Making Work a Real Choice - Where next for specialist disability employment support?
Making Work a Real Choice - Where next for specialist disability employment support?
About Shaw Trust 2 Making Work a Real Choice final report Shaw Trust is a leading national charity with a thirty year history of supporting disabled, disadvantaged and long term unemployed people to achieve sustainable employment, independent living and social inclusion. Last year Shaw Trust delivered specialist services to over 50,000 people from 200 locations across the UK, supporting its beneficiaries to enter work and lead independent lives. In 2012 Shaw Trust merged with fellow welfare-to-work charity Careers Development Group (CDG), forming a new entity under the Shaw Trust brand.
Shaw Trust is one of only two voluntary sector prime contractors of the Work Programme, operating in the London East Contract Package Area (as CDG). We further deliver services as a Work Programme subcontractor in seven different CPAs. Our extensive experience in the welfare-to-work sector includes delivery of the Work Programme’s predecessor contracts – New Deal, Pathways to Work and Flexible New Deal – as both a prime contractor and subcontractor. As the main provider of specialist disability employment programme Work Choice we deliver 16 prime contracts, six subcontracts and an additional prime contract through the special purpose vehicle CDG-WISE Ability, providing specialist support for people with disabilities, health problems and impairments across the UK.
Shaw Trust also delivers direct contracts for the Skills Funding Agency, and further operates a range of social enterprises and retail shops generating stepping stone employment opportunities for those furthest from the job market.
3 Making Work a Real Choice final report Contents Foreword Chapter 1 Executive Summary Chapter 2 Introduction Chapter 3 Making Work a Real Choice – Response to Shaw Trust’s Consultation Chapter 4 Identifying the key elements of a future specialist disability employment programme: results of customer and staff focus groups and employer interviews Chapter 5 Conclusions and recommendations: encouraging an evolution in specialist disability employment support Annexes Annex One: ‘What works’ to support disabled people, and those with health conditions, into sustained work? An independent chapter written by Inclusion Annex Two: List of consultation respondents Acknowledgements 4 5-10 11-15 16-31 32-41 42-48 50-59 60 61
4 Making Work a Real Choice final report Forew0rd The findings of our report will play an important role in ensuring more people with disabilities, health problems and impairments can find, enter and sustain meaningful employment. This is the overarching aim of our charity and the reason Shaw Trust was founded. When we launched the Making Work a Real Choice consultation in June, we wanted to galvanise the sector to develop a set of proposals that will help to make a real difference to the lives of those we serve. The response we have had from our peers, partners, employers, customers and the wonderful staff members working in this field has exceeded our highest expectations.
I and the trustees of Shaw Trust would like to thank all of those who contributed.
The government is reviewing its strategy to improve employment prospects of people with disabilities, health conditions and impairments. As part of this review, government will need to consider what comes after Work Choice, the government’s specialist disability employment programme, which comes to an end in 2015. This is the foundation of our report, which sets out our belief that the government can use the best practice from Work Choice to evolve and sculpt an even better specialist employment programme.
The consultation responses, in addition to the in-depth research collected through the staff, customer and employer focus groups and interviews, have given this report a level of intellectual, practical and personal depth that can only serve to support the government’s analysis and thinking on how to provide future employment support to our beneficiaries.
This depth is crucial if we are to successfully use this opportunity to help those with disabilities and impairments overcome the economic and social barriers they face.
We must emphasise that we all have a role to play. Our report highlights the need for more robust evidence to demonstrate ‘what works’ in helping people with disabilities to truly fulfil their potential and enter work. It is down to each and every one of us to share our own examples of ‘what works’ through testing and sharing new ideas and through innovative pilots. It is only by all of us working collaboratively that the most effective person- centred support can be made available to the people we serve.
Roy O’Shaughnessy, Chief Executive, Shaw Trust
6 Making Work a Real Choice final report Chapter 1 Executive Summary Shaw Trust is a national charity with a thirty- year history of supporting people with disabilities, health problems and impairments into sustainable employment. Last year the charity delivered specialist services focused on supporting its beneficiaries to enter work and to lead independent lives to over 50,000 people from 200 locations across the UK. One of the key services Shaw Trust delivers is Work Choice: the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) specialist disability employment programme. Shaw Trust is the largest contracted-out prime contractor for Work Choice in the country, delivering sixteen prime contracts, six subcontracts, and an additional prime contract through the special purpose vehicle CDG-WISE Ability.
Since the commencement of Work Choice delivery in October 2010, Shaw Trust has supported 31,780 people with disabilities, health problems and impairments on their journey into sustainable employment opportunities1 .
As a registered charity dedicated to supporting disabled and disadvantaged people into sustainable work, Shaw Trust has a responsibility to promote and protect the interests of the people it serves. This is why, in June 2013, Shaw Trust launched its ambitious research project ‘Making Work a Real Choice’. The purpose of Making Work a Real Choice is to catalyse a debate about the future provision of specialist disability employment support amongst employability providers, the staff delivering frontline services, employers, stakeholders, and, most importantly, the people who use these services.
The project has taken shape in two stages.
Stage One: Interim report and consultation The interim report, launched in June 2013, asked whether there is a need to retain a separate disability employment programme when the current Work Choice programme comes to an end in 2015. 417 Work Choice delivery staff, stakeholders such as employers and customers participating in Work Choice took part in our initial research. The report concluded there is a demonstrable and clear need to retain this essential source of employability support for people with disabilities, health problems and impairments. 78 per cent of customers responding to our survey stated that they were extremely satisfied with the service they had received on Work Choice, and could not think of any additional support that could have improved their experience of the programme.
A consultation was launched alongside the report to gauge the views of our industry peers and partners on the findings of our initial report, the results of which are detailed in this report. Since the launch of the interim report, one of our recommendations to enhance the support offered by Work Choice has already been addressed by the DWP. From September 2013, Work Choice customers have been able to access funded vocational training from the Skills Funding Agency. Shaw Trust welcomes this service enhancement and believes that is a step in the right direction for creating parity between mainstream and specialist disability employment programmes.2 1 Data taken from DWP’s August 2013 Work Choice statistics release: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/work- choice-official-statistics-august-2013 2 The opening up of Skills Funding Agency delivery to Work Choice customers is outlined in DWP’s provider guidance: http:// www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/work-choice-annex4.pdf
7 Making Work a Real Choice final report Chapter 1 Executive Summary Stage Two: Final report Through Making Work a Real Choice, Shaw Trust also wanted to identify what key features should underpin a future specialist disability employment programme. Identifying these key elements is the focus of this final report. To further our understanding of ‘what works’ in supporting people with disabilities, health problems and impairments to access and sustain employment opportunities: • Shaw Trust commissioned independent labour market research centre Inclusion to conduct a series of focus groups and interviews with 73 staff, customers and employers involved in Work Choice.
• Inclusion has also written an independent chapter found in annex one of this report evaluating the best practice approaches to delivering specialist disability employment support identified in published academic, industry and government reports. • This evidence base, combined with the results of the 49 consultation responses received from Shaw Trust’s industry peers and partners, has enabled the charity to pinpoint the crucial elements needed to drive a future specialist disability employment programme.
What our participants told us 1) Enhancing and extending existing Work Choice delivery Overcoming barriers to delivery In the interim Making Work a Real Choice report, Shaw Trust highlighted a number of systemic barriers to the delivery of existing Work Choice contracts. These included: • the cap on referrals to Work Choice delaying when people with disabilities, health problems and impairments can access the available support. • a lack of clarity regarding the eligibility criteria for Work Choice and Work Programme – the government’s mainstream back-to-work programme – resulting in inappropriate referrals to both programmes.
• the limited duration of pre-employment support available on Work Choice, at just six months with a possible six month extension. Our consultation respondents and focus group participants reinforced the challenge posed by these systemic barriers. Participants further suggested that the government could use a staged approach to addressing them: • Barriers that would bring immediate benefits to Work Choice customers, such as clarifying the eligibility criteria for the programme, should be addressed immediately.
• However, barriers that had the potential to adversely impact on the quality of Work Choice delivery if removed – such as increasing the number of customers accessing provision by removing the referral cap – should be removed at a later date as part of a future disability employment programme.
8 Making Work a Real Choice final report Chapter 1 Executive Summary Aligning specialist and mainstream support Our consultation respondents felt that as Work Choice is due to end in 2015, it would be prudent to extend the existing Work Choice contracts until after the 2015 election and design a future national specialist disability employment programme in parallel with the successor contract to the Work Programme.
However, respondents emphasised the need for contract procurement to take place at staged intervals to ensure organisations have the resources to bid for each contract, and that a high quality service continues to be delivered by both programmes.
2) Key features of a future programme A best practice approach Customers, staff, employers and industry peers and partners all passionately identified existing best practice approaches to delivering specialist disability employment support. Combined with academic evidence from the both the UK and abroad, as highlighted by Inclusion in annex one, Making Work a Real Choice makes a number of evidence- based recommendations regarding the key characteristics any future specialist disability employment programme should have: • Voluntary participation: The voluntary nature of Work Choice should be maintained to ensure customers can flexibly manage participation alongside their disabilities, health problems and impairments.
• Flexible referrals: A proportion of referrals to a new programme should be generated by providers themselves to extend the reach of the programme to customers with the most complex needs.
• Extending pre-work support: Customers on a future specialist scheme should receive a minimum of 12 months’ personally tailored pre-employment support and should be supported to achieve a number of milestones on their journey back into work, including the achievement of qualifications and undertaking voluntary work. • Extending in-work support: Once in employment customers should receive support tailored to their level of need for up to two years, and should be encouraged to progress their careers.
• Quality control: Finally, to ensure the support delivered is consistently of the highest standard, an independent quality evaluation using feedback from customers and employers should be undertaken at regular intervals.
Engaging employers The employers interviewed highlighted a need for a greater awareness of the existing support available, including that which is provided by Work Choice and Access to Work providers. The government’s Disability Confident campaign is a welcome step in the right direction but more needs to be done. It is the responsibility of the government, providers, industry trade bodies and user-led organisations to actively promote the existing support package to employers. However, if the employment rate of disabled people is to increase, a national ‘culture-changing campaign’ focused on helping employers and wider society see past an individual’s disability – and understand instead their abilities – needs to be undertaken.
Only then will the workplace become fully accessible to people with disabilities, health problems and impairments.
9 Making Work a Real Choice final report Chapter 1 Executive Summary 3) The need for further evidence and piloting The evidence collated from the 539 customers, staff, stakeholders and partners participating in the Making Work a Real Choice research highlights some strong examples of best practice from those involved in provided support. However, the ‘What Works’ chapter written by Inclusion and found in annex one identifies gaps in our knowledge of the most effective approaches of delivering specialist disability employment support.
In particular, there is a lack of national and scalable evidence to show what works in supporting people with different types of disability.
Only through providers, employers, trade bodies and user-led groups collaborating with service users to design, implement and share the findings of their pilots or new innovative approaches will we be able to fill the gaps in the evidence base, and deliver the most effective and highest quality support to people with disabilities, health problems and impairments. Recommendations: 1. The eligibility criteria identifying which individuals are most suited to Work Choice and the Work Programme should be immediately clarified. 2. DWP should tackle the systemic barriers to delivery in the design of future specialist disability employment.
3. Work Choice contracts should be extended to enable a new specialist disability employment programme to be designed in parallel with the successor contract to the Work Programme. 4. A new specialist disability employment programme should remain voluntary in nature. To expand the reach of the programme to ensure those with the most complex needs are able to access provision, the referral routes to the programme should also be opened up. 5. A triage assessment tool needs to be introduced for Jobcentre Plus staff to holistically assess the needs of customers with disabilities, health problems and impairments.
6. A new specialist disability employment programme should offer pre-employment support for a longer period of time.
10 Making Work a Real Choice final report Chapter 1 Executive Summary 7. A new specialist disability employment programme should adopt an innovative new payment structure that financially rewards providers for supporting customers to achieve progression milestones. 8. An independent external quality inspection should be introduced to evaluate the quality of any future specialist disability employment programme. 9. A national marketing campaign advertising the support available to employers wanting to employ people with disabilities, health problems and impairments should be progressed. 10.A culture-changing campaign aimed at challenging employers’ attitudes (and those of wider society) towards employing people with disabilities, health problems and impairments should be introduced.
11.DWP should rigorously evaluate the effectiveness of the delivery methods used in any new specialist disability employment programme, so it can clearly identify ‘what works for whom’ and commission future programmes based on this evidence. 12.Shaw Trust will commit to expanding the ‘what works’ evidence base by piloting, evaluating and sharing the results from the delivery of innovative pilots publicly.
Chapter 2 Introduction
12 Making Work a Real Choice final report Chapter 2 Introduction The employment rate of people with disabilities, health problems and impairments in the UK is unacceptably low.
Just 46 per cent of working age people with disabilities are in employment, compared to 76 per cent of non-disabled adults.3 As a charity dedicated to supporting disadvantaged and disabled people at to enter sustained work and live independent lives, Shaw Trust has a responsibility to its beneficiaries to review what more it and wider society can do to support those it serves. In addition, as the largest prime provider of DWP’s specialist disability employment programme, Work Choice, the charity is delivering the main employment programme aimed at supporting people with disabilities, health problems and impairments into sustainable employment.
This is why in June 2013 Shaw Trust launched its interim report and consultation, ‘Making Work a Real Choice’. The purpose of this initial report was to use the evidence-based research the charity collected through interviews, focus groups and surveys of 417 Work Choice delivery staff, customers participating in Work Choice, and industry and employer stakeholders to set out the case for retaining a specialist disability employment programme post-2015. A secondary aim of the report was to challenge the silence across the welfare to work industry and in policy circles on the future of specialist disability employment support.
As such, Shaw Trust aimed to catalyse the debate regarding what a future specialist disability employment programme should look like by launching an open consultation alongside the interim report. Since the launch of the interim Making Work a Real Choice report, the debate surrounding the future of specialist disability employment support has been unequivocally galvanised. New reports have been launched by the British Association of Supported Employment (BASE)4 , the Disability Charities Consortium5 and Disability Rights UK 6 outlining their vision for the future of specialist disability employment support.
