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 effect of the Specialist Employability Support programme on the employment outcomes of autistic people.

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

Specialist Employability Support (SES) is a pan-disability employment programme providing specialist personalised employment support for around 1,700 participants with complex barriers to employment, including Autism Spectrum Disorders, each year. Individuals with autism may request that specific referral opportunities are used for their referral to SES, to allow providers to recognise their support requirements.

The Government confirmed in ‘Improving Lives, The Future of Work, Health and Disability’, published in December 2017, that it is currently exploring the best policy options for continuing to support those with greatest needs and most complex situations, once the SES contracts come to an end.

We have not made any formal assessment of SES programme including on the employment outcomes of autistic people but we continue to gather information and evidence including lessons learnt for developing our future support.

DWP has recently completed negotiations with SES providers to extend referrals to the programme to end 2019 to ensure continuous provision for this customer group whilst future support is put in place.

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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