Today the Government announces that disability employment services should be focused on disabled people themselves, rather than institutions, so they can access mainstream jobs the same as everyone else.
The Government was responding to the Sayce Review which was commissioned to look at how the £320m protected budget for disability employment could be used more effectively to support thousands more disabled people into work.
Minister for Disabled People, Maria Miller said:
We have been absolutely clear that the £320m budget for specialist disability employment services has been protected. But by spending the money more effectively, we can get thousands more disabled people in work.
That is why we have accepted the recommendation from the Sayce review to refocus support on individuals through services like Access to Work, rather than institutions like Remploy, so more disabled people can work in mainstream employment rather than Government funded segregated factories.
Responding to the consultation, the Government:
- welcomed the Sayce Review which made a large number of recommendations about how we can deliver more effective specialist disability employment programmes to help more disabled people move into and keep work.
- supported the central theme that resources should be directed towards disabled people themselves, giving them maximum choice and control in the services they receive.
- accepted all of the recommendations on Access to Work - specifically that it is highly cost effective, should be made more widely available and funding should be increased as resources are released from the reform of less effective programmes.
- accepted the recommendations on Remploy - the Government will reduce its current subsidy to Remploy from the beginning of the new financial year so that it ceases funding factories which make significant losses year after year and restrict funding to factories which might have a prospect of a viable future without Government subsidy.
The Government is also announcing today that an extra £15m is available for Access to Work in this Spending Review period. And with other efficiencies this will help a further 8,000 disabled people to either enter work or retain their job.
After consulting on the Sayce recommendations - including running a series of events around the country - 1400 individuals and organisations had responded. There was an overwhelming consensus behind the central theme that resources for supporting disabled people into employment should be focused on disabled people themselves.
- We need to do more to increase the number of disabled people in work - 48% of disabled people are in work, compared to 77% of non-disabled people.
- The £320m budget for specialist employment support is being protected, but by spending it more effectively we can support thousands more disabled people into work.
- We will make an extra £15m available for Access to Work in this Spending Review period. And with other efficiencies this will help a further 8,000 disabled people to either enter work or retain their job.
- At the moment around a fifth of the entire budget goes on supporting disabled people in Remploy factories but nearly all of the factories are loss making and last year lost £68.3m.
- All disabled Remploy staff affected by the changes will be guaranteed an £8m package of tailored support for up 18 months to help with the transition, with around half of this available for personal budgets - around £2,500 available per person on average.
- Remploy Employment Services found 20,000 jobs for disabled and disadvantaged people last year. They are currently holding around 600-700 vacancies a week.
- It currently costs the Government and taxpayer £25,000 each year to support each disabled employee working in a Remploy factory yet the average Access to Work award to support a disabled person in mainstream employment is £2,900.
- Government response - Disability employment Support: fulfilling potential