In addition, the second independent evaluation of Work Choice has been published by the Department for Work and Pensions. The evaluation also supports the evidence presented in Making Work a Real Choice that there is a “definite need” for a separate specialist disability employment programme to exist alongside mainstream back-to-work provision.7 Finally, Shaw Trust itself received 49 responses from industry peers and partners to its Making Work a Real Choice consultation, outlining their views on the direction of current and future disability employment support. A full list of respondents can be found in annex two.
3 Department for Work and Pensions (2013), Fulfilling Potential. Making it Happen pg 39 4 BASE (August 2013), Submission to the Government Review of Disability Employment Strategy 5 Trotter, R (July 2013), Work in Progress: Rethinking employment support for disabled people 6 Crowther, N and Sayce, L (October 2013), Taking Control of Employment Support, Disability Rights UK 7 Purvis et al (July, 2013), Evaluation of the Work Choice Specialist Disability Employment Programme- Findings from the 2011 Early Implementation and 2012 Steady State Waves of the research, pg 21
13 Making Work a Real Choice final report Chapter 2 Introduction Shaping future provision The purpose of this second and final report is to identify the key features that should underpin any future specialist disability employment programme. Our findings are based on: • the 49 responses submitted to the charity’s consultation • the results of three Work Choice customer focus groups and three Shaw Trust staff and supply chain partner focus groups • 17 in-depth employer interviews conducted independently on behalf of Shaw Trust by Inclusion, and • an independent academic review of national and international best practice, conducted by Inclusion and published in Annex One as part of this report.
Identifying ‘what works’ The qualitative research collected through the research process, alongside Inclusion’s independent review, has enabled Shaw Trust to add to the evidence base detailing ‘what works’ in supporting people with disabilities, health problems and impairments into sustained work. However, the independent literature review outlines a number of areas where more robust research is required to demonstrate ‘what works’ in supporting people with disabilities, health problems and impairments into work. Without this evidence, government policy makers and providers will struggle to design and deliver employability programmes for people with disabilities, health problems and impairments driven by evidence-based best practice.
This is why an additional aim of this final report is not only to identify what key elements should underpin a new specialist disability employment programme, but to also provide a challenge to ourselves and our industry peers and partners – representative bodies and disabled people’s user-led organisations – as well as to DWP, to pilot, evaluate and share delivery best practice across the welfare to work industry. To demonstrate its commitment to sharing its best practice widely, Shaw Trust will be evaluating its own pilot, ‘Bridging the Gap’, and publishing the results of this pilot publicly in 2014.
Although competition between providers has had positive effects, by working together to establish and use the most effective, personalised approaches more working-age disabled adults will be able to enter and sustain meaningful employment.
14 Making Work a Real Choice final report Chapter 2 Introduction What is Work Choice? Work Choice was introduced in October 2010 by the Department for Work and Pensions as the only centrally-funded national specialist disability employment programme. Work Choice replaced the three incumbent specialist disability employment programmes: Work Preparation, WORKSTEP and the Job Introduction Scheme. In contrast, contracted- out Work Choice provision is delivered by eight prime providers and their supply chains across 28 contract package areas across Great Britain. Work Choice is also delivered by Remploy through grant-in-aid funding from the government.
Work Choice is delivered in a modular format as follows: • Module One focuses on helping people to prepare for, search for and secure employment. Lasting six months in duration, with a possible six-month extension, providers offer customers tailored CV development support, support to improve confidence and motivation and employability support such as interview preparation as well as a range of specialist support to tackle customers’ health related and non-health related barriers to work. • Module Two offers customers who have entered work, and their employers, short- to-medium term in-work support for a minimum of eight hours a month, for up to two years.
• Module Three offers customers with more complex needs a longer duration of in-work support for a minimum of four hours a month. Module Three is focused on customers in supported employment and is aimed at helping these customers to transition into unsupported employment in the open labour market. As part of Work Choice, the government has provided funding for over 2,400 supported business places.8 The aim of Work Choice is to move customers into supported or unsupported employment. A job start payment is achieved when customers have entered employment which lasts for 16 or more hours a week.
Providers can also claim a sustainment payment for customers in unsupported employment who have sustained work for 26 out of thirty weeks. Data published in August 2013 shows that to date9 , 31 per cent of customers participating in Work Choice have secured employment.
8 Sayce, L (2011), Getting in, staying in and getting on: Disability employment support fit for the future, Department for Work and Pensions, pg 72 9 Data taken from DWP’s August 2013 Work Choice statistics release: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/work- choice-official-statistics-august-2013
15 Making Work a Real Choice final report Chapter 2 Bridging the Gap Case Study Michael Kestin As a charity committed to supporting people with disabilities into sustained employment, Shaw Trust is reinvesting a proportion of the received funding on Work Choice into the charity’s ‘Bridging the Gap’ pilot.
The pilot creates new job opportunities for Work Choice customers by making available a ‘New Opportunities Grant’ grant of up to £2,500 to incentivise local employers to give a Work Choice customer a job for at least six months. Shaw Trust has been operating the pilot since March 2013, and has considerable success, with 802 customers such as Michael Kestin (below) securing employment through the scheme.
28 year old Michael Kestin from Cross Hands, Llanelli sustained a brain injury in September 2006, and had struggled to find employment since. Michael was referred to Shaw Trust in November 2012 by his disability employment advisor (DEA) based in the Llanelli JobCentre Plus (JCP). Guided by Shaw Trust, Michael was given invaluable support by the charity. Staff at the charity’s Llanelli centre helped Michael to boost his confidence, search for employment and improve his prospects, leading to Michael securing employment.
Shaw Trust staff liaised with local employer, Merlin Medieval Closet – a family-run business specialising in the sale of medieval costumes - guiding Michael into work as an admin assistant.
With the help of Bridging the Gap Michael was supported into the 16 hour a week role. The importance of the role played by Bridging the Gap in helping Michael to realise his potential cannot be underplayed. Michael’s employers reiterate this, with David of Merlin Medieval Closet, saying: “As a small family business we would not have been able to offer this opportunity to Michael without the support and funding offered by the Bridging the Gap initiative.
“We would definitely recommend Shaw Trust to other employers. The support we have received from the charity has been great. It has helped us to create a good job opportunity for Michael, and we will be able to expand the business and hopefully we will be able to sustain the post at the end of the funding period.” Michael also spoke of his delight at being employed. He said: “I felt frustrated that I was unable to secure unemployment and this had a knock-on effect on my self-confidence, leaving me feeling really demotivated.
“The support and encouragement I have since received from Work Choice and my employer has helped me to address many of my concerns and has increased my confidence considerably.
“I would recommend Work Choice to others. The support and encouragement I have received has been invaluable. I had tried for years to secure employment without success. Work Choice helped me to look at new approaches and avenues to get me back to work.”
Chapter 3 Making Work a Real Choice: response to Shaw Trust’s Consultation
17 Making Work a Real Choice final report Chapter 3 Shaw Trust launched a two-month consultation in June 2013 alongside its interim report to gain feedback from our industry peers, partners and stakeholders on the proposals outlined in Making Work a Real Choice. The responses from the consultation also enabled Shaw Trust to explore respondents’ views on what underlying principles should be at the centre of a future specialist disability employment programme. Shaw Trust received 49 responses to the consultation from 38 different organisations.
Submissions were received from: • four local authorities such as Peterborough City Council • six supported businesses10 such as MTIB and Clarity • two Residential Training Colleges (RTCs)- St Loye’s Foundation and Queen Elizabeth Foundation • one Work Choice prime contractor- Ingeus, and • a range of end-to-end and specialist subcontractors involved in Work Choice delivery with a number of prime contractors. This includes user led organisations such as The Action Group, specialist disability charities like Neurosupport and community focused organisations like Craigowl Communities.
Shaw Trust also received some anonymous submissions to the consultation. A full list of respondents can be found in annex two. Employers and Work Choice customers were consulted separately via focus groups and in- depth interviews, the findings of which can be found in Chapter Four. The received responses were overwhelmingly positive about the role Work Choice and other specialist disability employment programmes play in supporting people with health problems, disabilities and impairments into sustainable employment. The responses additionally outlined a number of pragmatic approaches to enhancing current Work Choice delivery, as well as suggestions to shape a future specialist disability employment programme.
a) ‘Should a specialist disability employment programme be maintained post-2015? If so, should the government design a new programme or introduce an enhanced version of Work Choice?’ Although Shaw Trust’s evidence-based research in the interim report demonstrated a clear need to retain a separate specialist disability employment programme, Shaw Trust wanted to test this assertion more widely through public consultation. On the whole, respondents were passionate about the need to retain a specialist disability employment programme, with 48 out of the 49 respondents stating that a specialist disability employment programme should be maintained post-2015.
This future programme should remain separate from any mainstream back-to- work programme.
In addition, respondents believed that any future programme should remain distinct and separate from mainstream provision through, for example, the Work Programme. 10 Supported Businesses are defined in the DWP Evaluation of Work Choice as: “A business established within a current or legacy provider organisation to employ disabled people. Public Contract Regulations (2006) defined a supported business as a service where more than 50 per cent of the workers are disabled persons who by the nature or severity of their disability are unable to take up work in the open labour market.” Purvis et al (July, 2013), Evaluation of the Work Choice Specialist Disability Employment Programme- Findings from the 2011 Early Implementation and 2012 Steady State Waves of the research, pg 15
18 Making Work a Real Choice final report Chapter 3 This is to ensure that the relatively small caseload sizes that enable Work Choice advisers to deliver a personalised service to customers can be maintained, and that the unique identity of this separate and specialist programme to be promoted. Only one respondent disagreed, stating that people with disabilities, health problems and impairments would be best supported by a single back to work programme. Typical comments included: “We believe there is a need for a specialist disability employment programme post-2015 to assist those with complex needs who are furthest away from the labour market to help provide a route into employment.” “Removal of specialist provision with expert help and support to promote people with disabilities into work would dilute any provision considerably.” There was also a high level of consensus regarding what form a future specialist disability employment programme should take.
75 per cent of respondents stated that rather than a completely new programme being introduced when the current Work Choice contracts expire, a new contract based on an enhanced version of Work Choice should instead be introduced. “An enhanced version of Work Choice should be introduced using evidence and experience of what works to date, also from WORKSTEP, Work Prep and the Job Introduction Scheme. Work Choice should be extended and not replaced.” Respondents emphasised the need to retain the perceived successful elements of Work Choice, such as the personalised support offered by Work Choice advisers and relatively low caseload sizes compared to mainstream contracts like the Work Programme11 , to drive the success of any future programme.
However, there was also an acknowledgement that the design and delivery of the service should evolve. Respondents stated that enhancements would deliver improvements to service delivery both, to customers and providers. These included the following: • The extension of Module One to at least twelve months in duration with a six-month extension. Some respondents also thought customers should receive pre-employment support for two years, as is the case for the government’s mainstream employability programme, the Work Programme.
• Greater flexibility in contract delivery, for example tailoring the amount of in-work support to a customer’s needs, rather than prescribing eight hours a month for each Module Two customer. • Introducing a payment mechanism focused on distance-travelled measures involving a “celebration of outcomes other than employment”, both pre-employment and for those customers in work. • An automated job outcome claims verification process similar to the Work Programme to reduce the amount of time spent on paperwork.
11 Purvis et al (July, 2013), Evaluation of the Work Choice Specialist Disability Employment Programme- Findings from the 2011 Early Implementation and 2012 Steady State Waves of the research, pg 21
19 Making Work a Real Choice final report Chapter 3 A third of respondents declaring a desire for a future enhanced version of Work Choice stated these enhancements should be made to the existing Work Choice contracts, which should then be extended. The remaining respondents held a mixture of views regarding what a future specialist disability employment programme should look like. Some respondents stated that a completely new specialist disability employment programme should be created. Alternatively, four respondents stated that in addition to Work Choice, a new programme should be introduced to engage customers with the most complex needs.
This group of respondents stated that although Work Choice had been successful for customers with moderate health needs, more support was needed for those with the most severe mental health problems: “Those with more significant health barriers will require a more specialist provision, therefore a ‘Work Choice plus’ option with more resources would be worth considering.” Finally, the two RTCs submitting evidence to the consultation suggested that an alternative provision was not needed for those with the most complex needs. Rather, customers with the most complex needs could be referred to the intensive residential support offered by the RTCs.
The RTCs also added that Jobcentre Plus should develop a framework of employment support for people with disabilities to access, with clear eligibility criteria defined for each employment support programme. This framework should consist of the support offered by the Work Programme, Work Choice, RTCs and any local provision.
This alternative view echoes the findings of the recent Independent Advisory Panel review of Residential Training College provision, which recommended that DWP should review its referral criteria to all specialist disability employment provision to ensure each customer is referred to the right provision at the right time. 12 A consolidation and mapping of existing programmes to make the most effective use of existing resources could prevent duplication of delivery, and provide a more cost-effective future for specialist disability employment support.
Overall, the majority of respondents agreed that a specialist disability employment programme should be maintained, and that a future programme should take the form of an enhanced version of Work Choice.
b) ‘Should the government procure a new specialist disability employment programme jointly alongside the commissioning of the successor contract to the Work Programme?’ In the interim Making Work a Real Choice report, Shaw Trust recommended that DWP should extend the current Work Choice contracts and procure a new specialist disability employment programme alongside the successor contract to the Work Programme.
This parallel procurement would enable DWP to make consistent policy decisions regarding the complementary provision that customers on both contracts could access, such as existing Skills Funding Agency provision, and would facilitate join-up between mainstream and specialist employment support. 12 Department for Work and Pensions (July 2013), Residential Training Provision, Independent Advisory Panel report, pg 10
20 Making Work a Real Choice final report Chapter 3 Contractual join-up could address some of the delivery challenges identified in Shaw Trust’s interim report, such as clarifying the eligibility criteria to Work Programme and Work Choice.
As DWP has declared in its recently- published Commissioning Strategy document that a successor contract to Work Choice will be procured13 , it is imperative that the timing of any future procurement exercise enables the most effective programme possible to be designed and delivered.
