Access to Work Programme

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 29th March 2017.

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Photo of Deidre Brock Deidre Brock Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader (Scottish Parliament/Scottish Government Liaison), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Devolved Government Relations)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps he is taking to reduce the time taken under Access to Work for disabled people to receive the support packages they require; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

In 2014 Access to Work transformed its operational delivery, providing greater consistency and increased speed of customer service. Consequently, Access to Work delivery is now performing above its Key Performance Indicators, which are internal measures of performance. However, we are constantly considering ways to improve the customer journey and expedite the provision of support. For example:

  • Last year we re-launched Access to Work as a digital service, allowing customers to apply online at a time of their choosing and taking an average of 20 minutes to do so. We are currently exploring what further online functionality could be offered.
  • We have recently specified in new contracts to be awarded shortly that 90% of independent workplace assessments are to be delivered within 8 days rather than the current 10 days.
  • We are also considering whether customers could have a longer window to apply in advance of receiving an employment start date from an employer, in order to ensure support is in place for the first day at work. We are currently working with employer and customer stakeholders to establish whether there is an optimum period.

As a highly personalised grant scheme, Access to Work is reliant on correct information being received from customers and employers within set timeframes in order to calculate awards or make payments timeously. It is important to note that Access to Work provides grants on receipt of invoices to pay for items or services that are commissioned by employers or disabled employees and which may therefore be delivered to timeframes over which Access to Work has no control.

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