Supporting disabled people into employment can save taxpayers more than £3,500 a year for every successful individual, a study in Kent has found.
The initial cost-benefit analysis assessment of Kent Council’s supported employment programme showed that councils could keep £1,290 of the £3,564 saved.
The authors of the report believe there is room for savings to grow over time as more clients move into work.
The study compared the cost of supported employment and reductions in benefits for 118 people supported into employment between March 2009 and February 2010 with the cost of day centre provision.
The report recommended linking supported employment to day service provision to help realise the savings.
It calculated that the costs of providing employment support and in-work welfare were offset by savings on day services and income tax and national insurance payments.
Kathy Melling, employability development manager at Kent Council, said there were no secrets to the programme’s success other than following nationally established best practice.
Huw Davies, chief executive of the British Association for Supported Employment, said: “This shows that there’s significant potential for savings when supported employment is focused on those furthest from the labour market and these are the people who are least likely to get help from national programmes.”
However, Davies is not optimistic that the results will affect council decision-making on funding the programmes.
The second and third phases of the study will seek to broaden the evidence base on supported employment and develop an approach that other local authorities can replicate.
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