Consultation respondents demonstrated a mix of views on when a future programme should be procured: • Fifty per cent of respondents supported Shaw Trust’s view that a new programme should be designed in parallel to the re- procurement of the Work Programme. Respondents in favour of parallel programme design believed it would enable DWP to: • set clear eligibility criteria for each programme • develop a streamlined and easy-to-use mechanism to cross-refer between both programmes • design and implement a holistic assessment tool to ensure the right customer is referred to the right programme at the right time, and • ensure changes to the welfare system – such as how a job outcome is defined and evidenced under Universal Credit – are consistently factored into the design of both future programmes.
It is worth noting that many of the respondents in favour of parallel procurement highlighted the considerable strain the simultaneous procurement of two new programmes would place on bidding resources. In particular, organisations would struggle to access the capital needed to bid for two separate sets of contracts and to invest in the bid writing and partnership staffing resources needed to secure new prime and subcontracts. Procuring both contracts at exactly the same time could therefore exclude smaller organisations – and indeed many prime contractors – from bidding for either contract.
Therefore, although both contracts should be designed in tandem, a staged procurement process, with separate bidding rounds with an appropriate time period separating them is advisable.
Furthermore, Shaw Trust supports the official Work Choice Evaluation’s call for DWP to learn the lessons from the previous procurement of Work Choice.14 Work Choice was procured in late 2009, however due to the 2010 general election the contracts could not be awarded until after the election. 13 Department for Work and Pensions (July 2013), Commissioning Strategy 2013: Consultation, page 8 14 Purvis et al (July, 2013), Evaluation of the Work Choice Specialist Disability Employment Programme- Findings from the 2011 Early Implementation and 2012 Steady State Waves of the research, pg 150 “We would argue that the successors to Work Choice and the Work Programme should be – at the very least – designed alongside one another to maximise clarity on the purpose and eligibility for each programme.
It would follow that commissioning of each should happen at the same time, for the same programme duration, to give referral agencies a clear choice.”
21 Making Work a Real Choice final report Chapter 3 This squeezed the implementation timeframe for Work Choice from six to three months.15 With a general election due in 2015, Shaw Trust urges DWP and all political parties to consider the impact of the election on the procurement timescales for a specialist disability employment programme, and indeed any future contracts. • 38 per cent of respondents did not want Work Choice and Work Programme to be jointly procured. These respondents were concerned that joint procurement would lead to Work Choice being merged into the Work Programme and that the Work Choice contract package areas would be expanded in scale, further rendering it difficult for smaller providers to compete for support.
There were also concerns that parallel procurement could affect the unique identity of Work Choice: “Any future joint procurement alongside the successor contract to the Work Programme would diminish the separate identity of a specialist disability employment programme.” • The remaining 12 per cent of respondents were undecided about how and when a new contract should be procured. In summary, the largest group of respondents emphasised that the successor programmes to both Work Programme and Work Choice should be designed in parallel. This joint design would enable consistent policy decisions to be made to benefit both programmes, and would enable clear eligibility criteria for both to be developed.
An integrated programme design would require the current Work Choice contracts to be extended. However, there is a degree of hesitancy over the parallel procurement of both programmes due to the resourcing pressures a simultaneous bidding round would place on providers. Therefore a joint design process, but a separate and staged procurement process, is recommended. c) ‘If a new specialist disability employment programme is to be introduced, what funding structure should this programme have?’ Throughout Shaw Trust’s Making Work a Real Choice research there has been an acknowledgement by staff directly delivering Work Choice services that if people with the most complex needs are to be supported into employment, an alternative contract funding structure is needed.
In particular, many staff have conveyed a desire to move away from a funding structure that purely incentivises the achievement of job starts and sustained job outcomes.
Instead, many would like to see the achievement of milestone outcomes such as participation in voluntary work rewarded in addition to job outcome payments, to ensure those furthest from the labour market will be genuinely engaged in programme delivery. Simultaneously, with the Work and Pensions Select Committee recognising that the Work Programme has not delivered the best outcomes possible for customers with health problems to date, now is the time to question how to get the best value out of payments by results contracting for people with disabilities, health problems and impairments.16 15 Purvis et al (July 2013), ibid 16 Work and Pensions Select Committee (May 203), Can the Work Programme Work for all User Groups? First Report of Session 2013- 2014, House of Commons, pg 5
22 Making Work a Real Choice final report Chapter 3 Shaw Trust received a rich and diverse set of responses from respondents answering this question. There was no consensus regarding what the funding structure of a future specialist disability employment programme should look like: • 13 per cent of respondents stated that a future specialist disability employment programme should be funded entirely by a service fee in recognition of the complexity of the needs of Work Choice customers. A service fee supported contract would enable providers to invest in the staffing resources and specialist support needed to support people with disabilities, health problems and impairments into work.
• 22 per cent of respondents stated that they thought the current funding structure worked well. Currently, 70 per cent of Work Choice funding is delivered through a service fee. The remaining 30 per cent can be achieved by supporting customers into supported or unsupported work, and also by sustaining customers in unsupported employment.
• 48 per cent of respondents stated that the funding structure should be revised. In particular, respondents were in favour of keeping a larger service fee relative to other DWP programmes. However, respondents also outlined a number of innovative ideas regarding how some of the service could be re-allocated to different milestones throughout the contract delivery. Respondents wanted to see a range of distance-travelled payment milestones – personalised to the needs of each individual – introduced to financially recognise the achievements that customers who may need more time to achieve full time work make.
In particular, respondents emphasised that undertaking a qualification, attending a centre regularly, or undertaking voluntary work were major successes for some Work Choice customers, and this should be recognised financially. Respondents also wanted distance-travelled milestones recognised for customers in work. Suggestions included receiving funding at different job entry and sustainment milestones, for example, payments at job entry, 13 weeks of employment, 26 weeks of employment and 52 weeks of sustained work, as well as acknowledging that some customers may need to work in part time positions for less than 16 hours a week, due to the nature of their health condition.
The reforms to the benefit tapers and earnings introduced through Universal Credit could result in it being considerably easier to reward milestones for increasing the number of hours an individual works. The DWP ESF Troubled Families contract was cited as an area where a milestone type payment approach had been used, and it was suggested that best practice could be drawn from this programme. “In addition to rewarding job outcomes, the achievement of milestones on the journey towards employability should be recognised financially in order to prevent those with the highest support needs being ‘parked’ on benefits.” • The remainder of the respondents had a mix of views on how a future contract should be funded.
These included asking employers to match fund delivery, using differential payments to incentivise working with customers with the most complex needs. Although there was no clear consensus on what funding structure a future programme should have, the innovative ways identified of funding a future programme through distance travelled milestone payments should warrant further exploration by DWP.
23 Making Work a Real Choice final report Chapter 3 Figure One d) ‘Should the systemic barriers affecting Work Choice delivery, such as the cap on Work Choice referrals, be removed at this stage of the contracting cycle or during the procurement of any future contract?’ Shaw Trust identified a number of systemic barriers that impacted on the delivery of Work Choice in the charity’s Making Work a Real Choice report. Factors such as the referral cap and the lack of clear eligibility criteria between Work Choice and Work Programme were cited by the staff, customers and stakeholders participating in the research as barriers to supporting people with disabilities, health problems and impairments entering sustained employment.
Our initial report also identified the lack of access to Skills Funding Agency provision as a barrier. However, DWP removed this barrier in late September 2013. Respondents to our consultation agreed that the challenges identified in the initial report needed to be tackled. Respondents also identified an additional systemic barrier: the claims and verification process for job entries and job outcomes on Work Choice. The current process involves Work Choice delivery staff collecting and collating significant volumes of paperwork, which employers also need to sign, to demonstrate a job outcome is genuine.
Although all providers acknowledge the need for robust evidence to exist, respondents outlined how an automated system using an off-benefits check, as in Work Programme, could cut bureaucracy, would save providers and employers time, consequently freeing up staff resources to provide more support to customers. This would also utilise DWP best practice in other programmes such as the Work Programme.
Again, there was a diversity of views regarding when and how each barrier identified should be removed. The timings and rationale for the removal of each barrier are outlined in Figure One below. Barrier Timescales for removal The referral cap: Referrals to Work Choice are currently capped each month. Shaw Trust’s research has highlighted that customers have had to wait up to six months to access provision due to the cap. Additionally, specialist providers responding to the consultation stated that the cap has contributed to their reduced delivery volumes.
There was consensus across respondents’ submissions that the referral cap needs to be removed.
In particular, respondents were interested in a future model where customers could self-refer to provision, or where it was compulsory for a proportion of referrals to be recruited by providers voluntarily. However, respondents were concerned that if the cap was lifted immediately they would not have the staffing capacity to increase in the rise in referral volumes. Therefore, respondents suggested the cap should be lifted as part of a new contract, so new delivery models can be developed to address this change. Eligibility criteria: There is a lack of clarity regarding the eligibility criteria for Work Choice and the Work Programme.
Respondents suggested that this barrier could be addressed immediately through the training of Jobcentre Plus staff. The RTCs highlighted that they should also be included in any clarification of the criteria to access specialist disability employment support. The cross-referral mechanisms between programmes could also be strengthened and clarified at this point.
24 Making Work a Real Choice final report Chapter 3 Duration of Module One: Customers with more complex health problems, disabilities and impairments reported that the duration of Module One – with a possible six-month extension – was too short a time to address their barriers to employment and find and enter work.
Again, there was a consensus that this barrier should be removed. However, respondents indicated that the barrier should be tackled in the next contracting cycle, as it would involve a fundamental change to providers’ delivery models. Also, further evaluation and research should be undertaken by DWP to ascertain the most appropriate length of pre-employment support for customers with moderate-to-severe disabilities, health problems and impairments.
Claims and verification process: Providers report that the lengthy paperwork involved in verifying job outcomes detracts from their ability to deliver support to Work Choice customers. Respondents were passionate about the extent to which this barrier negatively impacts on their service delivery. However, respondents pragmatically suggested that this barrier would be best tackled during the introduction to the successor programme to Work Choice. Overall, respondents agreed that systemic barriers to the delivery of the current Work Choice contracts need to be removed. However, due to the potential adverse impact that addressing some of these barriers would have on the delivery of existing contracts, it is recommended the barriers are removed in stages, with some being tackled immediately and others as part of a future specialist disability employment programme.
e) ‘What are your views on whether and how a single assessment of customers’ employability and holistic needs could be introduced at the benefit claim stage?’ Shaw Trust argued in its interim report that an in-depth assessment of customers’ barriers, needs and aspirations should be conducted at the point of benefit claim. The purpose of the assessment would be to determine which is the most appropriate back-to-work programme (including Jobcentre Plus provision) for an individual, and to highlight any additional specialist support that an individual may need to access.
44 per cent of respondents stated that a single assessment of customers’ employability and holistic needs should be introduced at the benefit stage. Respondents stated that clearer identification of the specific support an individual requires at the initial stage of a customer’s benefit claim would result in the right customer being referred to the right programme at the right time. With the introduction of Universal Credit nationwide from October 2013, respondents felt it was the ideal time to review how an individual’s needs (rather than benefit type) could determine which provision would be most effective in supporting them back into sustainable employment.
Respondents also expressed a preference for Jobcentre Plus to conduct these assessments, with partners from stakeholders such as community mental health teams, the NHS and local authorities contributing to the assessment of need where appropriate. However, respondents acknowledged that carrying out such an assessment would place resource pressures on Jobcentre Plus colleagues.
25 Making Work a Real Choice final report Chapter 3 Adding to this view, 17 per cent of respondents highlighted the importance of the assessment process being conducted at regular intervals throughout contract delivery. The regular assessment of customers’ needs would ensure their changing needs and abilities were identified and addressed, including referral to a more suitable back-to-work programme if appropriate. The regular assessment of customer needs could also support the measurement of distance travelled. Some respondents stated the assessment process should begin at week thirteen of the benefit claim to ensure customers’ Jobcentre Plus advisers had built a thorough understanding of the needs of an individual before the assessment.
The results of the assessments should – with customers’ consent – be shared with providers to avoid duplication and to streamline the continuity of support. Providers should build on the assessment review regularly to respond to the evolving needs of customers. Typical comments included: However, 12 per cent of the respondents did not want the assessment to be introduced. Respondents expressed concerns that with the Work Capability Assessment and the new assessment for Personalised Independence Payment, the introduction of another assessment would place added stress on individuals with disabilities, health problems and impairments.
The remainder of respondents were undecided in their views. Although respondents did not fully agree on when a single and holistic assessment of customers’ employability needs should be introduced, there is an overall consensus that the introduction of a triage-type assessment would be beneficial. Such an assessment would help to direct the right customer to the right programme at the right time. f) ‘How can employers be more effectively supported to employ people with disabilities, health problems and impairments?
The employers interviewed as part of Shaw Trust’s initial research perceived that it was financially risky to employ customers with disabilities, health problems and impairments during a time of financial austerity. Consequently, in the first Making Work a Real Choice report, Shaw Trust recommended that the government should explore how it could use wage incentives to encourage employers to employ more people with disabilities, health problems and impairments. Respondents provided a varied mix of views to this question based on their organisations’ experiences of working with employers. The respondents’ evidence provides an interesting contrast to the views of employers (outlined in chapter four).
The primary ways in which employers could become more effectively supported were highlighted as the following: • Bespoke advice and support should be provided to enable employers to recruit, employ and retain employees with disabilities, health problems and impairments. This support should be extended beyond the scope of the in- work support delivered by Work Choice to “To enable effective signposting to support, training and indeed employment opportunities, an accurate assessment of employability and needs is absolutely key. Introduction of such an assessment at the benefit claim stage would be entirely appropriate.
However, it is important to note that needs can change and regular reviews of assessments should be undertaken as a check that the right measures are being offered.”
26 Making Work a Real Choice final report Chapter 3 17 Work Choice and Access to Work providers launched www. accessability.info in July 2013. The website maps where Work Choice and Access to Work support can be accessed across the UK. 18 Department for Work and Pensions (2013), Fulfilling Potential: Making it Happen, pg 6 19 Details of the government’s Disability Confident campaign cab be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-ad-campaign- launched-at-uks-first-disability-employment-conference 20 Department for Work and Pensions (2013), Fulfilling Potential: Making it Happen, Action Plan, pg 21 include the provision of tailored support for employers to adapt their recruitment processes, as well as a helpline – particularly for SMEs – to deal with any human resources issues which may arise.
