A report examined the self-management (of the symptoms, treatment, physical, social, and psychological consequences) of chronic musculoskeletal disorders in the workplace, and what affected its success. It said that individuals were mostly responsible for achieving satisfactory self-management in the workplace, and that others could contribute more. Individuals were said to make compromises (such as stalling their career progression, or foregoing a social or home life) in order to continue working, and the report concluded that workers' support needed to be significantly improved. The report made a range of recommendations for individuals and their colleagues, government, employers, health and social care, and family and friends.
Source: Kate Summers, Zofia Bajorek, and Stephen Bevan, Self-Management of Chronic Musculoskeletal Disorders and Employment, Work Foundation
An article examined the value of participatory approaches within interventions aimed at promoting mental health and well-being in the workplace, and the implications for policy and practice.
Source: Mark Robinson, Sylvia Tilford, Peter Branney, and Karina Kinsella, 'Championing mental health at work: emerging practice from innovative projects in the UK', Health Promotion International, Volume 29 Issue 3
A briefing report discussed entrepreneurship for people with disabilities in Europe. It said that self-employment provided flexibility that was appropriate for many in this population and allowed for better management of disability and lifestyle, but there was a need to raise awareness and to develop appropriate training and start-up programmes to meet the needs of people with disabilities, and for benefits systems to be adapted to ensure that the benefits trap did not inhibit the transition into self-employment. The report discussed the use of assistive technologies and improvements to accessibility that would be beneficial.
Source: Policy Brief on Entrepreneurship for People with Disabilities: Entrepreneurial activities in Europe, European Commission/OECD
A report examined recent progress by the United Kingdom towards the realization of certain key rights under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, seeking to assess the extent to which the United Kingdom was upholding these rights, and whether recent austerity policies had resulted in retrogression. In particular, the report examined the rights to independent living, work, social security, social protection, and an adequate standard of living, and it concluded that government policies were compromising enjoyment of these fundamental rights, causing significant hardship to people with disabilities.
Source: Jane Young, Dignity and Opportunity for All: Securing the rights of disabled people in the austerity era, Just Fair
A report by a committee of MPs said that the process for employment and support allowance (ESA) required a 'fundamental redesign' to ensure that it was able to help claimants with health conditions and disabilities to move into employment where possible. The committee said changes should be completed before the new multi-provider contract was tendered (expected to be 2018) and, in the meantime, changes should be made to improve the service and ensure that outcomes for claimants were more appropriate. The committee also considered the impact of the introduction of mandatory reconsideration (MR) of ESA decisions, and the appeals process. It said that MR had the potential to be beneficial, if it led to fewer decisions being taken to appeal, but called on the government to set a reasonable timescale for completing reconsiderations and to allow claimants to claim ESA during the reconsideration period. The report urged the department and the assessment provider to learn from the Tribunals Service summaries of reasons for its decisions, to improve their own initial decisions.
Source: Employment and Support Allowance and Work Capability Assessments, First Report (Session 201415), HC 302, House of Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee, TSO
A report examined what worked in supporting people with disabilities and health conditions into work (as part of a wider project that examined the future of employment support for this group). It said that fewer than one in ten people who were out of work and disabled were supported through either the Work Programme or the government's specialist disability employment programme, Work Choice. The report called for a range of government responses, including: a new national framework for employment support, based around three levels of readiness or ability to work; a better process for assessing individuals' needs, joined up between Jobcentre Plus, local health services, and other provision; and joint working between national and local partners to design and commission the right services that would meet people's needs.
Source: Ann Purvis, Sarah Foster, Lorraine Lanceley, and Tony Wilson, Fit for Purpose: Transforming employment support for disabled people and those with health conditions, Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion
An article examined employers' adherence to the commitments associated with the Positive About Disabled People 'Two Ticks' symbol, and whether adherence to the general principles was greater in Two Ticks than non-Two Ticks workplaces. It also examined levels of employer support for, and dialogue with, Disability Champions in Two Ticks workplaces. The article said there was limited adherence to the commitments in Two Ticks workplaces, no consistent evidence that adherence was higher than in non-Two Ticks workplaces, and limited evidence of support for, and dialogue with, Disability Champions in Two Ticks workplaces.
Source: Kim Hoque, Nick Bacon, and Dave Parr, 'Employer disability practice in Britain: assessing the impact of the Positive About Disabled People "Two Ticks" symbol', Work, Employment and Society, Volume 28 Number 3
A report examined the extent and nature of employment outcomes and barriers to employment for young people with autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) living in Wales. It said that young people with ASD experienced wide-ranging barriers to considering, seeking, and keeping employment, sometimes even when in receipt of external support, and their employment rates were lower than their peers on a range of measures. The report said that providers of employment support had a duty to identify young people with ASD as clients, and to tailor their services to meet young people's ASD-specific employment needs. The report made a wide range of recommendations.
Source: Ruth Townsley, Carol Robinson, Val Williams, Stephen Beyer, and Ceri Christian-Jones, Research into Employment Outcomes for Young People with Autistic Spectrum Disorders, Research Paper 50/2014, Welsh Government
A report examined the operation of employment and support allowance (ESA) for people placed in the work-related activity group (WRAG), a sub group of ESA claimants with health conditions or impairments who were expected to move towards employment with individualized support, and who were subject to conditionality, or 'activation'. It said that the performance target for this scheme had been missed, that experience of participation in the WRAG was neither personalized nor supportive, and that the regime of conditionality and sanctions had left participants in the WRAG fearful, demoralized, and more distanced from achieving work-related goals or participating in society than when they started. The report discussed reasons behind the findings, and made a range of recommendations, including: for a new, separate scheme for ESA claimants with a reformed assessment process that led to specialist disability employment support; for a more personalized assessment of support needs; for support for equipment and adaptations to be put in place while seeking employment, to demonstrate to employers that support was available; for employers to be more creative in widening job opportunities for people with disabilities, including the use of flexible working and job trials; for more localized commissioning of services and better integration with health services; and for a refocus of conditionality onto the service provider.
