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The government has today released its disability and health employment strategy.The new strategy focusses on creating improved pathways for those with disabilities and long term health conditions.

The approach builds on the work of a task and finish group run by DWP, which ERSA was a member of, and suggests creating a day one ‘gateway’, individualising support and improving signposting it also refers to co-commissioning with other departments and closer working and support for employers. There is emphasis on building the evidence base and suggestion more local projects will be piloted to see if they can be applied on a national basis. In line with the most recent WCA there is also a big focus on support for those with mental health issues.

Proposals of particular of interest include:

  • Creation of a ‘gateway’ to advise and signpost those with disabilities and long term conditions from the first day they are unemployed
  • Expansion of the Access to Work scheme
  • Creation of an ‘Employer One Stop Shop’ to engage with and inform employers
  • Introducing Knowledge Toolkits to support and signpost young people with disabilities and long term conditions
  • Specialist advisors, taking a whole life approach to help develop individualised action plans
  • Establishing an ‘Information Portal’ to provide links to information about disability recruitment, retention and progression
  • Greater use of peer support
  • Considering options for improving support to ESA and ESA WRAG claimants
  • Increasing support for self-employment
  • Taking forward suggestions of the Mental Health and Employment Task and Finish Group

 The Department’s next paper, expected in the new year, will set out the delivery plan for the strategy in more detail.