Respondents were complementary about the support offered to employers to adapt their workplaces through Access to Work, but also highlighted that if the process was less labour intensive, more employers would make use of the scheme.
• Marketing available support more effectively to employers. Respondents noted that the employers they worked with were often not aware that Work Choice and Access to Work existed before contact with their organisation. More effective promotion of the support available and of the benefits of employing individuals with disabilities, health problems and impairments was therefore identified as being crucial in encouraging employers to increase the number of disabled people in their workforce. The new Access Ability website17 and the government’s Disability Confident campaign, including a local radio campaign, and resources were cited as a step in the right direction by respondents.
• Educating employers about the benefits of employing people with disabilities, health problems and impairments, and proactively addressing any misconceptions they may have about employing Work Choice customers. The role models campaign launched in Fulfilling Potential: Making it Happen18 and the Disability Confident19 campaign promoting employer case studies were cited as welcome examples of how the business case for employing people with disabilities, health problems and impairments can be made to employers. However, as the recent ‘Fulfilling Potential’ report outlines20 , a complete ‘culture change’ in employer and societal attitudes is needed before a tangible impact can be made.
• Providing financial incentives to employers to encourage them to employ an individual with disabilities, health problems and impairments. Respondents stated that such incentives should include a national wage incentive scheme for employers to subsidise the employment of people with disabilities during their initial stages of employment, as well as a tax break scheme for employers committed to employing people with disabilities. Respondents overall suggest employers could be more effectively supported if they had greater awareness and access to the support already available to them from both the government and providers.
Education regarding different disabilities and health conditions, in addition to the provision of financial incentives, also were identified by respondents as crucial ways in which employers could be supported to employ more people with disabilities, health problems and impairments.
“There is a great deal of work to be done in terms of educating employers about the various types of disability, and then showing and supporting how to work with someone’s ability, whilst supporting the element of disability.” “Some employers are not disability-aware, and therefore assume an individual will not be able to sustain a job. A job start incentive would allow the employer to start a disabled person and have funds available should additional training be required.”
27 Making Work a Real Choice final report Chapter 3 g) ‘How could personalisation, the (individual placement and support) IPS model or any alternative model of support be piloted and used to enhance the employability support offered to people with disabilities?’ A brief review of the existing literature in Making Work a Real Choice highlighted that alternative approaches to the delivery of employability support to people with disabilities, health problems and impairments had the potential to enhance the effectiveness of current and future specialist disability employment programmes.
Our consultation respondents deliver a diverse range of employment support programmes and shared their wealth of experience with Shaw Trust through their submitted responses. Personalisation: Shaw Trust received a variety of responses regarding the role of personalisation and personal budgets in the future delivery of specialist disability employment programmes. Firstly, respondents highlighted the need to distinguish between personalised delivery and personal budgets. In general, respondents were supportive of Work Choice adopting an even more ‘person- centred’ approach than currently, with providers being given the flexibility to work collaboratively with partners such as the NHS and social care services to manage customers’ journeys back into work.
As highlighted in the DWP Work Choice Evaluation21 , many respondents followed the principles of the Supported Employment model throughout their Work Choice delivery, and emphasised they already delivered a highly- personalised service. Respondents were also supportive of exploring how customers could be given more choice over their back-to- work support. One respondent noted that by empowering customers to choose which back- to-work provision they participate in, or which elements they undertake, the overall quality of the services received would excel. However, respondents were generally apprehensive about the use of personal budgets.
This was due to their own challenging experiences of personal budgets delivery to date through pilots such as the Right to Control Trailblazers. Respondents echoed the results of Shaw Trust’s interim Making Work a Real Choice report that their customers found the concept of personal budgets both stressful and concerning.
“Personalisation should be distinct from personal budgets, which are unproven and untested at scale.” “We recognise the potential of approaches such as personalised budgets for increasing the performance of back-to-work delivery by improving client engagement and empowering clients through service choice. However, we believe that any personalised approach should be first piloted to assess its cost effectiveness and to understand the additionally to performance before being adopted at scale.” 21 Purvis et al (July, 2013), Evaluation of the Work Choice Specialist Disability Employment Programme- Findings from the 2011 Early Implementation and 2012 Steady State Waves of the research, pg 20
28 Making Work a Real Choice final report Chapter 3 However, some respondents thought there was value in developing small-scale personal budget pilots that could be introduced as part of Work Choice delivery. A popular option focused on customers being given a discretionary budget where they could purchase additional specialist support, such as specific vocational training, that would help them on their journeys back to work. Integrating personal budgets within Work Choice would enable customers to access specialist information, advice and guidance needed to make an informed choice on how best to spend this budget.
Individual Placement and Support (IPS): Similarly, consultation respondents adopted a cautious stance on the use of the IPS or ‘place and train’ model to enhance the employability support offered to people with disabilities, health problems and impairments. Under the IPS model participants are rapidly matched to a suitable job and then trained on how to do the job once they have entered work. It has delivered successful results, particularly in the United States, for people with severe mental health problems and learning disabilities. Although respondents recognised the success of existing IPS schemes, they were concerned about the scalability of the projects, both in terms of cost and the extension beyond supporting customers with mental health needs and learning disabilities: Respondents suggested that a role for IPS existed outside of Work Choice provision, with future pilots and contracts being commissioned by local authorities to enable joined up health and social care support.
Alternative approaches: Other ideas included extending the use of supported work placements or intermediate labour markets (ILM) through Work Choice, similar to Shaw Trust’s ‘Bridging the Gap’ project. Through Bridging the Gap, Shaw Trust offers employers new opportunities grant of up to £2,500 to incentivise local employers to give a Work Choice customer a meaningful and genuine job for six months. The scheme is targeted at providing stepping stone employment opportunities for customers with the most complex needs. Customers participating in the pilot receive on-going training and support at work from a Shaw Trust adviser, as well as support to remain in the job or progress into a new job after six months.
Since the scheme’s launch in March 2013, 720 customers have been supported into work.
If employers could commit to offering people with disabilities six months’ paid work on a rolling basis – after which they could progress into a different job – more people with disabilities, health problems and impairments would be able to gain the work experience and skills needed to secure and sustain employment. The use of an ILM approach to create new employment opportunities of community benefit should be particularly encouraged, using the wealth of existing best practice and evidence of effective ILM delivery. The independent ‘What Works’ chapter written by Inclusion in this report highlights some successful approaches of generating employment opportunities through an ILM.
Overall, providers welcomed the benefits that increased personalisation and customer choice could bring to the delivery of a future specialist disability employment programme. However, respondents remained unconvinced that a national rollout of personal budgets or a scheme like IPS provided a tangible alternative to the delivery of specialist disability employment support.
“IPS should be widened further to test its initial small scale successes. It could be unwise to significantly upscale this model of service at the expense of more established provisions.”
29 Making Work a Real Choice final report Chapter 3 Rather, localised IPS contracts could be used to complement national delivery, and ways in which to increase customer choice could be piloted in existing delivery, rather than piloting a personal budgets programme. Other innovative solutions such as using IPS should also be piloted. h) Do you have any other comments or views that could contribute to this consultation? One important additional view came from the supported businesses responding to this consultation.
Currently Work Choice customers are able to access a number of protected employment places in supported businesses. Supported businesses receive £4,800 a year for each protected place. This protected place funding is due to expire when the Work Choice contracts come to an end in 2015. Shaw Trust works with 37 supported businesses responsible for 1,320 protected places through its 16 Work Choice prime contracts across the UK. The supported businesses we work with provide a diverse range of services including the manufacture of furniture frames, the creation of signage and the management of a garden centre and plant nurseries.
The supported businesses responding to the consultation urged DWP to consider maintaining funding for protected places post-2015. They stated that not only do they provide a valuable source of employment for people with the most complex disabilities, health problems and impairments who mainstream employers may struggle to support, but they also match fund the government’s investment by four times the value through their investment in supporting and training Work Choice customers. However, the supported businesses responding to the consultation were also aware that through the recommendations in the Sayce Review22 policymakers are committed to moving away from a model of ‘sheltered employment’.
In acknowledgement of the evolution in government policy towards supported businesses, Shaw Trust has piloted an innovative approach in using its protected place funding for its own supported business – Shaw Trust Industries – in Doncaster. Shaw Trust, with the support of DWP, created the RiSE project (Routes into Sustainable Employment) to offer customers entering supported employment a choice of where they could work. Using the protected place funding, Shaw Trust matches customers to employment opportunities tailored to their needs, and uses this additional funding to provide both the employer and the customer with intensive in-work support.
This innovative way of using protected place funding enables customers to receive intensive in-work support whilst experiencing employment in a ‘mainstream’ workplace. 162 customers have benefitted from this project and have entered employment to date.
Shaw Trust is still developing its own position on the future of supported businesses and we note the pressure on government expenditure and difficult choices that need to be made. However, it is clear that the supported businesses the charity works with make a valuable contribution to the delivery of Work Choice Overall, consultation respondents wanted to see an enhanced version of Work Choice introduced post-2015, designed using best practice from the existing contract and alternative programmes, and designed in parallel with a future mainstream programme. 22 Sayce, L (2011), Getting in, staying in and getting on: Disability employment support fit for the future, Department for Work and Pensions, pg 108
30 Making Work a Real Choice final report Chapter 3 Respondents also wanted to explore how an innovative funding structure based on distance- travelled measures could be introduced and explore further how a single assessment of customer needs could be implemented in addition to more promotion and bespoke support offered to employers to encourage them to employ more people with disabilities, health problems and impairments.
31 Making Work a Real Choice final report Chapter 3 RiSE case study Paul Corbally Paul Corbally was referred to Shaw Trust due to the challenges his health issues presented to him finding and sustaining full time work.
Working with his Work Choice advisor, Stephen McGuire, Paul experienced a boost in his confidence while guided by Shaw Trust. Most significantly, Paul was given invaluable support to realise his potential and land his dream job as a dance instructor. Paul, who has downs syndrome, was offered a placement funded by Shaw Trust as a dance class assistant at dance company Indepen- Dance. The placement opportunity was funded by Shaw Trust’s RiSE project. At the end of Paul’s RiSE contract, Paul was taken on as a full-time member of staff. This proved to be great news for Paul and his family, with Paul praising Karen Andersen – Director of Indepen-Dance and Shaw Trust for helping him, and others, to take full control of their lives and turn their dreams into realities.
“Shaw Trust and Karen helped me a lot,” Paul said. Sharing Paul’s delight, Karen also added: “Initially, Paul attended our core programme of weekly creative involvement classes and training courses. Paul expressed his desire to be part of our inclusive teaching team and was able to realise this with the support of Shaw Trust. “After completing a six month Routes to Sustainable Employment placement, Indepen- dance was able to sustain Paul’s position as a dance class assistant. Stephen at Shaw Trust has been very supportive in making Paul’s journey into our organisation possible, considering both the needs of our third sector organisation and Paul’s’.
“We continue to work with Shaw Trust to support more people into sustainable employment. It’s been a pleasure working with Shaw Trust.”
Chapter 4 Identifying the key elements of a future specialist disability employment programme: results of customer and staff focus groups and employer interviews
33 Making Work a Real Choice final report Chapter 4 In addition to evaluating the views of our industry peers and partners through the Making Work a Real Choice consultation, Shaw Trust commissioned Inclusion to conduct focus groups with Work Choice staff and customers, and to conduct in-depth interviews with employers. The purpose of the staff and customer focus groups was to explore which current features of Work Choice delivery should be used to shape the delivery of a future specialist disability employment programme, as well as highlighting any areas where further development work may be needed.
As the interim Making Work a Real Choice report only considered the views of a small number of employers, the purpose of the employer interviews for this final report was to build on our initial findings and to identify what additional support employers themselves perceive that they need to increase the employment of people with disabilities, health problems and impairments in their workforce. a) Staff and customer focus groups Inclusion’s researchers conducted three customer focus groups involving the participation of twenty seventy Work Choice customers. The majority of customers were currently participating in Module One, however, a quarter of the customers were in work or on a work trial.
Three staff focus groups, attended by 26 staff from both Shaw Trust and supply chain partners, were conducted, in addition to three supplementary staff interviews to ensure that the research involved participants from across England, Scotland and Wales. 29 staff participated in the research in total. Recommended approaches to the delivery of a future specialist disability employment programme Staff and customers participating in the focus groups and interviews identified a number of key features that should underpin any future specialist disability employment programme. Many of the features supported the views of the organisations responding to Shaw Trust’s Making Work a Real Choice consultation.
i) Personally tailored and flexible delivery: The customers participating in the focus groups strongly felt that they had received a personally tailored service throughout Work Choice delivery. Customers stated that staff took the time to understand how their disability, health problem or impairment impacted on their daily lives, and had worked collaboratively with them to produce a development plan tailored to their needs. Customers also emphasised that the flexible and ‘friendly’ interaction they had with staff helped to build their confidence and motivation. Finally, many customers praised Shaw Trust for employing delivery staff who have a disability or experience of managing a health problem, as this has increased staff members’ understanding of the barriers customers face to employment.
Customers therefore identified receiving a highly personalised package of employability support as a critical success factor in progressing into employment.
“They understood the problem from the start… The two advisers here embraced it… it’s settled me down and it’s focused me. Everybody is classed as an individual.” “Every member of Shaw Trust, they never see themselves as above you. Every member of staff has either got a disability or has been in our boat, and that’s why they understand us. They’re not being patronising, they do understand.”
34 Making Work a Real Choice final report Chapter 4 Similarly, staff delivering Work Choice also felt that they delivered a personally-tailored service. Staff commented that there was no one stand- alone intervention that acted as a ‘silver bullet’ in supporting people with disabilities, health problems and impairments into employment.
Rather, a flexible and tailored approach from the referral stage right through to the in-work support delivered was the essential ingredient to delivering successful disability employment support.
