Thursday, 10 September 2015

Even the right leaning Telegraph publishes this article about the Work and Pensions Secretary being attacked for his latest comments about people with disabilities. Another take on it from the BBC Ouch blog too.

This second BBC article touches on whether the Work and Pensions Secretary had been 'inventing backers' for his sanctions regime, while he himself said someone in the operations department had invented the stories and would face disciplinary action for it. Much as I dislike this current Work and Pensions Secretary, I agree with the theory of the shake-up of the rules on sickness benefit to encourage more people into work being announced. I agree with the comment that the "current system was too binary - with claimants deemed either fit or unfit for work, when it would be better if they could be supported to take up what work they could, even if it was just for a few hours" and more significant than number of hours, with more account of suitable and unsuitable occupations with recognition of Aspergers being capable of much work but for most, not front-line customer facing occupations.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

"Focus on people with a bad attitude"

Right there in the House of Commons itself a damning report by the Work and Pensions Committee, on policy beyond the Oakley Review, attacked the current system of sanctions in March and recommended 26 urgent reforms, ways in which the Conservative party were told to "clean up" the system in this article in the Mirror. Really all sactions should be aimed at point 17, those people "with a bad attitude". The article states that employment services professionals believe themselves, assumed to mean both in JobcentrePlus itself and associated training providers (I used to have conversation to that effect with the people where I did the "Flexible Routeway"), that such strict conditionality and sanctions are only necessary with that small minority of claimants outright refusing to work and with "history of poor engagement with employment support". The article rightly higlights the need to protect "more determined jobseekers and the vulnerable", as my own experience of being a determined jobseeker making a lot of applications and simply not being the first choice of employers.

Here's the Parliament Publications PDF link itself, and it is interesting to see just how many of the committee are even from the Conservative party, just a shame they can't see the sense to make one of these the secretary of state.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Down's syndrome article on BBC

The struggle to find work when you have Down's syndrome documented on the BBC Ouch blog. It starts with the stats that fewer than two in 10 people with learning disabilities are in employment, a similar figure to Aspergers thought to be around 12%. It goes on to link to the Downs Syndrome Association's Workfit web page, a programme to improve understanding of the condition among employers, quoting that many employers never knew that people with Down's syndrome wanted to find work. An interesting quote in the Ouch article is that when they can find employment they mostly thrive in structured roles that are process driven, very similar to those with Aspergers.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

"Community Service" - "all stick, no carrot" proposals designed to "punish"

This BBC article contrasts the current government party and opposition proposals primarily aimed at 18 to 21-year-olds. What I feel when I hear the references to unemployed people being sent on "Community Service" is that it implies a tar with the same brush as those sent on it as a sentence for crimes, and the article ends with even a spokesman for the smaller coalition partner party criticised the main government party proposals as "all stick, no carrot", saying they were designed to "punish" rather than to help people into work. Another point is will reading "Community Service" on a CV make an employer infer that it was as a sentence for crime and immediately write the applicant off on that assumption?

The opposition party has promised the same people a guaranteed job, so even if the jobs were of the "Community Service" type occupation they would be paid at minimum wage. This guarantee would be paid for by a tax on bankers' bonuses, which I agree is much needed.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

A post on the NAS website's forum about the Department for Work and Pensions "targeting those with Autism and Aspergers to undergo Psychotherapeutic interventions." The concern is the tone of blaming people for difficulties they never chose to have, as efforts should be directed at employers themselves. All the 'Psychotherapeutic interventions' are not going to make me a world class front line customer service bod, they need to be working with employers to get them to understand the possibility of placing individuals with Aspergers in the jobs that will utilise their strengths while not penalising their disability.