Employment: Autism

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 28th November 2018.

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Photo of Thangam Debbonaire Thangam Debbonaire Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the steps that her Department has taken to provide employers with the opportunity to acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to employ people with autism.

Photo of Sarah Newton Sarah Newton The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

The Government is strongly committed to working with employers to improve their approach to employing disabled people, including those with autism. For example:

  • The Disability Confident scheme is engaging with employers, offering advice and support to help employers feel more confident about employing disabled people. Over 10,000 businesses have signed up to the Disability Confident scheme since it was launched in November 2016
  • Access to Work has a Hidden Impairment Specialist Team that gives advice and guidance to help employers support employees with conditions such as Autism, Learning Disability and/or Mental Health conditions. It also offers eligible people an assessment to find out their needs at work and help to develop a support plan.
  • The Disability Passport ‘About Me’ aims to encourage disabled claimants, including individuals with autism, to disclose their disability/ health conditions at the earliest stage to their Adviser, to improve communication and ensure reasonable adjustments are put in place. The passport is hosted on Autism Alliance’s website.
  • The Disability Confident Autism and Neurodiversity Toolkit was developed with support from disabled people with neuro-diverse conditions, medical professionals and disability organisations such as Autism Alliance UK and Autism Plus. It is designed to help to raise awareness and understanding, within DWP and across the wider Civil Service, about Autism Spectrum Disorders and neuro-diverse conditions.

We have not made any assessment of the effect of these policies and initiatives on employers’ skills and knowledge in respect of employing people with autism in particular.

Overall, the number of working age disabled people in employment in the UK reached around 3.9 million in Q3 2018. This was an increase of 123,000 since Q3 2017, and an overall increase of 973,000 since Q3 2013, the earliest comparable figure.

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