“One size fits all doesn’t work, it needs to be individualised and that’s the key for us going forward. We need to have flexibility and adaptability and each organisation needs to look at their staff skills set. If you want to be successful, that’s what you have to do.” “We obviously have targets to reach but we’ll only reach those targets if we consider each person and their values and do an individual learning plan and development plan.” Staff also noted how this flexibility extends to the activities delivered to support customers with complex needs into work, which often go beyond delivering a package of employability support: The continued delivery of a flexible package of support personally tailored to the needs of each individual should therefore remain a crucial element of a future specialist disability employment programme.
ii) Longer duration of pre-employment support: Like the consultation respondents, both staff and customers felt six months was too short a time to receive pre-employment support. Although staff and customers acknowledged some customers are able to quickly find and sustain employment, both sets of focus group participants felt that an increased length of pre-employment support would ensure that more people with disabilities, health problems and impairments would be able to find and sustain work. One customer commented: Other customers highlighted that the government should take into account how seasonal factors affect customers’ abilities to find work into the duration of the programme.
In addition, staff highlighted that by extending the duration of pre-employment support, customers with more complex disabilities would be able to find and sustain employment. “Some people need, you do need extra time and training and extra support and you can’t fit it into six months. That’s why sometimes, sustainable employment can’t be reached.” Staff recommended that a future programme should offer support for up to two years, as is the case with the current Work Programme contracts. However, there is little evidence to date regarding how effective the extended period of employment support has been on the Work Programme.
This is as only customers commencing on the Work Programme between June and August 2011 would have reached the full two years on the programme from June 2013. A clear picture of whether customers continue to enter employment in the latter stages of a two-year period of pre-employment support can only be painted once further performance data is collected over the next twelve to eighteen months.
“People don’t often come to you with just a health condition. Quite often they’ve been on benefits for a really long time... So you’re helping things with people that are not to do with the health condition, but without that they wouldn’t get into work.” “Six months does seem a bit of a short time. At least if it was 9-12 months you could get most of a year in and you would have more of a chance.”
35 Making Work a Real Choice final report Chapter 4 iii) Payment structure: Both staff and customers had interesting views regarding a revised payment structure for a future specialist disability employment programme.
Some staff stated that the current split between the service fee and job outcome rate enabled them to keep relatively lower caseloads and deliver a personalised programme of support. However, customers highlighted concerns that by placing financial and performance targets on contract delivery, they could feel pressured into taking an inappropriate job. One commented: “If Shaw Trust is paid on productivity it does put pressure on clients.” Alternatively, some staff felt the payment structure could be changed to measure and incentivise ‘milestone outcomes’ alongside job outcomes. Some staff were concerned that the progressions some customers with complex needs made towards achieving sustained work were not acknowledged by the current payment structure on Work Choice.
This could lead to negative behaviours. For example, staff felt that by specifying that a job outcome could only be achieved by securing work for at least sixteen hours a week, employment opportunities of fewer hours were not always being considered. Overall, staff agreed with the consultation respondents that a distance-travelled payment model would enhance their abilities to achieve positive outcomes for every single customer on a specialist disability employment programme: iv) Alternative claims and verification system: Finally, staff members echoed consultation respondents’ views of that an automated job outcome claims and verification system would be needed in any future contract.
Staff expressed frustration that they lose time from delivering frontline support to collecting job outcome evidencing paperwork. “A new scheme would need to include a different way of auditing, where there is more time with your client than with your computer.” “When you compare it to something like the Work Programme, whose compliance and verification is really quite simple… it seems to me a system that’s far too complicated, and it’s not beneficial to anyone.” The demand for alternative approaches Shaw Trust was also interested in participants’ views on if and how a specialist disability employment programme could be joined up to health and social care support.
This included asking customers about their views on using personal budgets to purchase their employability support. In our interim report, Shaw Trust was surprised that only 28 per cent of survey respondents wanted more choice and control over their employability support. We wanted to further explore the reasons behind this hesitancy, to enable us to evaluate what role, if any, personal budgets should have in the delivery of a future specialist disability employment programme.
“We have an example of one client who is not going to be work-ready. We have an end goal for him. He has been on the programme and he has come so far, and he is going to leave the programme achieving his own goals. But they aren’t going to be a job outcome. It’s such a shame that the work being done with him is not going to be recognised. So if there was some softer outcome recognition for people like this, that would be great.”
36 Making Work a Real Choice final report Chapter 4 Firstly, both staff and customers took a cautious view to how a future specialist disability employment programme could be integrated with health and social care support.
Staff members were positive about the benefits of closer partnership working with the health and social care support delivered by local authorities, the NHS and community services such as community mental health teams. Staff felt closer partnership working would generate more referrals to a future specialist disability employment programme, allowing them to help a greater number of people. There was also an appetite for a future programme to enable customers to self-refer to provision. Staff felt joint working would help deliver a seamless service to customers and prevent delays in helping customers to access health-related support.
However, staff emphasised that a future specialist disability employment programme should not be co-commissioned between DWP and local authorities. Staff expressed concerns that this could lead to a ‘de-investment’ financially in service delivery, as it could lead to an overall reduction in the range of disability employment programmes available to people with disabilities, health problems and impairments. Staff were also concerned that a movement to locally commissioned delivery could lead to a ‘postcode lottery’, with comprehensive employment support for people with disabilities available in some areas and not others.
Customers additionally expressed concerns that joint working could lead to their confidential information being shared without their consent.
Secondly, customers participating in this final set of focus groups were also hesitant about the concept of personal budgets. Customers stated that they liked the way they received their employability support currently, as they can access all of the advice and support they need to move back into work directly from one place – their Work Choice providers’ delivery centre. They expressed concerns that using a personal budget to choose their own back-to-work support would be complicated, and would result in employability support becoming more difficult to access. Customers also felt the experience would be stressful, and could lead to individuals being harassed by providers to encourage them to purchase their specific back-to-work programmes: With the recent evaluation of the Right to Control Trailblazers for the Office of Disability Issues also concluding that to date, there is not “any evidence of the Right to Control having a significant positive impact on customers, both overall and by subgroup”23 , the role of “We get lots of [people with] mental health issues and then, when you have to refer them to a third party it takes a lot of effort and time.
Sometimes it is difficult to get them appointments. If we had close links these time barriers would be broken down.” “Having direct referral routes to get access to health and social care service would allow for a more fluid process for the customer.” “You don’t want to go shopping for it.” “If you have got issues or you’re unemployed that’s the last thing you want to deal with as well. It is better to go to one place, see one adviser, and then get them to decide.” “Everyone is going to be fighting for your money.” 23 Tu et al (July 2013), Evaluation of the Right to Control Trailblazers: Synthesis Report, pg 3
37 Making Work a Real Choice final report Chapter 4 personal budgets in the delivery of a future disability employment programme needs to be carefully considered. Together with the findings from the Right to Control evaluation, Making Work a Real Choice has highlighted a lack of evidence and appetite from customers, staff, industry peers and partners and academic research for a personal budgets based approach to the delivery of employability support. b) Employers’ experiences of recruiting and employing people with disabilities, health problems and impairments 17 in-depth thirty-minute interviews were conducted with employers.
The employers interviewed were from different areas of the country, industries and had differing experiences in employing people with disabilities, health problems and impairments. Some employers had no experience of employing disabled people, others a wealth of expertise in this field. The employers interviewed ranged in size from being micro- businesses with fewer than five employees to being a large employer employing more than 250 members of staff.
i) Current experiences of employing people with disabilities, health problems and impairments Firstly, employers were asked what experiences they had of making special provisions during their recruitment processes for people with disabilities, health problems and impairments. The results were surprising, with the majority of employers – even those with significant experience of employing disabled people – having little experience of increasing the accessibility of their recruitment processes for people with disabilities, health problems and impairments. Employers cited a lack of knowledge of how to adjust their recruitment processes and concerns regarding the feasibility and affordability of making adjustments as the key reasons why they had not adapted their recruitment processes to date.
“I have never thought about it before… if someone did apply I would go to my line manager or HR department, but I have never had to think about it.” “We are tied into a lease on an industrial estate that is not very accessible for those with physical disabilities. Even though it is just one step, it would be a difficult job to convince the landlord to provide a lift.” Those employers with experience of adapting their recruitment processes were typically from a voluntary sector background. These employers cited using a work trial instead of a paper- or interview-based application process as being crucial to increasing the accessibility of their recruitment processes.
Additionally, employers had made changes to language and formats of their application forms. Employers were then asked about their experiences of employing people with disabilities, health problems and impairments. There were many positive examples given of how employers had adapted their workplaces and working practices to provide tailored support to their disabled employees. Some employers had set up buddying and mentoring schemes in their workplaces to provide additional support to their new disabled employees from longer serving members of staff. Others had made physical adjustments to their workplace, hired British Sign Language translators to help their deaf employees communicate more effectively with other members of staff, and flexibly adapted their working hours to the needs of their employees.
38 Making Work a Real Choice final report Chapter 4 One employer had changed its business model to use the strength of its disabled employees. A security company recruited a number of disabled people who other local employers were reluctant to hire. The employer then employed these individuals to work short shifts around their healthcare needs. The recruitment of these additional staff led to the employer taking on a new set of contracts. The employer commented that recruiting this set of disabled people had: “…helped us to turn around our business and take on contracts that we wouldn’t have been able to.
It gives us more staff and made us more competitive.” Employers also stated that using the financial support offered by Access to Work was crucial to helping them to adjust their workplaces. Employers with experience of employing people with disabilities, health problems and impairments were also positive about the benefits their disabled employees brought to their businesses. Employers valued the different strengths their disabled employees offered their businesses, as well as the strong work ethic and commitment their disabled employees brought to their jobs: “The one person who we have in the kitchen I wouldn’t class as any different.
He is hard working and we haven’t had to make any adjustments. He is a real asset, a good worker, he does a good job.” “[An employee] has difficulties with learning. So everything he does is very slow but in terms of hospitality it can be good because he has time and he talks to people. We are so quick and we don’t spend time with the customers. But he does and he talks to people and they appreciate it.” Other employers commented that employing people with disabilities, health problems and impairments had helped to demonstrate their commitment to equality and diversity, and demonstrated to their local communities that they were socially responsible employers: “[Our experience of employing disabled people] is going to be a massive part of our upcoming audit.
All of our approved contractor services will be audited and we are looking to get recognition for what we are doing… We wanted something to prove that we work in the community as that would help us because people would want to buy from us as we look after the people.” However, employers with little experience of employing people with disabilities, health problems and impairments demonstrated a number of negative misconceptions regarding the nature of those issues and the challenges that employing a disabled person would bring to their workforce. These employers tended to equate ‘disability’ with physical disabilities only, and perceived that an individual’s disability would prevent them from undertaking a number of job roles: “In the café environment I have never seen a person with disabilities working there.
I can’t imagine that they would be able to cope with the demands.” Other employers emphasised they would not be able to make the required physical adaptations to their workplaces if they were to employ people with disabilities, health problems and impairments, or meet their legal health and safety duties. Finally, one employer stated they perceived the cost of employing an individual with a disability to be so high, the only way they would consider increasing the number of people working for them was if disabled people would be willing to work for free. Such a negative and challenging attitude suggests that if we are to increase the employment rate of people with disabilities, health problems and impairments in the UK a
39 Making Work a Real Choice final report Chapter 4 significant culture change in both employer and wider societal perceptions of disability is desperately needed. ii) What additional support can be offered to employers to increase their capability to employ people with disabilities, health problems and impairments? The employers interviewed demonstrated a diversity of views regarding what support would be most useful in encouraging them to employ more people with disabilities, health problems and impairments. However, one common theme conveyed by the majority of employers was the need for more information regarding the services and support available to them.
Although some of the employers had used Access to Work and Work Choice services, the employers tended to initially equate the service they had received with the provider delivering the service. Many employers were unaware that these nationwide programmes dedicated to helping employers recruit and support disabled employees were in place. Employers were equally unaware of the information on websites like www.gov.uk, which provide a comprehensive overview of the support available to employers to recruit people with disabilities, health problems and impairments: Actively marketing the existing support available to employers could, therefore, make a significant impact in changing employers’ perceptions of their own capabilities to employ people with disabilities, health problems and impairments.
The government is already doing a lot of work through their Disability Confident campaign to market the support available to disabled employees, and this should be strengthened further through the work of providers, industry trade bodies, and employers themselves.
Employers with experience of engaging with Work Choice and Shaw Trust were complimentary about the support they had received throughout the recruitment process and their employment of people with disabilities, health problems and impairments. Employers were very positive about using work trials as a key way of recruiting people with disabilities, health problems and impairments, as it gives the employer and the employee the opportunity to evaluate whether the role is right for them. They also welcomed the advice and support offered by Shaw Trust and other Work Choice providers in helping them to understand how a customer’s disability, health problem and impairment impacts on their daily lives.
Lastly, the employers interviewed were also positive about the support offered to both themselves and their employees through Work Choice. They welcomed having an adviser they can call and ask questions to and the help offered applying for financial support from Access to Work, as well as support to adjust other elements of their working practices. Employers commented: “It would be useful if there was information in a government handbook that the Government could distribute to employers. Because at moment, say if someone can’t get to work on the bus – is there some form of support? How do we get hold of them or to receive money for a taxi to work? There are probably a lot of small things out there at the moment we don’t know about that could make a difference to us.” “If I need anything, like if an employee doesn’t have any money, and I can ring them up and say ‘they are really struggling, what support can you offer them?’ and they organise taxis and stuff like that.
They have been there for me and if I pick the phone up they will come straight away. But to be honest, I don’t often have problems, but I have the number there just if I need it.”
40 Making Work a Real Choice final report Chapter 4 “If I have a guy who hasn’t turned up for work, I can ring them and find out what is wrong. They could be genuinely ill or sometimes they need some prompting; then Shaw Trust will just be there to sort that out.” The bespoke recruitment and in-work support offered by Work Choice is therefore a crucial element in helping employers to employ more people with disabilities, health problems and impairments. Finally, interviewees identified a range of other ways they could be encouraged to employ more people with disabilities. Some employers wanted access to wage incentives to help cover the transitional costs of employing people with disabilities.
Other employers were satisfied with the financial support received through schemes like Access to Work. However, they wanted to see the paperwork simplified as the existing bureaucracy proved extremely time-consuming for smaller employers to complete. This could potentially be addressed as part of the Cabinet Office’s red tape challenge proposals. 24 Lastly, some of the larger employers highlighted that their local managers need convincing of the business benefits of employing people with disabilities, health problems and impairments. In a time of austerity, they reported that area managers were unwilling to make any changes to local working arrangements that could potentially prove costly.
