Disabled ‘Need More Help With Jobs’

Not enough is being done by the Government to help disabled people get jobs and keep them, an influential group of MPs has said. More than a million people on incapacity benefit say they want to work, but only 160,000 take advantage of state-funded support schemes.

It is also impossible to assess whether the £320 million spent by the Department of Work and Pensions on such programmes every year provides good value because of “patchy and unreliable” results data, according to the Public Accounts Committee. Committee chairman Edward Leigh said it was “not easy” for disabled people to locate the right kind of specialist Government support.

“There are currently six separate programmes, with their own rigid rules and often overlapping with one another,” he said. “There is big scope for to the current departmental review to open the way towards a set of services which are easier to understand and access and better able to satisfy the varying needs of individuals.”

He added: “As so often with Government initiatives, the management data about costs and outcomes is patchy and unreliable. That means the Department is not properly managing its support programmes, a conclusion supported by the fact that the quality of services provided around the country and what the DWP pays providers vary widely.”

The committee’s investigation had concluded that more attention needed to be paid to support which allowed people to stay in their jobs after becoming disabled, Mr Leigh said. “Most people who are disabled became so as adults and were probably in employment at the time. “The DWP should put much more effort than it has so far into helping them, wherever possible, keep their jobs,” he added.