Did you know? It’s really obvious: One size doesn’t fit all when helping people back to work and disabled people fare worse.
It’s no surprise to us who help unemployed people to get jobs that one approach doesn’t suit all. This is the main message of the “Alright for Some” It’s another in the series I have reviewed (Alright for some) this year and the message is clear: The Government’s flagship Work Programme initiative is OK for “mainstream” unemployed people: costs and outcomes compare reasonably with similar activities in the past. But the Programme really doesn’t work for those facing the most complex work barriers. This report and others offer reasons and solutions that are very recognisable: funding structures that don’t incentivise enough help to those with most needs and providers that either don’t have or won’t use the necessary specialist support.
I think that it’s also a matter of scale. The uniform “mass production” approach has made in-roads in reducing the numbers of mainstream unemployed people. But there are bigger numbers of those with greater needs, largely disabled people, for whom “sausage-factory” methods are not working. They need employment support on the human-scale: local, tailored, specialised, holistic and empathetic. It isn’t going to be cheap or quick and probably needs far more localised contracting and delivery – but there are still benefit savings to be gained, increases for the economy and GDP to be garnered and, last but not least, millions of people gaining more self-respect, dignity and equality.
Our Help to Work project has already provided an example of the segmentation and de-centralisation of employment support led by Local Authorities proposed by the report. We know what needs doing but the current contracting model excludes us.
Bouquet of the week.
Have I mentioned my great builder, Rodney? He’s been working with me for over 10 years. Last week he sent the lads around to sort out some nail heads that had popped in two of the ceilings completed last year – true aftercare. And, at weekends, he often adds some shopping (including flowers like these) to his own supermarket run – what a pal! No wonder he was such a success in the Army and is still as smart as a carrot at the Armed Forces Day parade with the rest of his battery mates.
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Helping disabled people to work since 2000