This last suggestion supports the view that a wider culture change is needed to address the low employment rate in the UK of people with disabilities, health problems and impairments.
24 http://www.redtapechallenge.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/category/news- updates/
41 Making Work a Real Choice final report Chapter 4 Work Choice case study Damien Lewis Damian, 23, from Somerset has successfully found work with the help of our Work Choice staff in Taunton Damian, who has Asperger syndrome, lives in a very rural part of the country where opportunities are limited. Damian also finds using public transport hard which has meant that he has been out of work for over a year. Unemployed for about 13 months and worried about the future, he joined Work Choice last year.
Guided by Shaw Trust’s Work Choice office in Taunton, Damian was given extra support to enable him to use public transport, and he was eventually placed into work with Sharpak - a local food packaging company.
“Damian has settled in well,” said manager Stephen Gaylor. “He is reliable and completes every task with 100% commitment.” “Sharpak is a fantastic company,” said Jacqui Markham, Shaw Trust employer account manager. “They really do care about the community and the people that work for them”. Damian’s confidence has grown, and we are now supporting him to get his moped licence, giving him even more freedom to travel to work. “Damian’s goal is to own his own motorbike,” continued Jacqui. “With our help I feel sure he will achieve this.”
Chapter 5 Conclusions and recommendations: encouraging an evolution in specialist disability employment support
43 Making Work a Real Choice final report Chapter 5 Conclusions and recommendations In this report Shaw Trust has used the results of primary evidence-based research with 73 staff, customers and employers alongside the consultation contributions of 49 industry peers and partners, and academic research from both the UK and internationally (detailed in annex One) to identify the key recommended features of a future national specialist disability employment programme. From the evidence presented in this report, it is clear that the government’s existing specialist disability employment programme, Work Choice, makes a real and positive difference to the lives of customers with disabilities, health problems and impairments, and employers offering Work Choice customers job opportunities.
Not only have 31 per cent 25 of Work Choice customers secured supported or unsupported employment as a result of the support they have received, but employers interviewed with experience of using Work Choice felt they would not have been able to employ an individual with a disability, health problem or impairment without the support offered by Work Choice providers. Therefore, any future specialist disability employment programme implemented post-2015 needs to build on the best practice from current delivery and deliver an enhanced version of Work Choice support, rather than reinvent the scope and format of national disability employment support.
However, it is important to note that the recommendations made in this report are only the beginning of designing and implementing a future specialist disability employment programme. There is a need for further innovative approaches to be developed, evaluated and shared widely amongst customers, trade bodies and user led organisations, providers, policy makers and employers. The sharing and implementation of such best practice will enable more people with disabilities, health problems and impairments to move into sustained employment.
a) Enhancing and extending current Work Choice delivery Shaw Trust’s initial Making Work a Real Choice report identified a number of systemic barriers impacting on the effectiveness of Work Choice delivery of people with disabilities, health problems and impairments.
Through the Making Work a Real Choice consultation and staff focus groups, Shaw Trust gauged participants’ opinions on when and how these systemic barriers to current Work Choice delivery could be tackled. Participants felt that the barriers to delivery, many of which are bureaucratic in nature, would be best tackled in stages, to prevent existing contract delivery being adversely affected.
Participants also acknowledged that by designing a future specialist disability employment programme in tandem to the successor contract to the Work Programme, policy inconsistencies between the two programmes could be addressed. However, participants emphasised that future specialist and mainstream back-to-work programmes should be procured and implemented separately and at different intervals to ensure providers had sufficient capacity to deliver high quality services while bidding for new contracts. 25 https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for- work-pensions/series/work-choice-statistics-number-of-starts-and- referrals--2 .
The statistic was taken from the August 2013 data release.
44 Making Work a Real Choice final report Chapter 5 Conclusions and recommendations Recommendations 1. The eligibility criteria identifying which individuals are most suited to Work Choice and the Work Programme should be immediately clarified. In addition, DWP should clarify, as part of this review, which individuals would be best suited to participating in their specialist disability employment support at a residential training college. All Jobcentre Plus staff should be trained to understand how they can refer customers to each programme, and cross- referral between each programme should be simplified.
This would help to ensure the right customers are accessing the right programme at the right time.
2. DWP should tackle the systemic barriers to delivery in the design of future specialist disability employment. Shaw Trust recommends that removing the referral cap, extending the duration of Module One, and implementing an automated job outcomes claims and verification process, similar to the current Work Programme system, as part of the design and delivery of a future specialist disability employment contract. 3. Work Choice contracts should be extended to enable a new specialist disability employment programme to be designed in parallel with the successor contract to the Work Programme.
However, a new specialist disability employment programme should be procured and implemented at a different time to a future mainstream programme. This would ensure both programmes would effectively complement each other from the start of contract delivery, and would enable consistent and equitable policy decisions to be made to benefit both programmes. However, it is important to acknowledge that the programmes will need to be procured separately to ensure the industry – at both prime and subcontractor level – has enough resource to bid effectively for the contracts and offer the best possible options to government.
b) Key features of a new specialist disability employment programme Our research highlighted that a future disability employment programme should build on existing best practice, gained through the delivery of existing programmes like Work Choice, legacy programmes such as WORKSTEP, and by using identified best practice – such as the Supported Employment model – from academic research and alternative disability employment programmes. The evidence Shaw Trust has collated suggests that an enhanced model of Work Choice could be implemented, involving: • a simple triage assessment of customers’ employability and holistic needs to ensure they are directed to the most appropriate employment support programme • an extended period of pre-employment support to ensure customers with the most severe barriers to work can continue to receive support to help them enter and sustain work • continued in work support for up to two years, albeit with the intensity of the support available tailored completely to the needs of customers and employers
45 Making Work a Real Choice final report Chapter 5 Conclusions and recommendations • an innovative new funding model based on distance-travelled payments to incentivise providers to work with customers furthest from the labour market, and • the implementation of a new external quality inspection to ensure every customer on a future specialist disability employment programmes receives the highest quality service possible. This quality assessment could be complementary to the current DWP Merlin inspection by focusing on both customer and employer experience of Work Choice delivery, and should be shaped by direct feedback from both parties.
The performance of each contract and the accessibility of the provision for people with disabilities, health problems and impairments should also be evaluated as part of this inspection. The inspection could be funded by providers, as is the case with the current Merlin inspection and other complementary inspections such as the ISO27001 inspection, to maximise value for money for the government. A future programme should also remain voluntary for customers to ensure those facing challenging health problems can participate in back-to-work support at the most suitable time for them. It would also ensure individuals needing to stop participating in the programme due to the changing nature of their health conditions would be able to do so without their benefits being affected.
To encourage individuals who are not in contact with Jobcentre Plus to engage with a future specialist disability employment programme, including individuals in contact with statutory referral organisations, providers should be required to recruit a proportion of their own referrals for a new programme. This not only would open up access to the provision, but would also encourage providers to engage and work with individuals with the most complex needs and disabilities. Providers could also work with young people leaving school and wanting to work to help facilitate a smooth transition into their first sustainable job.
Future customers should also be able to self-refer to the programme. This would help to facilitate individual choice over when and who they would like to deliver their back-to- work support package, which would in turn drive up the quality of providers’ services. Jobcentre Plus could still provide an eligibility check for each customer to ensure providers were complying with the eligibility criteria for the programme. A potential referral process for a new specialist disability employment programme can be found in Figure Two below.
Figure Two: Referral to specialist disability employment support Provider marketing and engagement of community partners and individuals with disabilities, health problems and impairments Individual is not claiming the out of work element of Universal Credit Self-referral Individual is claiming the out of work element of Universal Credit Claim Universal Credit from Jobcentre Plus due to being out of work and having a disability, health problem or impairment Jobcentre Plus conducts triage assessment to determine the most appropriate back to work support programme A need for specialist disability employment support (on a non- residential basis is identified) leading to Jobcentre Plus New specialist disability employment programme Referral from statutory referral organisations and community partners
46 Making Work a Real Choice final report Chapter 5 Conclusions and recommendations 4. A new specialist disability employment programme should remain voluntary in nature. To expand the reach of the programme to ensure those with the most complex needs are able to access provision, the referral routes to the programme should also be opened up. Providers should be able to actively recruit a proportion of customers from a range of referral sources such as GPs’ surgeries, community mental health teams and local authority provision, alongside receiving referrals from Jobcentre Plus. Customers should also be given the opportunity to self- refer to the programme.
5. A triage assessment tool needs to be introduced for Jobcentre Plus staff to holistically assess the needs of customers with disabilities, health problems and impairments. This would enable Jobcentre Plus staff to identify which back-to-work programme is the most appropriate for each customer. Jobcentre Plus should build a framework of support programmes they can refer to, including mainstream and specialist disability employment support, residential training colleges and local authority provision. The introduction of Universal Credit provides the ideal opportunity for Jobcentre Plus to review how customers are referred to back- to-work support.
Providers should continue to enhance their own assessment tools, ensuring they work collaboratively with partners such as community mental health teams to develop truly personalised support plans for each customer.
6. A new specialist disability employment programme should offer pre-employment support for a longer period of time. Based on the findings of this report, customers, staff and our industry partners and peers recommend that support is delivered for a minimum of twelve months. The current duration of in-work support of two years for customers entering unsupported employment, and longer for those in supported employment, should remain. 7. A new specialist disability employment programme should adopt an innovative new payment structure that financially rewards providers for supporting customers to achieve progression milestones.
Due to the complex nature of many current Work Choice customers’ disabilities, health problems or impairments, it may take a considerable amount of time before a customer enters sustained work. To ensure providers work with those furthest from the labour market, they should be financially incentivised to support customers to achieve distance-travelled milestones tailored to their individual needs. At the pre-employment stage this could involve undertaking a qualification or participating in a work trial or work experience. Progression payments should also be introduced for customers entering work.
In particular, customers could be encouraged to build up the number of hours they work over time. The gradual build-up of working hours and the removal of the ’16-hour rule’ for a job outcome would complement DWP’s Universal Credit reforms aimed at making work pay. Providers could also receive distance- travelled payments at job entry, and job sustainment for 13, 26 and 52 weeks (and longer) to help customers remain in work. A high level of service fee (relative to mainstream programmes) should also be retained to ensure lower staff-to-customer caseloads can be maintained.
8. An independent external quality inspection should be introduced to evaluate the quality of any future specialist disability employment programme. Feedback from customers using the Recommendations
47 Making Work a Real Choice final report Chapter 5 Conclusions and recommendations Support for employers The results of the employer interviews highlighted there are many positive examples of employers successfully employing people with disabilities, health problems and impairments. Many employers have made adaptations to their workplaces and working practice to tailor job roles to the needs of their individual employees.
Some of the employers interviewed commented on how employing people with disabilities, health problems and impairments had enhanced their workplaces and their abilities to deliver community-focused services. However, not all employers viewed the employment of people with disabilities, health problems and impairments in a positive light. Some of the employers interviewed had negative misconceptions of the abilities of disabled people. The employers interviewed – even those with experience of employing disabled people – also had a lack of awareness of the support available to them to support their employment of people with disabilities, health problems and impairments.
Recommendations 9. A national marketing campaign advertising the support available to employers wanting to employ people with disabilities, health problems and impairments should be progressed. DWP and providers of Work Choice, Access to Work, residential training colleges and other specialist disability employment support programmes should work together to promote to employers the package of support already available to employers wanting to employ people with disabilities. This support includes the materials from the government from GOV.UK and the Disability Confident Campaign, the new Access Ability website, and the services from providers themselves.
The benefits of employing people with disabilities should also be promoted throughout the campaign. If employers are aware of what support is accessible to them, more employment opportunities for people with disabilities, health problems and impairments could be opened up.
10. A culture-changing campaign aimed at challenging employers’ attitudes (and those of wider society) towards employing people with disabilities, health problems and impairments should be introduced. DWP, providers, trade bodies, user-led organisations and employers with positive experiences of employing disabled people should work together to educate employers and society to understand the impact of disability on individual’s lives. Employers should be challenged to focus on people’s abilities and what they can do, rather than what they cannot. People with disabilities, health problems and impairments should work collaboratively with DWP, providers and employers to develop and deliver this campaign.
services, as well as |supply chain members and employers, should feature in any evaluation of programme quality. Consideration needs to be given to how any new quality inspection complements the Merlin Standard.
48 Making Work a Real Choice final report Chapter 5 Conclusions and recommendations d) The need for further evidence and piloting The independent literature review conducted by Inclusion, and found in annex one, identifies that there is a rather limited evidence base to show ‘what works’ at a national or scalable level, in supporting people with disabilities into sustained employment in the UK. In particular, there is a lack of consistency in the language used to describe different delivery methodologies, and the achievement of different outcomes renders it difficult to make direct comparisons between different provisions.
There is also a lack of evidence to show what works in supporting individuals with different types of disabilities into work.
Recommendations 11.DWP should rigorously evaluate the effectiveness of the delivery methods used in any new specialist disability employment programme, so it can clearly identify ‘what works for whom’ and commission future programmes based on this evidence. Future evaluations should assess the effectiveness of different delivery models, both in terms of generating employment outcomes, achieving contractual milestones and delivering a positive experience for customers. The evaluations should also assess the effectiveness of support for customers with a range of different disabilities, health problems and impairments to ensure a future disability employment support programme addresses the needs of every single customer.
12.Shaw Trust will commit to expanding the ‘what works’ evidence base by piloting, evaluating and sharing the results from the delivery of innovative pilots publicly. Shaw Trust will initially evaluate and publish the findings from the charity’s Bridging the Gap project in 2014. Shaw Trust is also committed to designing future pilots in collaboration with its service users and sharing the results of these pilots widely. We also call on our industry peers to develop innovative pilots and share their own delivery best practice widely. It is only by working collaboratively with policymakers, user groups and our industry partners to share delivery best practice, and by learning from each other’s experiences – both positive and negative – that a future disability programme delivering the best possible outcomes for people with disabilities, health problems and impairments can be developed.
Through Making Work a Real Choice, Shaw Trust has worked with 539 customers, staff, employers and stakeholders to make the case for retaining a specialist disability employment programme post-2015. Our research has identified the foundations on which a future specialist disability employment programme should be built, in addition to ways in which current provision can be enhanced. Fundamentally, however, it is only by providers, employers and policymakers working in partnership with our customers who use specialist disability employment services to tailor programme delivery that a future specialist disability employment programme can tangibly contribute to raising the employment rate of people with disabilities, health problems and impairments in the UK.
