Government supports Sayce review of employment
Monday 12 March 2012
Funding will be shifted from Remploy to Access to Work
The government has supported proposals to redirect funding to enable more disabled people to work in any sector, rather than in segregated employment.
‘Getting in, staying in and getting on’, written by RADAR chief executive Liz Sayce in 2011, was commissioned to look at how funding for disability employment could be used more effectively to support more disabled people into work.
Its recommendations included doubling the number of people able to use Access to Work, which gives financial help for support workers and other practical support. It suggested that this investment come from withdrawing subsidies from Remploy factories.
The government consultation on the Sayce review ran until October, and it published its response, accepting the recommendations, on 7 March. It says that the consultation showed ‘general consensus that the principle that funding should follow the individual, rather than institutions, was the correct one’.
Minister for Disabled People Maria Miller said: “We have been absolutely clear that the £320 million 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.”
The government subsidy to Remploy will be reduced from the beginning of the new financial year. Where viable, factories may become independent businesses – for example employee-led mutuals – but others will be sold or closed. Around £8 million, including access to a personalised budget, will be available to support those affected by the proposals.
The government also accepted all of the recommendations on developing Access to Work and has announced an extra £15 million to fund it in this Spending Review period. It has also committed to funding Residential Training Colleges through to the end of the academic year ending summer 2013, and will work with the colleges to reduce costs and improve employment outcomes.
Mencap’s response to the plans states: “Mencap agrees with the strategic direction taken by the Sayce review of supporting people into mainstream employment. We believe that employment in mainstream work is key to actively including people with a learning disability in all parts of society.
“For many of those people who work in Remploy factory provision, the announced closures will be unsettling and worrying. Our support of this step is based on the assumption that everything will be done to make sure that those who are made redundant are helped into new jobs.”