The Bucksworkability partnership, comprising health, local authorities and other relevant agencies within Buckinghamshire aimed to work together to improve access to work opportunities for disabled people. The Partnership shared the following values, principles and objectives:
Values and Principles
- All disabled people have a right to gainful employment if that is their wish. They may need support to achieve this or help to remove barriers which prevent them from participating in the labour market.
- Employment opportunities are fundamental to the goal of social inclusion for disabled people and also their carers.
- The Workability steering group is committed to improving services and the co-ordination between those services to better meet the support needs of disabled people in order for them to gain and maintain employment.
- Resources should be targeted to reduce the impact of the barriers faced by disabled people seeking employment.
- Disabled people and their carers should be empowered by services that are focused on their needs, are holistic and are flexible as needs change.
- Information should be easily accessible to enable people to make choices about the “career path” that meets their aspirations.
- “Partnership” should be central to the relationships between disabled people, carers, service users and employers.
- Positive risk taking should be supported in the context of sound risk assessment and risk management.
- All services have an obligation to work in partnership with each other and disabled people and their carers to provide a seamless system of assessment, education/training, job finding/matching and support to both employers and employees.
- No person should experience discrimination because of his or her disability either in training or in the workplace.
- Services should work actively with employers and training organisations to remove barriers and make work and training accessible.
- Disabled people and their carers should have access to appropriate advice which gives them adequate information about the short and long term effects of employment on benefits etc.
The Partnership hoped to address some of the barriers to employment for people with disabilities:
- Lack of information about where to go for information or help.
- Lack of knowledge among support agencies about each other’s work and hence inconsistent advice or duplication of services.
- Fragmentation of support and the need for a unified approach.
- Need for greater flexibility.
- Need to tailor support to the individual; this includes young people.
- Lack of variety in work placements and minimal progress in employment.
- Negative attitudes among employers; need for more disability awareness training, information and support for employers.
- Environment and access difficulties in the general community.
- Insufficient pathways to employment; little relevant work preparation training, work based training and voluntary opportunities.
- Fear and confusion of benefits system.
- Lack of valued occupational opportunities as an alternative/route to paid employment.
- Lack of understanding by people with disabilities of employment as a realistic option.