HC Deb 17 July 1995 vol 263 cc993-4W
Mr. Berry

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment (1) how many applications have been made for each element of assistance under the access to work scheme since June 1994; and how many and what proportion of these were successful; [34384]

(2) what is the average amount paid under the access to work scheme (a) per applicant, (b) per element of assistance and (c) per region; [34385]

(3) how many and what proportion of applicants refused assistance under the access to work scheme have subsequently appealed against this refusal; and what are the outcomes; [34386]

(4) what is the average period between an application for assistance under the access to work scheme and the provision of assistance; [34387]

(5) how many and what proportion of applicants for access to work have been from (a) people in employment, (b) people in self-employment and (c) people signing on as unemployed. [34388]

Mr. Forth

Responsibility for the subject of the questions has been delegated to the Employment Service agency under its chief executive. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from R. M. Phillips to Mr. Roger Berry, dated 17 July 1995:

The Secretary of State has asked me, in the absence of the Chief Executive, to reply to your questions about the Access to Work programme.The Access to Work programme was introduced in June 1994 to provide support to help disabled people overcome work-related obstacles caused by their disability so that they are able to compete for jobs and perform at work on an equal basis with non-disabled people.Provisional figures for the period 6 June 1994 to 31 March 1995 show that the number of items approved under each element is as follows—

Special aids and equipment 10,614
Adaptations to premises 111
Personal reader service 215
Assistance with fares to work 1,418
Communicator support at interview 288
Support worker assistance 432
Adaptations to vehicles 94
Miscellaneous items of support 289

Some disabled people will have received more than one element of assistance in the period. The personal reader support and assistance with fares to work figures do not include those disabled people who received support under transitional arrangements from previous schemes and did not transfer to Access to Work until April 1995.

Statistics are not held centrally for the number of applications that were turned down in the period. However, we are currently undertaking a review of Access to Work and research to support the review will examine in detail the operation of the programme. A report of the research will be published in the normal way.

The average cost per item of support and per Region is listed in the following table.

Average cost per application by item
Assisted fares to work 1,845
Adaptations to premises 5,897
Adaptations to vehicles 1,212
Communicator support 169
Miscellaneous 403
Personal reader service 5,857
Special aids and equipment 1,008
Support workers 497
Average cost by region
Region Spend £ Beneficiaries Average cost £
Northern 729,133 433 1,684
Yorkshire and Humberside 1,470,175 890 1,652
East Midlands 1,633,242 978 1,670
London and South East 4,370,219 2,126 2,056
South West 1,324,317 874 1,515
Wales 664,951 517 1,286
West Midlands 1,560,407 1,061 1,471
North West 1,546,114 1,275 1,213
Scotland 1,116,383 835 1,337
Total 14,414,941 8,989 1,604

These figures do not include support for 922 disabled people on transitional arrangements from the Personal Reader Scheme, which were dealt with by Head Office and are not appropriate to the Regional figure.Provisional figures for the year beginning April 1994 show that the average cost of support per application was £1,570 (includes the transitional cases).Placing, Assessment and Counselling Team (PACT) managers are responsible for monitoring the operation of Access to Work and therefore the detail of other information you asked for is not currently held centrally. However, the review and research mentioned earlier will give information in these areas. A report of the research will be published in the normal way.You may be interested to learn that three Employment Service Regions are piloting a formal operating agreement in which specific standards are set. The suggested standards are:
  • PACT to complete within 3 weeks of application an action plan for 80% of applicants;
  • PACTs to order within 2 weeks of completion of the action plan the agreed goods or services for 80% of all applicants;
  • PACTs to follow up all cases where goods or services are not delivered within one month of completion of order;
  • PACTs to follow up, by visit or telephone, 95% of applicants within 3 months of the delivery of the goods or services.
Our intention is to extend this operating agreement to all Regions for the 1996/7 operating year, subject to the experience of the pilots.I hope this is helpful.