50 Making Work a Real Choice final report Annex One: An independent chapter by Inclusion ‘What works’ to support disabled people, and those with health conditions, into sustained work? An independent literature review researched and written by Inclusion In order to support the research and consultation process carried out as part of ‘Making Work a Real Choice’ a short review of the evidence on ‘what works’ in supporting disabled people, and those with health conditions, into sustained work has been carried out. This review primarily focused on practice within European Union (EU) and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries.
In addition to drawing out lessons for delivery, it raises some key issues for commissioners and providers of employment related services about the future shape of commissioning models and developing service quality.
1) The evidence base When reviewing the evidence a number of key constraints to clearly identifying ‘what works’ should be noted. Firstly there is a lack of consistency in the definitions used to categorise participants, support models or methods of service delivery and programme outcomes. For example, a recent review of the economic evidence around employment support for disabled people26 found definitions of some models of service delivery were subject to liberal interpretation, making comparisons difficult.
In addition to these issues of definition, there are more general concerns about the way some research evidence has been formulated, with an overall view that there is a lack of robust quantification of employment outcomes and the cost/benefit analysis of many interventions27 .
This latter issue has, in part, been linked to the fragmentation of support across multiple agencies and programmes and which makes it difficult to plan, design and evaluate interventions28 . a) Evidence on ‘what works’ Despite these challenges there are many useful sources of evidence on the interventions used to support disabled people into sustained work. A DWP report, which reviewed evidence from the evaluations of previous programmes, aimed to identify what works for particular groups of participants29 . This review noted the heterogeneous nature of disability and the wide range of issues disabled people face in entering and retaining work.
Linked to this, the report noted that personalisation of service delivery (so it meets the specific needs of individuals) was seen as crucial by providers and valued by participants. In particular, provider staff noted the importance of having adequate time to spend with participants and the opportunity to tailor services to meet individual need as key factors in moving disabled people towards work. A review of lessons from the United States (US) carried out for DWP30 also reported that initiatives that had the largest positive impacts on employment for this group generally offered more intensive and personalised services.
26 Wilkins, A., Love, B., Greig, R. and Bowers, H. (2012) Economic Evidence Around Employment Support. National Development Team for Inclusion / School for Social Care Research, National Institute for Health Research. 27 Dibden, P et al, (2012) Quantifying effectiveness of interventions for People with common health conditions in enabling them to stay in or return to work: A rapid evidence assessment DWP research report 812 28 Wittenburg, D et al, (2013) The disability System and programs to promote employment for people with disabilities IZA Journal of Labor Policy 2:4 29 Hasluck, C. and Green, A.
(2007) What works for whom? A review of evidence and meta-analysis for the Department for Work and Pensions. Department for Work and Pensions Research Report No. 407. 30 Rangarajan, A, et al, (2008) Programmes to Promote employment for disabled people: Lessons from the United States, Department for Work and Pensions Research Report 548
51 Making Work a Real Choice final report Annex One: An independent chapter by Inclusion 31 Trotter, R (2013) Work in progress: Rethinking employment support for disabled people Disability Charities Consortium 32 House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee (2013) Can the Work Programme work for all user groups? First Report of Session 2013-14. 33 http://stats.cesi.org.uk/website_documents/WP_stats_inclusion_ briefing_June_2013.pdf 34 Purvis, A., et al (2013) Evaluation of the Work Choice Specialist Disability Employment Programme, Department for Work and Pensions Research Report 846 35 Newton, B., Meager, N., Bertram, C., Corden, A., George, A., Lalani, M., Metcalf, H., Rolfe, H., Sainsbury, R.
and Weston, K. (2012) Work Programme evaluation: Findings from the first phase of qualitative research on programme delivery. Department for Work and Pensions Research Report No. 821.
36 Sayce, L. (2011) Getting in, staying in and getting on: disability employment support fit for the future. Department for Work and Pensions. 37 Wittenburg, D et al (2013) Op. Cit. 38 Also known as the ‘place, train and maintain’ model or job coaching 39 Cook, J.A. et al (2008) The Employment Intervention Demonstration Programme: major findings and policy implications. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal 31 (4) Furthermore, there is evidence to suggest generalist programmes do not work well for disabled people. A Disability Charities Consortium report31 on employment support for disabled people highlighted that Work Programme performance for disabled people has been disappointing.
The Work and Pensions Committee inquiry into the Work Programme, which considered its effectiveness for different groups of jobseekers including disabled people32 , also noted that the programme appeared not to be reaching this group. This finding was supported by an analysis of the Work Programme performance statistics, released in June 2013 and carried out by Inclusion33 , which noted a performance of 5.3 per cent against a minimum performance level of 16.5 per cent for the new Employment Support Allowance (ESA) claimant group. Research carried out as part of the DWP Work Choice evaluation34 offered some comparison of the support offered to disabled people through Work Choice with that offered through the Work Programme.
In general, providers reported there was less participant contact on the Work Programme than on Work Choice, and Work Programme provision was reported to be less personalised to meet individual needs. In addition to this, initial research carried out as part of the evaluation of the Work Programme35 has indicated that many Work Programme providers may be prioritising more ‘job-ready’ participants for support ahead of those who are assessed as having more complex or substantial barriers to employment. The majority of provider and Jobcentre Plus staff involved in the Work Choice Evaluation also articulated a strong belief that there was a definite need for a specialist disability programme alongside mainstream provision.
This view is in line with the findings of the 2011 Sayce Review36 , which identified a clear role for specialist disability employment support and recommended a single specialist disability employment programme to run alongside mainstream provision. On the basis of this and the findings noted above, the Work Choice evaluation recommended that DWP continue to fund and develop specialist disability employment support as a separate specialist area of provision.
Some of the most recent evidence on employment-focused interventions within the US disability system37 has also noted that interventions with a broad focus do not work as well as those where support is individually customised. This paper reviewed a number of evaluations of supported employment interventions which offer robust evidence that the Supported Employment38 model, which includes the Individual Placement and Support (IPS) approach, offered a significant positive impact on participant employment and earnings. For example, findings from the Employment Intervention Demonstration Programme39 found supported employment participants were more likely to be competitively employed than those in a control group (55 versus 34 per cent).
52 Making Work a Real Choice final report Annex One: An independent chapter by Inclusion 40 Bond, G.R., Drake, R.E., Becker, D.R., et al (2008) An update on randomised controlled trails of evidence-based supported employment. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 31 41 Purvis et al, (2013) Op. cit. 42 European Commission (2011) Supported Employment for people with disabilities in the EU and EFTA-EEA: good practices and recommendations in support of a flexicurity approach. 43 Beyer, S. and Robinson, C. (2009), Wittenburg, D et al (2013) Op. Cit. 44 EUSE http://www.euse.org/process 45 HM Government (2010) Valuing Employment Now: Job Coaching or Supported Employment- Approach and Progress in Developing Standards.
Another study40 reviewed of a number of randomised controlled trials which have compared the use of Supported Employment with ‘train and place’ vocational rehabilitation models and reported an average of 61 per cent of participants were placed in employment, compared to 23 per cent in the sites that followed other approaches. b) Supported Employment The Work Choice evaluation41 reported that the use of the Supported Employment approach is widespread across Europe and in OECD countries. It noted that in its broadest sense Supported Employment is described as support for disabled people in obtaining and maintaining paid employment in the open labour market42 .
Supportive measures noted as good practice within European models include assistance to the participant before, during, and after obtaining a job, as well as support to the employer.
More clearly defined models of Supported Employment are also found within Europe and in the US, where the model was developed. These approaches offer the most robust evidence on the impact of the model43 . Within the European context, the European Union for Supported Employment (EUSE) has developed a best practice model of Supported Employment which is supported by quality standards and a number of ‘how to’ guides and toolkits44 . This model, which is also endorsed by BASE, offers a framework previously used by government to define and agree standards for Supported Employment in England. The Valuing Employment Now (VEN) policy paper on Supported Employment45 described the model as ‘a well evidenced, personalised approach to working with people with considerable disabilities to access and retain employment, with support’.
The VEN paper also described the key stages of Supported Employment which are outlined below: Participant engagement: The Supported Employment model recognises the importance of raising the employment related expectations of disabled people, their families, and relevant education, health and social care professionals.
Vocational profiling: Supported Employment should include a mechanism for the identification of the aspirations, learning needs, skills, and job preferences of the participant. This vocational profile then informs job searching to ensure a high quality job match is obtained. Job matching: The accuracy of job matching should ensure the long- term suitability of employment. Once an employer’s commitment to offering work is secured, a job analysis is usually undertaken. This may suggest ways of carving together parts of job descriptions that suit a participant’s talents and are cost- effective for the employer.
Employer engagement: is seen as a key element, where employers are partners the provider has an ongoing relationship with. It can help to overcome traditional recruitment barriers through the use of working interviews, and recognises that most people learn skills better in situ, adopting a ‘place and train’ approach.
53 Making Work a Real Choice final report Annex One: An independent chapter by Inclusion 46 Systematic instruction is a particular method of job coaching that supports disabled people in the workplace, and it is felt to be a particularly useful approach for those with a learning disability.
47 Purvis et al, (2013) Op. cit. 48 Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health (2009) Doing what works, Individual placement and support into employment. Briefing 37. 49 Purvis, A., Small, L., Lowrey, J., Whitehurst, D. and Davies, M. (2012) Project SEARCH Evaluation: Final Report. Office for Disability Issues. 50 Burns, T., Catty, J., Becker, T. et al (2007) The effectiveness of supported employment for people with severe mental illness: A randomised controlled trial. The Lancet, 370 In-work support: Vocational profiling and job analysis should ensure in-work support is individually tailored. Where appropriate, this support may include specialist elements such as systematic instruction46 , alongside the development of natural supports in the workplace.
Providers should also ensure goals are agreed and progress recorded, and that ongoing training takes place and offer out-of-work support if needed. The Work Choice evaluation47 noted that the core elements of Supported Employment described above are also found in related models of employment support developed to support particular groups of disabled people. For example, the IPS model, which has been found to be successful for supporting people with mental health conditions into work48 , and Project SEARCH supported internships, which support young people with a learning disability in their transition from education into employment49 .
One study of IPS50 found participants were twice as likely to gain employment compared with more traditional alternatives (55 per cent compared to 28 per cent.) The Work Choice evaluation also explored evidence of best practice within programme delivery. It noted that many elements of delivery which providers identified as contributing to good performance align with the Supported Employment model and these are outlined below.
Pre-work support: Regular one-to-one support from an adviser was reported to build participants’ confidence and motivation, with many staff noting participant motivation as a key factor in achieving successful outcomes. Development planning which facilitated the delivery of personalised and flexible support and facilitated accurate job matching was also seen as key. Adopting a place then train approach which included work-based interventions such as placements and work trials (in place of more traditional interviews) was reported to be very beneficial. In-work support: While there were no specific reports of job analysis or job carving many providers referred to advising on workplace adjustments as part of flexible and tailored in-work support.
This usually involved input from the employer and appeared to work well. Successfully engaging with and supporting employers was also seen as vital, and maintaining the continuity of existing relationships by having contact and support delivered by someone known to the participant and the employer was also seen as a key factor for effective delivery.
For both pre-work and in-work support, many providers also described the need to offer a holistic service which considered the wide range of factors which may have an impact on employment. Thus, in addition to health and disability-related barriers, issues such as personal finances and housing should be considered and addressed.
54 Making Work a Real Choice final report Annex One: An independent chapter by Inclusion 51 The WORKSTEP Evaluation (Purvis, A., Lowrey, J. and Dobbs, L. (2006) WORKSTEP evaluation case studies: Exploring the design, delivery and performance of the WORKSTEP Programme.
Department for Work and Pensions Research Report No. 348) described these two approaches to employer engagement. The former focused on finding jobs for individual participants based on their individual requirements and capabilities, and the latter which focused on developing large scale relationships with employers and adopting an employment agency approach to filling their employment needs.
52 Purvis, A., Lowrey, J. and Dobbs, L. (2006) Op. Cit. 53 European Commission (2011) Op. Cit. 54 Purvis et al, (2013) Op. cit. 55 The Work Choice wage incentive for young people was introduced in July 2012 and was examined as part of the Work Choice Evaluation. 56 Martin, J and Grubb, D. (2001) What works for whom: a review of OECD countries’ experiences with active labour market policies OECD Employer engagement: Wider employer engagement which includes a knowledge of the local labour market was regarded as crucial by providers in terms of their ability to source and secure job opportunities for participants.
There were clear benefits and limitations to the approaches to employer engagement that were identified within the evaluation (individually-based and employment agency models51 ) and consideration of a combined use of both approaches was therefore recommended.
Within Work Choice there were also two elements of support which link back to the historical development of employment support for disabled people. These are the provision of financial support to employers and employment in supported businesses. c) Financial support to employers Many countries, including Britain, have a history of giving financial support to employers to encourage the employment of disabled people. The terms ‘incentive’ or ‘subsidy’ are in some cases used interchangeably, although in this discussion ‘incentive’ is used to describe a short-term encouragement to employ someone and address any initial needs.
‘Subsidy’ is an older model of compensating an employer on an ongoing basis for employing a disabled person who is potentially regarded as less productive than other employees. In Britain there has been a move away from the use of long-term financial subsidies, as they can become a barrier to progression to open employment52 . In many European countries, however, these still form a proportion of spending on active labour market programmes for disabled people53 . For example, Poland and Denmark provide permanent subsidies, although in both countries progression to unsubsidised employment is low.
An exploration of financial support to employers within Work Choice54 did not appear to offer any clear evidence on the effectiveness of this approach. Many providers reported a move away from their use, in particular the longer-term subsidies. Some providers did report some benefit from using short-term incentives, although this was not universal. Findings from the related review of the Work Choice wage incentive for young people were also mixed55 .
