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Employment support for long term incapacity benefit claimants


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Employment support for long term incapacity benefit claimants

  1. 1. Employment Support for long term Incapacity Benefit Claimants Graham Hart Economic Development Manager Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
  2. 2. BackgroundNationally 2.6 million people on Incapacity Benefit/ESA , 7% of the working age population.This isAverage duration of claim is 8 years. more“Once a claimant has been on IB for over 2 years they arelikely to retire or die than return to work”Health and Work, HM Government, 2005.
  3. 3. Project Objectives Gain a deeper understanding of claimants’ employment support needs across central London. Enable shared understanding amongst commissioners and providers of the employment support needs. Understand the use of new media and the internet and amongst claimants. Identify opportunities and mechanisms to coordinate and rationalise support across central London.
  4. 4. Project Overview - Methodology Contacting long-term IB claimants who have not received employment support 31 face-to-face interviews with long-term IB claimants 4 focus groups with long-term IB claimants 3 days observing employment support Focus group with community stakeholders
  5. 5. FindingsTwo groups of people: Mobile and active respondents Immobile and inactive respondents Mobile and active respondents still often had very severe barriers to employment Respondents typically happier when out of the house
  6. 6. Support for Claimants Where do IB claimants receive support currently? Voluntary and community organisations, CAB, health services What support do IB claimants want? Employment support often mentioned, but other support at least as important
  7. 7. Barriers to employmentMain barriers are: Health condition Skills – including literacy and numeracyBut important to note many other barriers were found: Age Time out of labour market Views of employers Lack of confidence Fear of addiction relapse Housing and finance
  8. 8. Customer Typology – Intensive Support Needs Unsure about return to work Multiple barriers to employment Support needs to: Focus on ‘soft’ skills as well as health and vocational skills Be offered holistically by a trusted intermediary Be available on a daily basis
  9. 9. Customer Typology – Mid Level Support Needs Strong or tentative desire to work Barriers include low confidence and skills Support needs to be of a similar kind as the intensive support group, but less will be needed Likely that work experience / volunteering will be important for this group
  10. 10. Customer Typology – Low Intensity Support Needs Fewer respondents in this group Likely to be younger, on IB for shorter periods, with relevant and recent work experience Strong desire to return to work Lack of confidence key barrier, and concerns about finding the ‘right’ job Require confidence building and practical job search assistance
  11. 11. Claimants and use of internet/social media Those with health conditions one of the least likely groups to have ever used the internet... ...but the internet can be empowering for people with disabilities Most participants had used internet Email, entertainment, shopping/banking/bills But limited use of social media
  12. 12. Strategic Recommendations Develop a clearer picture of the support available. Support networking between local organisations in the design and commissioning of services. Ensure intensive and long-term support is available. Ensure service provision is located close to areas with high IB claimant rates.
  13. 13. Operational recommendations Tailor support to individual needs, and take into account all barriers to employment that claimants face. Offer a combination of face-to-face, and one-to-one support as well as group support and online information advice and guidance. Provide ‘in - work’ support as well as ‘pre - work’ support. Encourage voluntary work as a way of keeping clients close to the labour market.
  14. 14. Challenges and lessons learned Recruiting and engaging with current IB claimants challenging: A fear that involvement in research about “work” and “benefits” may affect the outcome of their IB reassessment. Many turning down a £20 incentive to take part. Community and voluntary organisations impacted by cuts and reductions reticent to help a research project being funded by local authorities.