Access to Work ‘still has long way to go’

The government’s flagship Access to Work scheme is failing to
properly meet the needs of disabled people, new research has

The scheme, run by Jobcentre Plus on behalf of the Department for
Work and Pensions, provides support for disabled people to help
them into the workforce and keep their job.

But research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation shows that, although
Access to Work has helped some people overcome practical
difficulties in the workplace, many reported problems with it.
These include delays in assessing need and providing appropriate
services, lack of knowledge about impairments and difficulties in
establishing funding partnerships.

The report says there is “still a long way to go in understanding
and responding systematically to disabled workers’ needs”.

It recommends that Jobcentre Plus should be better informed about
disabled workers’ needs, consistent in service provision, and more
responsive and flexible. It should also disseminate users’

Margaret Lavery, senior campaigns manager at the Royal Association
for Disability and Rehabilitation, called the lack of understanding
of needs at Jobcentre Plus “extremely worrying”.

“People are having to wait for ever for equipment which can affect
the way a person does their job, which in turn can affect their
confidence. And where the systems aren’t at their best employers
may also have a bad experience,” she said.

The study used a national screening survey of strategies and

– Thriving and Surviving at Work: Disabled People’s Employment

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