An OECD review of what works for who56 reported that evaluations of active labour market policies in several countries have found financial support to employers can enhance employment prospects, but tends to have a relatively high deadweight, substitution and displacement effects (benefiting individuals who would have got jobs anyway or getting people into work at the expense of other workers). For example, the review noted that evaluations of wage subsidies in Australia, Belgium, Ireland and the Netherlands have suggested combined deadweight and substitution effects amounting to around ninety per cent, implying that for every hundred jobs subsidised by these schemes, only ten were net gains in employment.
55 Making Work a Real Choice final report Annex One: An independent chapter by Inclusion 57 Sometimes referred to as sheltered employment 58 OECD (2010) Sickness, Disability and Work: Breaking the Barriers: A Synthesis of Findings across OECD Countries 59 Sayce, L. (2011) Op. Cit. 60 Greve, B. (2009) The Labour Market Situation of Disabled People in European Countries and Implementation of Employment Policies: A summary of evidence from country reports and research studies. Report prepared for the Academic Network of European Disability experts (ANED), University of Leeds.
61 Purvis, A., Lowrey, J.
and Dobbs, L. (2006) Op. Cit. 62 Purvis et al, (2013) Op. cit. 63 Gregg, P. (2008) Realising Potential: A Vision for Personalised Conditionality and Support, Department for Work and Pensions 64 Nockolds, D., (2012) Exploring success for intermediate labour market social enterprises. A literature review. Brotherhood of St. Lawrence 65 Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health (2009), Beyer, S. and Robinson, C. (2009), Wittenburg, D et al (2013) Op. Cit., 66 Dibden, P et al, (2012) Op. Cit. d) Supported Businesses and Intermediate Labour Markets (ILMs) Supported businesses57 are workplaces that have been set up specifically to offer employment to disabled people.
In some EU and OECD countries there have been some moves away from supported business provision towards jobs in the open labour market58 , and in Britain the supported business model has been criticised on the grounds of creating a segregated environment for the employment of disabled people and low levels of progression to open employment59 . However in European countries such as Germany, Finland and Italy, there have been moves to expand this approach60 , suggesting that some support for this approach remains at an international level. Research on the WORKSTEP programme61 noted a number of positive attributes related to the supported business model, such as high levels of satisfaction reported by their supported employees.
This research, along with the Work Choice evaluation62 also reported an increasing use of short-term contracts within supported businesses as part of developing an ILM model. This model offers the experience of real work coupled with additional support to help participants move into external employment (usually a supported job with the longer-term goal of open employment).
In an independent report for DWP63 Professor Paul Gregg noted that the ILM model can be particularly useful as a means of tackling barriers to employment faced by those furthest from the labour market. His report went on to recommend that providers should be encouraged to provide this model as an option for support. The Work Choice Evaluation also found positive evidence of the benefits of integrating existing supported businesses with wider programme delivery via an ILM approach, and a recent review exploring ILMs within social enterprises64 noted there is good evidence they are successful at achieving employment goals.
This review did, however, note that further research is required to define and measure their success.
2) An overview of ‘what works’ Overall, this evidence review supports the need to maintain specialist employment support for disabled people and those with health conditions. A summary of the evidence of what works within this area of specialist employment support is offered below. The most robust evidence on what works comes from evaluations of the Supported Employment (and related IPS) model65 . These interventions originate in the US and were designed to offer support to people with learning disabilities, autism conditions and long term mental health conditions. Evidence on what works to support people with other types of impairment or health conditions is less clear66 although there are a number of characteristics which have been identified as features of effective employment support for disabled people more generally.
56 Making Work a Real Choice final report Annex One: An independent chapter by Inclusion 67 Hasluck and Green (2007) Op. Cit. 68 Purvis et al, (2013) Op. cit. 69 Purvis, A., Lowrey, J. and Dobbs, L. (2006) Op. Cit. 70 Purvis et al, (2013) Op. cit. 71 DWP 2008 Commissioning Strategy 72 The DWP has subsequently announced a consultation on their 2013 Commissioning Strategy https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/ system/uploads/attachment_data/file/225753/dwp-commissioning- strategy-2013.pdf 73 Sayce, (2011) Op. Cit. Much of the evidence reviewed here highlights the need for personalised and intensive service delivery, an approach based on personal adviser support to participants and employers which is supported by an effective development planning process.
Key features to the success of this approach are the attributes of personal advisers, although it does also require adequate capacity and resources within provider organisations. This is needed to ensure adviser caseloads and targets allow them work flexibly, deliver intensive one-to-one support and offer specialist interventions where required. These specialist interventions may be related to health or disability needs, such as the use of systematic instruction or access to sign language interpretation. They may also be related to addressing other issues which may also present a barrier to employment, such as housing needs.
The importance of adviser attributes in terms of their skills, commitment and enthusiasm was noted in the DWP review of ‘what works’67 . This review also cited the importance of continuity in adviser relationships with participants, particularly at times of transition. This latter point was noted in relation to adviser relationships with employers and participants in the Work Choice Evaluation68 and the evaluation of WORKSTEP69 , which also attributed the positive outcomes for many participants to the commitment of advisers. The focus on employers needs to include in- work support to individual employers to build their capacity to support disabled employees and wider engagement with employers and local labour markets, to source and secure job opportunities.
Other key features which appear to support the delivery of sustainable employment outcomes include a focus on achieving an accurate job match and work-based interventions, such as the use of work placements, job trials and ILMs. a) Models of commissioning employment support In addition to exploring programme delivery, the Work Choice Evaluation70 examined the effect of the DWP commissioning approach71 on specialist disability employment provision. The findings from this research noted some significant tensions between elements of the commissioning approach and its use within a specialist disability employment programme.
In particular, issues related to the position of local authority and smaller specialist providers (and the services they offer) were felt to require attention in any review of commissioning72 .
The research also noted the importance of an element of service fees in the funding model for this type of specialist support, and recommended future funding models should also recognise this. An alternative commissioning model proposed in the Sayce Review73 was the use of individual (personal) budgets. The use of individual budgets to commission specialist disability employment support has been subject to some evaluation and, to date, there is little evidence to support their use. The interim report on the evaluation of Jobs First sites in England74 noted a number of difficulties related to implementation, so little progress on delivery or the assessment of outcomes was possible.
57 Making Work a Real Choice final report Annex One: An independent chapter by Inclusion 74 Stevens, M. and Harris, J. (2011) Jobs First Evaluation: Interim Report. London: Social Care Workforce Research Unit Kings College 75 Aston, J. (2009) Evaluation of Access to Work: Individual Budget Pilot Strand. Department for Work and Pensions Research Report No. 620 76 Tu, T., Lambert, C., Shah, J.N., and Westwood, P. (2012) Right to Control Trailblazers Process Evaluation Wave One. Office for Disability Issues. 77 Tu, T et al (2013) Evaluation of the Right to Control Trailblazers Synthesis Report, Office for Disability Issues 78 DWP (2013) Fulfilling Potential.
Building a deeper understanding of disability in the UK today 79 BASE (2013a) Disability Employment Strategy: A discussion paper 80 Wilkins et al (2012) Op. Cit. 81 BASE (2013 b), Trotter, R (2013) Op. Cit. This mirrors findings from a piloted provision of employment support and Access to Work alongside Individual Budgets75 , which reported implementation difficulties and very low uptake. The early evaluation of the Right to Control Trailblazers, which include Work Choice and Access to Work budgets, described similar difficulties76 and reported a number of teething issues. This meant that in some areas or funding streams the Right to Control was not being delivered, or not being delivered as originally intended.
Despite subsequent progress made in delivering Right to Control, the recently published Right to Control evaluation77 report found no evidence of it having a measurable impact on customers’ lives, either in terms of their experiences of accessing services or of their day-to-day lives. Fulfilling Potential78 also noted that many disabled people experience difficulties managing an individual budget, and a BASE discussion paper Disability Employment Strategy79 (BASE, 2013) reported evidence of a low desire for individual budgets for employment support among disabled people. Overall, therefore, while there is considerable evidence to support the need for the delivery of personalised services as a key element of successful specialist disability employment provision, there is a lack of evidence to support the use of individual budgets as an effective route for the commissioning of such support.
Alongside DWP commissioned programmes there is a wide range of other employment support for disabled people currently found within Britain. A scoping review on the economic evidence around employment support for disabled people80 found “a complex interrelated array of approaches pilots and schemes”. This review reported provision in the welfare to work, health, education and social care settings, funded by local and central government and the charitable sector. A number of disability related organisations have therefore suggested the need to consider local commissioning approaches through collaborative partnerships including social care, health and education agencies81 .
The future role of locally based commissioning is therefore important to consider, although it is also an area where evidence is limited. Some of the pilot initiatives which have used a ‘braided’ approach to funding support such as Project SEARCH, Jobs First and Right to Control have proved to be very complex to implement and difficult to sustain. This suggests that further development, piloting and evaluation of such approaches may be required to achieve a sustainable and effective model of locally based commissioning.
58 Making Work a Real Choice final report Annex One: An independent chapter by Inclusion 82 Purvis et al, (2013) Op.
cit. 83 Purvis, A., Lowrey, J. and Dobbs, L. (2006) Op. cit. 84 In Australia all disability employment services must meet the requirements of the independently assessed quality assurance system to receive funding from the Australian Government. 85 BASE (2013b) Op. Cit. 86 Approved by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills in 2012 - National Occupational Standards: http://www.excellencegateway.org. uk/node/61 87 Approved by Ofqual and forming part of the Qualification Curriculum Framework OCNER: http://www.ocner.org.uk/qualification_search/646_ ocn-eastern-region-level-3-certificate-for-supported-employment- practitioners-qcf 88 Purvis et al, (2013) Op.
cit. 89 Coulter, A., Day, N., Howat, N., Romanou, E. and Coleman, N. (2012) The Jobcentre Plus Offer: Findings from the first year of the evaluation. Department for Work and Pensions Research Report No. 814. 3) Developing quality and the workforce While the Work Choice Evaluation82 identified a number of areas of good practice it also found that, in general, the mechanisms used to manage performance appeared to focus primarily on monitoring and managing outcomes rather than developing service quality. A lack of external quality inspection was felt to have compounded this issue. Evidence from the evaluation of the predecessor to Work Choice, WORKSTEP83 , noted the positive influence of an external inspection process in developing the quality of provision.
Such inspection processes linked to a quality framework also forms a core element of contracted employment services in some other countries such as Australia84 . The Work Choice Evaluation therefore recommended development of a quality framework for specialist disability employment services, along with the reintroduction of external inspection. This recommendation has also been supported by BASE in its submission to the Government Review of Disability Employment Strategy85 (BASE, 2013). In addition to introducing a system of independent quality inspection, it also advocates more support for provider development, including the need for ongoing workforce development.
The BASE submission notes the highly skilled nature of the adviser role in this area of service provision and the evidence on ‘what works’ highlights the key role adviser staff play in successful service delivery. The BASE paper reports on current developments such as National Occupational Standards for Supported Employment86 and the level three certificate in Supported Employment87 . It recommends all providers must ensure staff are appropriately trained to support customers with complex needs. This need for workforce development is relevant for all staff offering employment- related services to disabled people and those with health conditions, including advisers in Jobcentre Plus.
For example, both the Work Choice Evaluation88 and an evaluation of the Jobcentre Plus offer89 noted potential difficulties with the identification of claimant support needs within Jobcentre Plus. This can result in the support on offer not being appropriately tailored, and effectively block access to specialist support.
4) Developing the evidence base As noted throughout this evidence review there are constraints to clearly identifying what works in both the delivery and commissioning of employment support for this group. While the research examined in this chapter aims to offer an overview of current evidence. there are clearly a number of areas where existing evidence does not offer a comprehensive view. It is, therefore, important for commissioners and providers to engage with emerging research to ensure services are developed in line with relevant evidence as it becomes available.
59 Making Work a Real Choice final report Annex One: An independent chapter by Inclusion 90 http://www.oecd.org/employment/emp theoecdmentalhealthandworkproject.htm For example the ongoing OECD Mental Health and Work Project90 is exploring policy initiatives aiming to keep people with mental health conditions in employment or bring those outside of the labour market back to it.
This project will be producing a further five country- based reports during 2013-14. It is also crucial that commissioners and providers proactively shape and contribute to the research agenda to ensure it addresses existing gaps in the evidence, and supports the development of effective services to support disabled people and those with health conditions into sustained work.
60 Making Work a Real Choice final report Annex Two: List of consultation respondents Abilities Armstrong Learning Azure Charitable Enterprises Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council BEP Group Bootstrap Enterprises Bradford Council Cheshire West and Chester Council Cornwall Council Craigowl Communities Dare to Fly ELITE Supported Employment Agency Enterprise Mentoring Limited Gower College, Swansea Hansel Ingeus Jobsteps Employment Services Ltd Medway Youth Trust MTIB (Merthyr Tydfil Institute for the Blind) Neurosupport Papworth Trust Peterborough City Council Prospects Services Ltd Queen Elizabeth Foundation Realise Futures RNIB Salvation Army Scottish Association for Mental Health SEQOL: Enterprise Works Shaw Trust supported businesses working group ( The Sign Factory, MTIB, Clarity, County Print Finishers and Shaw Trust) Somerset Skills and Learning St Loye’s Foundation TaylorITex CIC TCV Employment and TrainingServices The Action Group Work Solutions
61 Making Work a Real Choice final report Acknowledgements Shaw Trust would like to thank all of its staff, supply chain partners, Work Choice customers and employers who participated in the focus groups and interviews for this research. Shaw Trust would also like to thank all of the organisations that have taken the time to submit responses to the ‘Making Work a Real Choice’ consultation. Additionally, Shaw Trust would like to thank all of the staff at Inclusion for their help and support conducting the research for this report. In particular, Shaw Trust thanks Ann Purvis, Associate Director of Research as the author of Inclusion’s ‘What Works’ chapter, and Sarah Foster, Senior Researcher, who managed the research project.
Finally, Shaw Trust’s Policy and Research team would like to thank all of the staff across the charity who have contributed to the development and publication of this report.
Careers Development Group has merged with Shaw Trust to form a new organisation that builds on the successes of both charities. © Shaw Trust 2013 Registered Office: Shaw House, Epsom Square, White Horse Business Park, Trowbridge, Wiltshire BA14 OXJ. Registered Charity Number in England & Wales: 287785 Registered Charity Number in Scotland: SC039856