Summary of ‘Disability Manifesto’ now available

With the General Election just a week away, many people are still deciding on who they are going to vote for. The election campaign has been dominated by issues such as social care and welfare reform, although sadly the horrific terrorist attack in Manchester has focused everyone’s minds on the issue of safety and security.

Our ‘Disability Manifesto’ which sets out what Disabled People would like political parties to commit to doing in the next Parliament, has been a great success. We are aware that it is a fairly long document so we have summarised the key commitments for each topic area into a short document so people can see at a glance what Disabled People want the political parties to sign up to.

We hope this summary document will be easier for some people to access. We will also be tweeting out the key commitments between now and the big day as well as releasing a video with some very special guests discussing our manifesto so keep an eye on our blog and Facebook page over the next few days.

If you want to read the full manifesto, please visit our Disability Manifesto page


Disability Manifesto: Employment

Yesterday, SPECTRUM Centre for Independent Living launched The Disability Manifesto for the General Election 2017. The aim of the manifesto is to highlight the issues that Disabled People feel ALL political parties should commit to,  following the General Election. Over the coming days, we will be focusing on a particular section of the Disability Manifesto each day and welcome your feedback on our Facebook page or via Twitter using the hashtag #DisMan17download

Today, we are looking at the topic of Employment:


Reducing unemployment – especially long-term unemployment – and making the workplace fully inclusive and accessible to all are both vital to the UK’s economic recovery, but many Disabled People face a range of barriers to work and there is a still large and persistent disparity in the employment rates of Disabled People compared to non-disabled People and this gap has widened since 2010/11. Less than half (47.6%) of Disabled People in Britain are in work compared to almost 80% of non-disabled People.

The disability pay gap in Britain continues to widen. In 2015-16 there was a gap in median hourly earnings: Disabled People earned £9.85 compared with £11.41 for non-disabled People.

The next Government needs to address the gap between rhetoric on the need for more Disabled People to work and the lack of effective support for the many Disabled People who want to do so. Supporting Disabled People to work reduces dependence on benefits and increases the number of tax paying citizens contributing to the nation’s economy.

We call on all political parties to commit to halving the employment gap for Disabled People over the course of the next Parliament.

We call on all political parties to commit to eradicate the pay gap between Disabled People and non-disabled People.

We call on all political parties to commit to double the number of Disabled People benefiting from Access to Work support in the next 3 years.

Funding for Access to Work, which is proven to be effective in helping Disabled People to move into work and to stay in work, should be increased.

We also call on all political parties to commit to ensuring that Disabled People with complex support requirements have equal access to all employment support programmes.

If you want to read the full manifesto, please visit our Disability Manifesto page

Getting Businesses to be Disability Confident

Disability Confident is the name of the government’s new initiative to encourage organisations both large and small to recruit more Disabled People launched at a conference on the 19th July. s300_disability-confident-960 If the conference is anything to go by, the government is keen to get their message across.

Esther McVey, Minister for Disabled People was largely relegated to a compere’s role, as David Cameron, Iain Duncan Smith, and Vince Cable were rolled out one at time to deliver the big policy announcements and demonstrate the government were serious about this issue.

To help support employers overcome barriers and become Disability confident, the Government will:

  • roll out a new £500,000 2-year government campaign targeting employers’ and workforce attitudes to hiring Disabled People
  • support the roll out of business-led commitments to hire more Disabled People
  • support Disabled People and media organisations increase media representation and portrayal of Disabled People in mainstream programmes
  • provide opportunities, through changes announced this week to Access to Work, for employers to engage Disabled People on work experience, traineeship and supported internships
  • provide streamlined advice and support for employers on hiring and keeping Disabled People in work through our guidance on employing Disabled People and people with health conditions

The new service for employers will focus on supporting them to become more confident about hiring Disabled People.

These announcements were slightly blunted throughout the day as none of the speakers would address how the welfare reforms fitted into this bright new world of Disability Employment. Access to Work was quite rightly praised by virtually every speaker, although other programmes seemed less clear as to how they would deliver real outcomes.

The conference was very much targeted at businesses so most Disabled People had to just watch it on the live internet stream and the comments via Twitter were predictably scathing about this. Maybe the government has forgotten the ‘Nothing About Us Without Us’ motto already.

