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Access to Work Campaign Update

15 December 2014

Transcripts from BSL video:

We would like to update you on the BDA campaign work on Access to Work. 

Last week, the BDA CEO, BDA Chair, and other four CEOs were invited to meet senior civil servants at the DWP and Access to Work. 

Readout of Deaf Stakeholders roundtable meeting held on 9th December 2014.

Today there was a helpful meeting between leading deaf stakeholder organisations, Access to Work Operations and DWP policy Officials.

There was a wide ranging discussion covering current issues including accessible contacts, availability and status of the current  guidance, customer service levels and payment processing. 

It also included deaf awareness training, which stakeholders have offered to make available to Access to Work advisers in the new specialist teams.

Stakeholders raised specific concerns about ongoing problems with Access to Work operations who undertook to explore them. 

They included:

  • support at interview;
  • providing two BSL interpreters to cover some  assignments;
  • the length of time taken to confirm an award offer;
  • putting in place an interim award;
  • involving the employee and employer in a discussion about support required; and
  • the need for a new application when transferring support between similar roles.

Participants also considered more strategic areas of reform that could help the scheme achieve value for money and support more people. 

They included a review of the communication and language market, the role of technology, the expertise required in determining the correct levels of high intensity support, and the piloting of personal budgets.

Stakeholders offered to work with DWP to explore how personal budgets might work. 

They will also advise on how the comparatively few cases that require the highest levels of support may be assessed equitably.

Stakeholders and DWP are anticipating the publication of the Work and Pensions Access to Work inquiry report in the next two weeks.

The group will meet again in January to consider the findings and inform the DWP response to it.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the BDA.