Solihull closes its supported employment service

Solihull Council has stated that it intends to close its supported employment service, STEPS. The service currently supports nearly 250 people with 70 in paid jobs.

STEPS, pictured, won Care Team of the Year at the council's 2017's Solihull Together Awards and the 8 staff will now be redeployed.

Councillor Karen Grinsell, cabinet member for adult social care and health, said:
“It was a difficult decision to disband the STEPS service, but it provides an opportunity to look at new ways of supporting people with disabilities, which will have more impact and be better value. For those with more complex needs, employment support may be delivered through more tailored support plans.

“The council’s day services could also be developed to incorporate this service. We will be exploring opportunities to find organisations in the voluntary sector which can support this work. Meanwhile officers from across the council will develop a more coordinated approach that recognises an individual’s needs. Letters are being sent to all STEPS users and carers explaining the situation.

“The STEPS service will be offered re-deployment opportunities within the council over the coming year as the service changes to reflect this new approach.”


Janet Down MBE, chief executive for Solihull Life Opportunities said:
“If the council follows through with the commitment to explore options for another service, this shows clear concern for disabled people in the borough. But the proof will be in the pudding and given how stretched the council are with resources, delivery could be a concern.

“Although I have no doubt the council is committed to people with disabilities, we must remember employment figures for people with disabilities are not improving. I am disappointed the council didn’t re-tender the service into the voluntary sector but this is an unfortunate symptom of government cuts.”