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BBC Panorama - Pluss Response

We have received an email to day from Pluss, which is their response to Monday's Panorama programme. It was such an impassioned communicae that we thought we would share it in full with our readers:

This week, the BBC’s flagship Panorama programme took aim at the Work Programme. It levelled a series of accusations both at the programme’s design and its delivery, focussing on its failure to help those furthest from the labour market – people with disabilities and mental health conditions.

There was plenty in the documentary on what isn’t being done and what doesn’t work, but not much on what does work.

There was also no mention, disappointingly, of Work Choice, DWP’s specialist disability programme which is much smaller than the Work Programme, is led largely by not-for-profit / Social Enterprise organisations, and which has a much more positive tale to tell.

Perhaps the most important point to make in the aftermath of the BBC`s bleak and angry take on the welfare to work industry is that people with even the most profound disabilities can be supported into work and do make outstanding employees. It happens every day. And although it doesn’t happen often enough, that should be a reason to try harder, not to give up trying at all.

There is a body of evidence-based best practice about how best to help disabled people into work which has been gathering steadily for years. This best practice is based on some simple and straightforward ideas most of which are captured in the `supported employment` model and its mental health equivalent, `Individual Placement & Support`.

It’s an approach that requires some expertise in understanding the challenges that a particular set of disabilities can bring. It demands understanding, commitment and at times an entrepreneurial approach. It needs organisations to have the capacity to work with an employer before, during and after the recruitment exercise. And it needs a set of underpinning values, because this is an industry focussed on helping vulnerable human beings.

Most of all, it needs the commitment of everyone, from commissioners all the way through to staff on the front line, to be part of a system that doesn’t ignore, neglect or abandon anyone – one that sees the potential of each customer, with the right support and in the right job, to make an excellent employee.

About Pluss

Pluss is a Social Enterprise that supports thousands of disabled and disadvantaged people into employment each year.  We passionately believe that our services should always include people furthest from the labour market and offer specialist employment support to people with a learning disability, mental health issues, physical disabilities and long term health issues.

If you would like more information on Pluss or Workchoice please visit our website www.pluss.org.uk or contact employment.bureau@pluss.org.uk

Pluss is part funded by The European Social Fund. The European Social Fund in England is investing in jobs and skills – focusing on people who need support the most and helping them fulfil their potential.

30 January 2013


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