Source: Catherine Hale, Fulfilling Potential? ESA and the fate of the Work-Related Activity Group, Mind/Centre for Welfare Reform
An article examined the impacts of poor mental and physical health on the propensity to be employed. It said: that either form of ill-health had a significant effect on the propensity to be employed; that the combined effect could be more influential than having either activity-limiting physical health or accomplishment-limiting mental health issues; and that there were gender and ethnicity divides.
Source: Gail Pacheco, Dom Page, and Don Webber, 'Mental and physical health: re-assessing the relationship with employment propensity', Work, Employment and Society, Volume 28 Number 3
A report examined the working lives of people with disabilities. It said that there were more people with disabilities in the labour market than ever before, but existing support was ineffective and, although flexible working was a critical issue, only one in three survey respondents had reported being given the flexibility that they needed. The report called for government and employers to prioritize better support, and made recommendations including: for a new, more flexible form of adjustment leave; for a new funding stream for City Deals to incentivize job creation programmes based on people's employment outcomes; for a national 'what works' centre and network of good practice in employment support; and for the development of more effective, personalized support through a range of measures.
Source: Robert Trotter, A Million Futures: Halving the disability employment gap, Scope
An article examined two models of employment intervention for people with severe mental illness, reporting the outcomes of trials in five mental health teams in the United Kingdom. Comparing work outcomes for the two interventions after one year, it said that an employment service could be introduced effectively into mental health teams such that positive outcomes were achieved, but the provision of an additional, dedicated, specialist resource was more effective than asking existing staff to deliver the intervention alongside their other roles.
Source: Steven Marwaha, Eleanor Gilbert, and Sarah Flanagan, 'Implementation of an employment intervention in mental health teams: a naturalistic 1-year employment outcome study in people with severe mental illness', Journal of Mental Health, Volume 23 Number 3
A report examined the available evidence on employment and support allowance (ESA), the Work Programme, and the barriers to work faced by people with long-term health conditions and impairments. It said that the work tests were inaccurate, unreliable, and invalid, and that multiple factors indicated that ESA was not working. The report recommended that the practice of mandating ESA claimants to the Work Programme should be ended immediately, and that clients should control their own back-to-work support budgets. It also outlined an alternative approach for employment support, based on early intervention, disability-specific support, multi-disciplinary interventions, and personal budgets.
Source: Spartacus Network, Beyond the Barriers, Spartacus Network
An article examined why incapacity claims rose in many OECD countries when life expectancy was increasing, and discussed the idea that work had become more difficult for disabled workers. Drawing on data from the British Household Panel Survey, it said that people in low-control (but not high-demand) jobs were more likely to claim incapacity benefits in the following year. It noted the significance of the changing nature of work, and suggested that strategies to reduce incapacity claims should consider the need to improve job control.
Source: Ben Baumberg, 'Fit-for-work ï¿½ or work fit for disabled people? The role of changing job demands and control in incapacity claims', Journal of Social Policy, Volume 43 Issue 2
The government responded to an independent review of the work capability assessment, a process used by the United Kingdom government to determine whether people with disabilities were considered able to return to paid employment.
Source: Government's Response To The Year Four Independent Review Of The Work Capability Assessment, Cm 8843, Department for Work and Pensions, TSO
A report examined issues related to mental health and work in the United Kingdom. It said that there was a high level of awareness of the importance of mental health at work in the United Kingdom, but a number of challenges remained. Acknowledging recent and ongoing reforms, the report said that it would be important: to implement reforms rigorously; to modify and strengthen those not yet delivered; and to close the remaining gaps identified in the report.
Source: Mental Health and Work: United Kingdom, OECD
An article examined the drivers of the employment gap attached to impairment and disability. It considered the effects of changes in group characteristics, some of which might be linked to an increase in the rate of ill-health reporting; and also the effects of changes in the employment structure towards flexible working, the public sector, and non-manual jobs. The analysis also captured the effects of the global economic recession.
Source: Melanie Jones and Victoria Wass, 'Understanding changing disability-related employment gaps in Britain 1998-2011', Work, Employment and Society, Volume 27 Number 6
A report examined how to improve employment and health outcomes for people with common mental health problems in the United Kingdom. The report made a number of recommendations, including: for using evidence-based models to provide services that combine employment and mental health support; to increase integration between existing treatment and employment services; and for timely access to co-ordinated treatment and employment support for a greater number of people with common mental health problems.
Source: Christian van Stolk, Joanna Hofman, Marco Hafner, and Barbara Janta, Psychological Wellbeing and Work: Improving service provision and outcomes, Department for Work and Pensions/Department of Health
An article examined the links between learning disabilities and employment, drawing on interview-based research. It analyzed the quality of experience of the minority in employment to consider whether employment could serve the inclusive purpose expected of it. The rate of employment for people with learning difficulties remained extremely low and had barely changed in the 20 years between 1990 and 2010.
Source: Lee Anderson Humber, 'Social inclusion through employment: the marketisation of employment support for people with learning disabilities in the United Kingdom', Disability & Society, Volume 29 Number 2