Disability Employment Strategy Consultation

Disability Employment Strategy Consultation

BASE will be consulting shortly on a response to the Improving Lives green paper. The green paper follows a 3-year process of reviewing a national disability employment strategy. BASE has been actively engaged in the task and finish groups.

Background to the Green Paper

The Government has been reviewing its national disability employment strategy and published a discussion paper on the Disability & Health Employment Strategy.

BASE responded to the DES discussion paper

The Government organised a number of task and finish groups to advise on the strategy review. These met 2 or 3 times and covered the following topics:
* Young people and transitions
* Mental health
* Labour Market interventions
* Employer engagement

A series of regional consultation meetings also took place through July/August across Britain to look at local experiences and views. BASE was represented on a number of the task and finish groups and attended regional meetings. We also organised some study visits to BASE members by DWP officials on the review team.

BASE published its proposals in response to the Government's call for evidence.

BASE consulted with members throughout 2013 and produced a number of recommendations covering commissioning, benefit assessment, contracted delivery, employer engagement, transitions from education, and workforce issues.

Our key proposals were to:
• Change the emphasis of commissioning so that it is on the basis of quality rather than cost.
• Fund three strands of provision using a largely payment by outcome approach: a mainstream programme, a disability programme, and locally commissioned specialist provision.
• Introduce a system of independent quality inspection and support provider improvement.
• Raise employer awareness and involve them in policy decisions and the design of support programmes.
• Encourage flexibilities to the recruitment process, especially in relation to the public sector.
• Maintain a greater focus on work-based learning and improved work destinations for young people in education.
• Support improved workforce development for specialist practitioners.

BASE thinks that we need to move away from the notion of national programmes for those with the greatest disadvantages and examine how personalised employment support can best be planned, delivered and funded. We believe that there is enough money in the overall system to fund good quality supported employment. We also believe that this is best commissioned on a local basis.

We are under no illusion. There's a lot of work to do before we can say that we've got everything sorted. The quality of supported employment provision is far too variable and we need a way of benchmarking quality. We need to provide support for commissioners so that they know what they are funding, what it should cost and what good quality looks like.