Employment and Skills

Work Choice statistics published

Work Choice statistics published

Yesterday the Government published the first tranche of statistics for the disability employment programme Work Choice. The figures show that between 1 April 2011 and 31 March 2012 there were 17,190 referrals, 12,520 starts and 3,550 job outcomes.

Kirsty McHugh, ERSA Chief Executive, said:

“These figures show that despite challenging economic conditions providers are still getting disabled people into employment. However, we believe that adjustments could be made to the programme’s design that could help enable providers to achieve more job outcomes. That is why ERSA recently joined together with the British Association for Supported Employment (BASE) to write to the Minister for Disabled People calling on a range of changes to be made to Work Choice.”

The recommendations were:

1. The cap on referrals to be removed in order to reduce the peaks and troughs in referrals.

2. DWP should clarify when an individual should be referred to Work Choice rather than the Work Programme and how the two programmes segue with one another.

3. Staff training and regular meetings with providers should be used to ensure the DWP only makes appropriate referrals to Work Choice.

4. The requirement for minimum levels of engagement on Module One is too prescriptive and should be replaced by a more meaningful measure.

5. Module One should be extended beyond the current nine month point.

6. DWP to consider introducing partial outcome rates for job outcomes of fewer than sixteen hours per week.

7. Job start evidence should be more in line with the Work Programme to reduce administrative burdens on employers and providers.

ERSA and BASE facilitated a meeting of Work Choice providers in April 2012 which was attended by all of the prime contractors and 23 subcontractors of the programme. The meeting examined ideas and proposals for improving the effectiveness of the programme and a report was produced outlining the suggested proposals and recommendations to the programme that was sent to DWP.

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