Latest announcement from DWP and JCP about changes for 2017

Latest announcement from DWP and JCP about changes being introduced over the next few months focusing on employment support for people with disabilities, as announced in the Health and Disability Green Paper.

Also see : http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-tyne-39453921 - describing the impact on some claimants of the changes

Personal Support Package initiative offers tailored employment support which Jobcentre Plus work coaches will help disabled people or people with health conditions to access.
Further information on the Personal Support Package can be found in the Work, health and disability green paper.
This month’s edition also includes information on:
• Work Programme referrals
• the Disability Employer Adviser role in jobcentres
• changes to Employment and Support Allowance work related activity payments
• the May 2017 local and mayoral elections

Employment
The Personal Support Package – Community Partners
Community Partners will be introduced to jobcentres in a phased approach from April to August 2017. They will:
• provide expert knowledge of disability to enhance the support we provide to claimants
• give advice and support to work coaches and Disability Employment Advisers in all areas of disability
• raise awareness of the effect a person’s disability can have on finding and keeping a job
The Community Partner role will vary to ensure that the support provided in each district can meet the needs of the claimants there.

Employment
The Personal Support Package – Small Employer Offer
The Small Employer Offer gives Jobcentre Plus the opportunity to raise awareness with small employers of the support available to them when employing a person with a long-term health condition or disability.
102 new Small Employer Advisers (3 per district) will work with local small employers and work coaches to provide support for small employers and their new employees.
The advisers will:
• work with small employers to develop and maintain relationships
• ensure the correct person is referred to a vacancy or work experience opportunity
• support employers and their employees when completing Access to Work applications

Employment
The Personal Support Package – Access to Work
Access to Work gives financial support to help eligible people with a health condition or disability to:
• take up a job offer
• retain employment
Currently, people with a mental health condition can receive 6 months of support via the Mental Health Support Service to start a new job.
As part of the Personal Support Package, there will be 1,000 extra Mental Health Support Service places for:
• new Employment and Support Allowance claimants from 3 April 2017 in the work-related activity group
• those with limited capability for work in Universal Credit, who have a job start date
Approximately 50% of people in these groups have a mental health condition and referring candidates who obtain a job offer can help make their transition more sustainable.

Employment
The Personal Support Package – Work Choice
Work Choice is a voluntary employment programme designed specifically for people who, due to their disability, may find it difficult to find or keep a job.
Work Choice is delivered for DWP by external contractors and has effectively provided support, with job outcome rates seeing a steady improvement since the programme was introduced.
From 3 April 2017, extra places on Work Choice are being funded for people who have limited capability for work and are not eligible for:
• the work-related activity component in Employment and Support Allowance
• the additional payment for having limited capability for work in Universal Credit, but who will be work ready within 12 months
Referrals to Work Choice will end when the new Work and Health programme starts in November 2017.

Employment
Final Work Programme referrals
The Work Programme has been DWP’s largest contracted employment programme. It transformed the lives of those furthest from the labour market, and has helped over 550,000 people into sustained employment.
Alongside existing programmes, the new Work and Health Programme is designed to help customers with health and disability issues and the long-term unemployed. As a result, Jobcentre Plus will make final referrals to the Work Programme on 31 March 2017. Participants referred by that date will receive personalised support from their Work Programme provider for up to 2 years.

Employment
The Disability Employer Adviser (DEA) role in jobcentres is changing
We are recruiting up to 300 more jobcentre DEAs, taking the total to over 500 by 31 March 2017.
DEAs will further support work coaches by:
• raising disability awareness
• providing tailored support to help them with individual cases
This will ensure that jobcentre work coaches benefit from the expertise of the DEA as the role is re-launched.
DEAs will be the jobcentre link to other organisations such as health professionals and local charities. By building and maintaining strong relationships with these organisations, DEAs can ensure jobcentre colleagues have up to date information about local and national courses and programmes to help people with a complex health condition or disability.
The new DEA role forms part of a wider initiative to improve the lives of people with a disability or long-term health condition.

Welfare
The Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) work-related activity group (WRAG) payment changes
From 3 April 2017 there will be changes to ESA work-related activity payments for all new ESA claimants who are placed in the WRAG. Claimants who apply for ESA before 3 April will not be affected by the changes.
The change to ESA WRAG payments is being mirrored by a similar change to the limited capability for work payments in Universal Credit, for claimants with a disability or health condition.

Mental health of children and young people ‘at risk in digital age’

This article posted on the Guardian website by Denis Campbell highlights the growing concerns being raised by MPs about the potential risk of harm to the mental health children and young people of using the web. MHNE would support the call by the commons health select committee for "the Department of Health and NHS England's joint taskforce, now investigating, alongside bodies such as the UK Council for Child Internet Safety, the mental health of under-18s, to assess the impact of social media". Click HERE to read the full article

UK-wide Women's Self Injury Helpline Opens

New National Women’s Self Injury Helpline
Emotional support, listening & signposting for women affected by self injury

0808 800 8088 - available Wednesday 7-9pm & Thursday 3-5pm

It is intended that the hours are extended as the service grows.

This is an independent, confidential and anonymous service.  The helpline is run by women for women and we will support anyone who identifies as a woman who wants to talk about self-harm and/or self-injury.

All calls are confidential and answered by specially trained female volunteers.

  • confidential
  • non-judgemental
  • supportive
  • we can’t see your number
  • our number won’t show up on phone bills

Volunteers may listen to calls as part of training
We do not record calls or pass on personal information

  • free from mobiles on 3 EE 02 Orange T-Mobile Virgin Vodafone
  • free from landlines

Line is run by Self Injury Support

New briefing explores how VCS evidence can be used to improve outcomes through JSNAs and Commissioning

Regional Voices has been working with partners at NHS Confederation and the Local Government Association to demonstrate the evidence that the voluntary and community sector (VCS) holds that can be used by commissioners and policy makers, to help build on the strengths of communities and help better meet the needs of local populations. This Briefing ("Comparing Apples with Oranges"), primarily aimed at members of health and wellbeing boards and relevant to both statutory and VCS partners, gives an overview of the knowledge, expertise and insight that voluntary and community sector organisations may hold about their local communities and diverse groups of people within these, as well as the different ways this knowledge can be used to enhance joint strategic needs assessments (JSNAs) and commissioning.

Drawing on examples from around the country, it aims to support health and wellbeing boards think about the way they currently use VCS evidence and to help them consider the different ways they could be using it. Regional Voices has also produced a suite of case studies looking, in more depth, at different approaches to sharing "evidence"- in all shapes and sizes. These range from anonymised client data, insight from services, routes to support commissioners engage specific communities, partnerships to co-design solutions and different ways infrastructure organisations are supporting local organisations to develop the evidence based. You can download the briefing report here. You can download a voluntary sector evidence poster here. And you can get direct access to a wide range of case studies, presentations and so on from Regional Voices here.