Title: Work Programme briefing
Author: Sue Keil; Publisher: RNIB; Year of publication: 2016
Background and key messages
The Work Programme is the UK Government’s main programme to support long-term unemployed people back to work in England, Scotland and Wales. This briefing demonstrates that comparatively few blind and partially sighted individuals are benefitting from the Work Programme, with only 90 people in Great Britain having gained employment as a result of their participation between June 2011 and March 2015.
Government schemes such as the Work Programme, are currently not providing the right quality or consistency of service for blind and partially sighted jobseekers, resulting in poor outcome rates, at a time when employment opportunities for those furthest from the labour market are low.
A key question remains: what has happened to the 600 BPS people who completed their two years on the Work Programme and were returned to Jobcentre Plus without having secured a job, as well as the remaining 450 people still on the programme at the end of March 2015?
We hope that lessons can be learned from the shortcomings in the current Work Programme, which has failed blind and partially sighted participants, and an innovative approach developed to supporting more blind and partially sighted people find and keep work.