Please note that our office is now closed for Christmas and will re-open on Tuesday 2 January.

We'd like to wish all our members and friends a very Merry Christmas and we send our best wishes for 2018.

The Work and Pensions Committee has criticised the Government response to the Second Independent Review of the Personal Independence Payment Assessment, conducted by Paul Gray CB.

Commenting on the Government's response Frank Field MP, Chair of the Committee, said:

The Work and Pensions Committee published its Seventh Report of Session 2016–17, Disability employment gap (HC 56) on 3 February 2017.

The Government’s response was received on 30 November 2017 and is attached.

The Work and Pensions Committee has launched a new inquiry into assistive technology, following up on its inquiry into the Disability employment gap (DEG). This will lead to the second in what will be a series of reports aimed at getting the Government offering disabled people real opportunities to get into work.

"Assistive technology" includes a range of products, equipment, and systems that enhance learning, working, and daily living for people with disabilities. 

This inquiry is about the role all types of assistive technology can play in removing barriers to work and helping disabled people stay in work. It could be accessible hardware and software, developments in apps, wearable technology - technology that helps people get to work, or use the building once they do, as well as things that facilitate work itself. 

The government has set out plans to help more disabled people into work over the next decade. Under 50% of people with a disability are in work compared with 80% of non-disabled people. These employment rates fall to just 5.8% for people with a learning disability.

We are expecting further investment in supported internships and Access to Work will be "significantly enhanced" over the coming year. The paper also points to "new targeted support for learning disabled social service users and secondary mental health support service users".

InWork GM, a new alliance partnership between the Manchester Growth Company and ingeus UK, has been chosen to deliver the Work and Health Programme in Greater Manchester.

A report Barriers to Work, commissioned by Inclusion London, has found evidence of significant problems with the Government’s disability employment support programme, Access to Work

The report recommends ways to improve Access to Work and reduce the adverse impacts that changes to the scheme are currently having on deaf and disabled people reliant on it to stay in employment. The recommendations have been put together and are supported by deaf and disabled people under the #StopChanges2AtW campaign.

The Careers & Enterprise Company has published a new research report 'State of the Nation 2017: Careers and enterprise provision in England's schools'. It gives the most comprehensive picture to date of schools’ careers and enterprise provision.

Ofsted has published a report reporting on the findings from the first year of local area inspections carried out by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) into the effectiveness of local areas in fulfilling their new duties in the ‘Special educational needs and disability (SEND) code of practice: 0 to 25 years’ (the Code of Practice). 

The framework for these inspections sets out how Ofsted and CQC jointly inspect the local area’s effectiveness in three main aspects: 

The Scottish Government has awarded contracts worth up to £96 million to help people find and stay in work. Fair Start Scotland service aims to help at least 38,000 people to find employment and will start in April 2018. Participation will be on a voluntary basis. The programme includes funding for supported employment and IPS provision.