Fit for purpose – transforming employment support for disabled people and those with health conditions

This report is part of a wider project called Fit for Purpose, supported by 25 organisations and looking at the future of employment support for disabled people and those with health conditions

The research finds that of the 4.2 million people who are out of work and disabled, fewer than one in ten (380,000) are being supported through either the Work Programme or the Government’s specialist disability employment programme, ‘Work Choice’. This report sets out ‘what works’ in supporting disabled people and those with health conditions, drawing in particular on twenty in-depth case studies of innovative approaches in the UK and overseas, as well as on focus groups with disabled people themselves.

The report calls for:

  • A new national framework for employment support, based around three levels:
    • ‘Into work’ – for those closest to returning to work, with some specialist support
    • Health and disability employment support – for those needing more intensive and joined up support to secure employment
    • Supported Employment and rehabilitation – for those with the most significant support needs
  • A new, common process for assessing individuals’ needs – joined up between Jobcentre Plus, local health services and other provision
  • Joint working between national and local partners – across health, skills and employment and local government – to then design and commission the right services that meet people’s needs and fit the national framework
  • A greater focus on quality of service and quality management, not just on employment outcomes – alongside investment in workforce development
  • A more co-ordinated approach to employer engagement, based around simplifying things for employers, improving awareness and education, and working through trade bodies and employer groups
  • A new ‘What Works Unit’ to stimulate innovation and sharing, and fund new approaches to service design and delivery