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Access to Work Report released - BDA says: “Turn this evidence into action”

19 December 2014

The Parliamentary Select Committee inquiry into Access to Work released its report today (Friday 19 December 2014) finding that Access to Work is only helping only a minority of the people it could benefit.

Inadequate funding, a lack of awareness by Access to Work staff, Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) poor administration, including its outdated paper-based processes, leads to unnecessary delays and ineffective service.

The British Deaf Association (BDA) warmly welcomes the Parliamentary Select Committee’s recommendations, particularly around the need for DWP to make a case to the HM Treasury for additional funding for Access to Work.

The BDA also welcomes the Committee's recommendations around the need for greater marketing and promotion of Access to Work, to enable a greater reach and allow it to benefit more people.

In particular, the BDA supports the serious concerns raised by the Select Committee over the rigid application of the “30 hour rule” for full-time “support workers” and caps on the hourly rates of pay which it is willing to reimburse, that has threatened the employment of BSL users.  

The Select Committee referred to evidence given to it by the BDA around this issue and quoted in its report that, “several deaf people had already left their jobs due to Access to Work issues”.

The Committee said: “DWP’s recent approach to BSL is highly regrettable and betrays a lack of understanding of the BSL interpreting market and how BSL is utilised by deaf people at work.”

David Buxton, the BDA’s Chief Executive, welcomes the recommendations and said: “We urge the DWP to turn this evidence into action.

“We all want to stay in employment, be supported at work without anymajor setbacks and barriers by Access to Work. We want to be confident and develop and progress our careers, equal to everyone else.

“The BDA wants this to be the beginning of an overhaul of the Access to Work scheme and particularly wants to see these changes:

  • Establish online application and invoicing systems
  • Introduce a Video Relay Service to enable Deaf BSL users greater communication channels
  • DWP consult the BSL interpreting profession to establish suitable hourly rate, half day and full day rates, based on robust research.

“We have not finished with DWP. We will meet with them in the New Year to find out what they will do about the Committee’s recommendations. We will continue to keep our members and supporters updated.”  

BSL summary on Work and Pensions Select Committee Report - Improving Access to Work for disabled people.