Employment Schemes: 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 Work Choice support programme in helping autistic people to (a) find, (b) keep and (c) make progress in a job.

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

Work Choice was designed to help individuals whose needs cannot be met through other DWP employment programmes and who need more specialised support to find employment or to keep a job once they have started work. Work Choice referrals have now ended in all parts of England and Wales, and service delivery will end by 31 March 2019. The Work & Health Programme, which rolled out in England and Wales between November 2017 and March 2018, builds on lessons learnt from both Work Choice and the Work Programme.

Work Choice performance data allows us to monitor both short job outcomes (employment lasting at least 13 weeks) and sustained job outcomes (employment lasting at least 26 weeks) where the tailored support assists participants in achieving these. Work Choice official statistics are published here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/work-choice-referrals-starts-and-job-outcomes-to-june-2018.

Since 25th October 2015, Work Choice participants could voluntarily declare to their Work Coach that they had an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), to allow providers to recognise their support requirements. A declaration of autism was recorded separately from individuals’ primary health condition. As these declarations are voluntary, we cannot be sure that they account for all Work Choice participants with ASD.

For participants who have declared this information, the below data table shows the number of starts per year and the proportion of these starts that have since achieved a short job outcome (employment lasting at least 13 weeks) and a sustained job outcome (employment lasting at least 26 weeks). These data are a subset of the official Work Choice statistics.

Individuals who declared autism

Number of starts

Of which have achieved a short job outcome

Of which have achieved a sustained job outcome

Latest year available:

Jul-17 to Jun-18 (for starts)

670

Jul-16 to Jun-17 (for short job outcomes)

1,120

430

38%

Jul-15 to Jun-16 (for sustained)

530

140

26%

Financial years:

2015/16 (Nov to Mar)

290

120

44%

80

27%

2016/17

1,090

420

38%

2017/18

940

Source: Provider Referrals and Payments system (PRaP)

Notes:

- Work Choice performance data for a particular cohort of starts are only comparable once we have given sufficient time from the end of that period for all of the starts to have received the tailored support from the programme and to have achieved the job outcomes. This means that the latest available data for numbers of starts is July 2017 to June 2018, for short job outcome rates is July 2016 to June 2017, and for sustained job outcome rates is July 2015 to June 2016.

- The definition of short job outcomes changed slightly in November 2015. Therefore, short job outcome rates are not available for the July 2015 to June 2016 cohort and for the 2015/16 financial year they are only available from November 2015 to March 2016.

- Figures are rounded to the nearest ten.

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