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DWP has today published the latest statistics for Work Choice, the specialist disability employment programme for people with moderate to severe disabilities, health problems and impairments. The statistics cover the period up to and including March 2013.

The statistics show a continuing improvement in performance with 33.9% of those who started the programme in Quarter 2 of 2012 getting into work compared to 22.7% of those who started in Quarter 4 of 2010 when the programme began.

The statistics positively show that more people with disabilities are entering work. Some of the key observations from ERSA are:

  • Too many of those referred to Work Choice are not actually starting it. For the period from April 2012 to March 2013, 21,780 people were referred to the scheme but only 15,750 actually started. Once more, fewer referrals are actually starting each quarter indicating this as a growing issue.
  • Data on the primary disability is unavailable for some people. The primary disability is only known for 61% of individuals referred to the scheme. This makes it more difficult to understand how effective the scheme is for people with different types of disability.
  • 15% of referrals are on disability benefits (ESA, IB or SDA). This contrasts to 54% of referrals who are on JSA. Whilst benefit type is not an accurate proxy for need, it might be expected that more of those on disability benefits would be on a specialist disability employment programme.

Matthew Lester, Chair of the ERSA Disability Employment Forum, said:

“The latest statistics show a positive trend with the performance of the programme building over time. However, we need to understand more about the people being referred to the scheme so we can ensure it is being targeted at those who need it most. The high number of referrals not starting the scheme underlines a need for government to work with providers to ensure there is a smoother handover process.”

A government evaluation of the Work Choice programme is expected in the summer.

May 2013 – Work Choice: Official Statistics