Disability specialist awarded all 7 government contracts
By Ian Birch
Yesterday, we reported how Lord Stevenson’s Mental Health (Discrimination) Bill has widespread support amongst ministers. For far too long, people with mental health difficulties have found themselves stigmatised and discriminated against in the workplace, and in recognition of that Remploy, a household name, has been awarded all seven contracts across England, Scotland and Wales to deliver the government’s back-to-work programme for up to 1,600 people with mental health conditions.
It’s part of the Department for Work and Pensions’ Access-to-Work scheme but will be seen with suspicion by some at a time when the government is planning 20% cuts to the number of Disability Living Allowance Claims when only 0.5% of sickness benefit claims are not genuine - a DWP statistic highlighted by charity Mind recently at the Conservative Party conference - in a spoof newspaper called The Daily Stigma.
In its press release, Remploy quotes Mind statistics saying 1 in 6 people will suffer a mental health problem at any one time, giving rise to 70 million lost working days every year because of mental health, at a cost of £2.4 billion pounds.
Remploy are probably best known for their supported factories where a small number of people with a variety of disabilities are still employed, despite major cutbacks to the Remploy service in recent years.
Remploy says its in-work support, starting this week, is completely impartial and confidential, comes at no cost to either employer or employee, can be delivered with or without the support of employers and is delivered by experts who truly understand mental health.
The service will provide a wide range of support for people with mental health conditions for a period of six months and will include:
- Provision of a personalised action plan and exit report
- Employer education
- Assessing an individual’s needs and identifying coping strategies
- Identifying reasonable adjustments within the workplace or within the confines of working practice
Beth Carruthers, Remploy’s Director of Employment Services, said:
“If you are absent from work, or are finding work difficult due to a mental health condition, Remploy can now support you to address your issues and remain in, or return to, your role.
“We are experts in this field and have been delivering a similar ‘in work’ support package for more than four years.
“Creating a mentally healthy and open workplace where employees feel supported enough to discuss their mental health condition will help employers to reduce costs, improve commitment and satisfaction amongst employees, while creating an inclusive and diverse workforce.”
For further information about Remploy’s Access to Work Mental Health Service visit www.remploy.co.uk/employment-services/welfare-to-work/access-to-work.ashx.