Firms that provide support for disabled people with the greatest barriers to work can apply for extra government funding from next year.
The government-sponsored Work Choice employment programme ends in March 2019, but ongoing support will be offered to individuals working in “supported businesses” through specially designed new elements of the government’s Access to Work scheme.
For 2 years from April 2019, supported businesses will receive increased funding of £5,000 a year from Access to Work for everyone in a Work Choice Protected Place.
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Esther McVey, said: “Supported businesses can provide employment opportunities for those disabled people who want to work but may otherwise find it difficult to secure a suitable role.
“That’s why we’re increasing the funding for each person working in a supported business, ensuring that disabled people who want to work have the opportunity to enjoy the benefits that work can bring.
The increased payment will not only be available for existing employees but also for businesses to employ more disabled people, enabling a total of over 2,000 disabled people across England, Scotland and Wales to access support.
Disabled employees working for supported businesses can currently benefit from a mix of holistic support, including:
• adapted working practices
• additional HR support
• job coaches
• aides and adaptations
• extra supervision through the existing Work Choice Protected Places scheme
In parallel, the government will work with the Supported Business Alliance (SBA) and The British Association for Supported Employment (BASE) to:
• help them develop a new quality mark for supported businesses
• to develop a new long-term element of Access to Work to continue support for those already working for a supported business, and help more disabled people to join them
Martin Davies, Supported Business Alliance, Chair of the Supported Business Steering Group, yesterday said: “We have been working alongside the DWP for over 12 months on this and will continue to collaborate with them to develop a quality assurance ‘mark’ for supported employers and a long-term funding model.