Disability Employment Strategy

Disability Employment Strategy

BASE consulted with members prior to responding to the Government's Improving Lives Green Paper. The green paper followed a 4-year process of reviewing a national disability employment strategy. We have emphasised the need for better support for people with learning disabilities, mental health needs and autism and our original proposals (below) are still valid.

Recent work with DWP has led to the 2017 Proof of Concept initiative delivered across 9 local authorities.

There has also been a great deal of investment in Individual Placement & Support services across England with an ambition to double the number of people accessing IPS services.

Background to Improving Lives

The Government has been reviewing its national disability employment strategy for many years and published a discussion paper on the Disability & Health Employment Strategy in 2013.

BASE published its proposals in response to the Government's call for evidence in 2013.

BASE responded to the DES discussion paper in 2014. 

We responded to the Improving Lives paper in 2017.


Our proposals

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.