Issue - items at meetings - Barriers to Employment for Disabled People: Issues and Solutions

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Barriers to Employment for Disabled People: Issues and Solutions

Meeting: 10/10/2016 - Neighbourhoods, Communities and Equalities Committee (Item 26)

26 Barriers to Employment for Disabled People: Issues and Solutions pdf icon PDF 175 KB

Report of the Acting Director of Public Health (copy attached)

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26.1    The Committee considered a report of the Acting Director of Public Health detailing the work of the City’s Equality and inclusion Partnership (EQuIP) in relation to disabled people in the city and recommending that the Committee refer the research report of the Learning and Work Institute to the Children Young People and Skills Committee and the Economic Development and Culture Committee for approval.


26.2    The Head of Communities and Equality, Emma Mc Dermott, gave a joint presentation with Tony Wilson who was in attendance from the Learning and Work Institute who had been commissioned by the council to prepare the research report copies of which were appended to the covering report. The key findings arising were outlined as were the recommendations arising from them.


26.3    It was explained that in October 2015 EQuIP had completed a disability snapshot report which provided an accessible overview of statistics about people living, working or studying in Brighton and Hove. The ultimate aim of the report was to create a shared sense of priorities across the partnership. Improving employment chances for disabled people and individuals with a long term health condition was both a national and local commitment and presented a number of challenges.


26.4    In January and February 2016 a cross sector sub-group of the partnership had drafted and released a tender for research into the barriers to employment with the requirement for a set of practical, realistic actions to help disabled people and those with a long term health condition secure and sustain employment. The proposal was that the actions were included in the action plan of the new City Employment and Skills Plan (CESP), under objective 3, following its adoption by Full Council.


26.5    On 22 September the Economic Development and Skills Committee had recommended the CESP to Full Council for adoption. Assuming Full Council approves the CESP four action groups would be established to deliver the CESP action plan.


26.6    There had been clear indications that whilst there was a range of provision available in Brighton & Hove, there was a lack of awareness of such provision amongst employees and local residents. Whilst the support provided by the Council’s Supported Employment Team was highly valued by those who had used it, both employers and individuals, long waiting lists for receiving support from this service represented a key challenge. This service was valued because it provided an effective bridge to employment for disabled people, with knowledgeable staff who were able to support employers when issues or concerns arose as well as in-work support to ensure that opportunities could be sustained. Support for young people with mental health conditions had been identified as a key gap in the provision of support locally.


26.7    Concerns had also been raised by participants that individuals could become “parked” in unsuitable support, or in voluntary roles, without efforts to progress them into sustained employment. This pointed to a need for improved signposting and referral processes, in order to ensure that individuals were able to access support which was right for them.


26.8    The Chair, Councillor Daniel, commended this important piece of work which had quite properly identified the multiple positive health and well-being benefits accruing from employment, which went far beyond the financial.


29.9    Councillor Gibson welcomed the report but expressed concerns that recent welfare reforms could have a negative impact. The Chair, Councillor Daniel, stated that the point was noted and whilst not appropriate to discuss it directly in relation to this report she would ensure that an update report on the impact of welfare reforms would be provided to the Committee at an early date.


26.10  Councillor Moonan also welcomed the report considering that it was important to acknowledge the work carried out by the Equip Partnership and the good ideas to address the existing imbalances which had been generated as a result of this piece of work. It was very important to continue to pursue initiatives which sought to close the gap, which remained significant for those who had a range of disabilities or long term health conditions.


26.11  Anusree Biswas Sassidharan stated that she welcomed the report which provided an in-depth analysis of this issue.


26.12  Councillor K Norman concurred with all that had been said but stated that in addition he considered given the remit and impact of this work that as well as being referred to the Children Young People and Skills Committee and the Economic Development and Culture Committee that the report also be referred to the Health and Well Being Board to reflect the cross-cutting nature of this work. John Child who was in attendance at the meeting representing the Clinical Commissioning Group responded in answer to questions by the Chair that he concurred in that view and that it would be informative for Members of the Board to receive the report for their information.


26.13  The Chair, Councillor Daniel, sought agreement of the Committee that the report  also be referred to the Health and well Being Board and that the report recommendations be amended to reflect that and it was agreed unanimously.


26.14  RESOLVED – (1) That the Committee welcomes the research and its findings and approves the recommendations;


            (2) That the Committee refers the research report to the Children, Young People and Skills Committee, and the Health and Well Being Board for information Economic Development and  and requests the incorporation of the recommendations into the CESP action plan.


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