcements include:

  • The Intensive Personalised Employment Programme (IPES) will be expanded by 25%
  • Levels 2 and 3 of the Disability Confident initiative will be reviewed and strengthed.
  • An Access to Work Adjustments Passport will be introduced to support job changes and transitions from education.
  • A new approach to conditionality for disabled people and people with health conditions, aiming to "enable an honest and open conversation between a person and their work coach about what they can do".
  • An improved information and advice offer for employers and a new online ACAS advice hub.
  • A consultation on workforce reporting on disability for large employers, exploring voluntary and mandated workplace transparency
  • BEIS will consult on proposals to improve support for entrepreneurship
  • Improved opportunities and support for disabled people working in Government departments



The SEND Review is due to be published soon and the strategy gives an indication of the content.

DfE will improve supported internships in England, including updating guidance, developing a self-assessment quality framework, and helping local authorities to develop local supported employment forums by March 2022. Other proposals include:

  • improved support for children and young people in England with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in the financial year 2021 to 2022, including:
    • completing a wide-ranging review to improve outcomes
    • an extra £730 million high needs revenue funding for children and young people with more complex needs
    • an extra £300 million to improve existing school provision and accessibility
  • boost professional development for those supporting children and young people with SEND
  • support improvements to the supported internships programm
  • increase the number of disabled people entering into apprenticeships and ensure that those who start an apprenticeship go on to thrive.

DfE is providing funding of £8.6 million in financial year 2021 to 2022 to strengthen the participation of parents and young people in the SEND system, through ensuring that they have a voice in designing policies and services, and have access to high quality information, advice and support.