To be fair, there were some very impressive Disabled Entrepreneurs and Business People who spoke very powerfully about their experiences and views. Unfortunately this always seemed to be followed by a non Disabled Speaker calling them ‘inspirational’ which became quite tiresome quite quickly. The key role that Disabled People’s User Led Organisations could play in supporting businesses and Disabled workers was also not covered.

These kind of conferences always feel a bit like they’re preaching to the converted but hopefully this 2 year campaign will assist in increasing the number of Disabled People in employment so that it will become less ‘inspiring’  and more just part of everyday life.

Breathing New Life into Personalisation

The Hampshire PEP are pleased to announce that their Conference this year will be held on the 20th of March in Winchester, featuring a wide range of speakers, including Michelle Daley, Bob Rhodes, Shahana Ramsden and Sarah Carr.

We hope to be able to show people that personalisation is not just about social care, but is also affecting the way people get support in education and employment. There will be plenty of interactive workshops throughout the day, as well as an opportunity to question our expert speakers and  the Director of Hampshire Adult Services, Gill Duncan.

We are sure it will be an informative day as well as being a lot of fun. It is also a great way to meet other people and network and we hope it will encourage more people to get involved in User Led Organisations in Hampshire, Southampton and Portsmouth.

For more information, please download our joining pack with all the details of how you can be part of this exciting event.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter at @HantsPEP

Funding for Training Personal Assistants and Employers

Individual employers (people who directly employ their care or support staff) are now able to apply for grant funding directly from Skills for Care to support the full costs of training and development for themselves and their personal assistants.

What will be funded?

Skills for Care will fund any training, development or qualifications that demonstrate value for money and meet the needs of the individual employer and their personal assistants.

When can I apply for the funding?

You can apply for funding now. Grant funding will be allocated on a ‘first come, first served’ basis between now and 31 March 2013. Make sure you apply early so you don’t miss out.

How can I apply?

More information and the application form is available on their website:


If you have any questions about this funding, call 0113 241 1275 or email:

How To Be A Good Boss – Training for Personal Assistant Employers

Over the last few years, thousands of Disabled People have used their Direct Payments / Personal Budgets to employ their own Personal Assistants. This has given them choice and control over how they receive the support they require, and by whom.

However with that choice and control has also come responsibilities. Most Disabled People we come into contact with want to be good employers. They want to treat their staff fairly, they want to keep good employment records and they want to act legally but in this ever changing world of employment rights and legislation, it is often hard to keep up to date with best practice in this area.

Well now SCIL may have the answer. We have been given some funding from Skills for Care to run a series of employment training sessions aimed specifically at Personal Assistants’ employers. Topics that we will covering include:

  • How to safely recruit Personal Assistants?

  • How to manage staff on a day to day basis?

  • What to do if there are performance issues with staff?

  • How can I get further support to be a good employer?

These sessions will be lively, fun and everyone who attends will receive a FREE handbook full of advice and tips to help them be a good boss. It will also give you a chance to meet other Disabled People who employ Personal Assistants too.

These sessions are free of charge however we will be asking  participants if they would be willing to provide some anonymous information about the Personal Assistants they employ. This will help Skills for Care in developing opportunities for people who work in social care in the future. We will be letting participants know more about what information Skills for Care need and how the information will be used during the sessions.

This is a really exciting project and we hope lots of Disabled People will want to get involved. If you want to know more about the project, get in touch with Jeremy at SCIL on 023 8033 0982 or email

User Led Organisations play a Key Role in Supporting Employment

SCIL will be watching how this fund is administered very carefully. We believe Disabled People are in an ideal place to support other Disabled People into work. Work does not necessarily mean full time paid work. Part time work, Voluntary work, and even work experience placements all have a role in enabling Disabled People to develop skills, build confidence, and feel like they are a valued member of their community.

arbitrary constant

The week before last, the Government made an announcement that disability employment support services will be focused on individuals rather than institutions.  This was in response to the Sayce Review and how the £320m protected budget for disability employment could be used more effectively to support thousands more disabled people into work.

As part of the announcement, the Government guaranteed an £8m package of tailored support for up to 18 months to support all disabled Remploy staff affected by the changes.

As some of you might know, my work focuses on what Disabled People’s User- Led Organisations can and already do contribute to public service reform and society more generally. This includes looking at ways of (a) how to ensure there are more DPULOs, and (b) how to ensure they are sustainable.

After the disability employment support announcement last week, some people on Twitter and in other places highlighted that…

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