The Work and Pensions Committee have launched an inquiry into the Government's commitment to halve the "disability employment gap" – the difference in employment rates between disabled and non-disabled people.
The inquiry assesses the scale of the challenge and the likely effectiveness of the Government’s employment support and benefit policies in achieving this goal.
Pluss' Chief Executive Officer, Steve Hawkins, has just submitted Pluss' response to the to the Work and Pensions Committee. Read the full submission here.
We know that the Work and Health Programme will be a crucial part of the Government’s strategy to halve the disability employment gap. We believe it must be designed and commissioned in a way that ensures it will be delivered by specialist supply chains capable of delivering the right support before, during and after entry into employment, and that local expert providers are not commercially excluded from helping to deliver the programme.
We recognise that a successful Work and Health Programme, and the wider welfare reform agenda it sits within, will have a positive impact on the number of people with disabilities entering the workforce. But to reduce the disability employment gap by any significant measure will require major innovation and step change in four other complementary areas of work:
1) The need to find ways to support for people who will not or cannot access DWP provision to re-enter the labour market,
2) The need to focus on and vastly improve workplace retention,
3) The need to build on the promising but limited impact of Disability Confident to support and encourage employers,
4) The need to maximise the leverage offered by devolution flexibilities to impact directly on this agenda.