Wednesday, 18 January 2012

DW&P Research: How Many Trained Disability Employment Advisors are there at JobCentre Plus ?

[updated: 18th Jan, 2012] 
How Many 'Trained' Disability Employment Advisers are there at Job Centre Plus offices ?

*update 2: 18th Jan, 2012


Here's a comment that you can read below, but I thought I would pick this up, as it states that Disability Employment Advisors are being cut at Job Centre Plus offices.



FibroNewbie said on Jan 10, 2012 10:28AM

My Disability Employment Advisor said that they are being cut and she could only help me a certain amount of sessions then I would be put back to new JCP advisors who are not trained on helping people with disabilities and from what she said would basically force me back into work. 

She was despairing of the way they are now being told to handle things and said that it goes against all the training she had been given and that she felt she was letting people down but had her hands tied by the new JCP procedures.

*update 1: 13th Jan, 2012

Here's a tweet I received, from a ex-frontline JobCentre Plus DW&P staff member, who has a disability. This tweet sure does put a few more things into perspective !


I was frontline DWP JCP until March'11(my contract not made permanent)I've a disability & as a result I would refer not the DEA, purely because I could empathise and was more sete of local support groups - through no formal training.!! :)


OK - On with Sam's first-hand experience and research here:

From late 2009, I was Unemployed due to several chronic effects from my Epilepsy. And therefore had to claim Unemployment Allowance, otherwise known as JSA. The first few sign-on meetings, the "job centre" advisors didn't recognise that I had a Disability, and they didn't check either.. they simply ignored it, and kept on asking why I wasn't working, and Why I had barriers against working.

A few weeks went by, and finally someone said that my next sign-on meetings should be with the offices (DEA) Disability Employment Adviser. All the DEA did, was to take down notes of my disability, and put it in to the JCP online system. The DEA didn't offer me any support, or help. They treated me like I had no disability.

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What is a DEA ? To find out more information, visit the Direct Gov Website, about Disability Employment Advisers (DEAs) - PLEASE CLICK HERE
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This, made my feel angry. So I asked about what they knew about Epilepsy, and how the condition effects people with it. The DEA didn't have a clue, and said "this isn't a thing we are trained about..".

Aha! - I thought.

So after my sign-on meeting with the DEA, I traveled from the JCP office by bus to a near by Internet Cafe, where I emailed my local MP, to ask 2 questions at the next Prime Ministers Question Time, in the House of Commons in London.


I asked KERRY McCARTHY (Labour MP, Bristol East) (pictured right) the Questions.

Twitter - @KerryMP / http//twitter.com/KerryMP
Email - kerry.mccarthy.mp@parliament.uk 
Website - http://www.kerrymccarthymp.org/contact.aspx

Kerry McCarthy MP - supports people with Disability's (like me). She's really great at raising awareness.  So, please if you need to, use the contact details above to say thanks!

Maria Miller, the Minister for Disabled People, has now answered the two Parliamentary questions I tabled in response to the issues you raised. These are available on Hansard, and I hope the further information on training for Disability Employment Advisors will be of interest to you. 
There is always scope for improvement, but while the Coalition’s promises of personalised support as part of their Work Programme sound positive, I am very concerned that the DWP will not provide sufficient funding to ensure this works in practice, with enough suitably qualified staff. 
I will, therefore, continue to investigate these issues, and thanks again for the information you provided.

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Get the Questions and Answers from the Hansard at:
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmhansrd/cm101207/text/101207w0002.htm#10120753000380 
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7 Dec 2010 : Column 166W

Jobcentre Plus: Disability

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what training disability employment advisers are required to undertake as a condition of their role in Jobcentre Plus; and who provides that training. [27727]
Maria Miller: The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the chief executive of Jobcentre Plus, Darra Singh. I have asked him to provide the hon. Member with the information requested.
Letter from Ruth Owen:

    To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what disability employment advisers are required to undertake as a condition of their role in Jobcentre Plus; and who provides that training. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to Darra Singh as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus. As Darra Singh is currently unavailable, I am replying in his absence.

    Disability Employment Advisers (DEA) are responsible for providing support to customers who, due to their disability or health condition, may need additional help in finding and retaining work and supporting development. This is a specialist role.

    In terms of training, the DEA initially completes 96 hours of induction and foundation learning which provides an introduction to their working environment, generic knowledge of customer service, diversity and equality policies and an introduction to accessing information via the DWP intranet.

    This would be followed by 205 hours of learning specific to the Personal Adviser (PA) job role consisting of Adviser Skills learning, with a core series of Adviser Skills workshops and periods of supported workplace consolidation, to enable the advisers to effectively interview customers, diagnose their needs, identify challenges to work and solutions to support customers. The workshops provide advisers with other knowledge and procedural learning to complement their skills such as identifying local labour market information and job search skills.

    Following the standard PA learning programme the DEA will go on to complete an additional 59 hours of specialist learning to support customers with severe health conditions.

    This DEA learning has been designed by the Jobcentre Plus Learning Division with input from specialist DWP Work Psychologists. In addition, for specific elements of the learning there has been liaison with external organisations such as Mencap, to help advisers understand the needs of customers with mental health issues. Trainers delivering DEA learning materials in addition to being skilled learning professionals will have also attended events with DWP Work Psychologists to ensure that they are fully able to deliver this specialised learning.
Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many Jobcentre Plus disability employment advisers there are (a) in Bristol, (b) in the South West and (c) nationally. [27728]
Maria Miller: The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the chief executive of Jobcentre Plus, Darra Singh. I have asked him to provide the hon. Member with the information requested.
Letter from Ruth Owen:

    The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking how many Jobcentre Plus disability employment advisers there are in a) Bristol; b) in the South West; and c) nationally. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to Darra Singh as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus. As Darra Singh is currently not available, I am replying in his absence.

    The information in the following table is set out in full time equivalents. This is the latest published data as at June 2010.

7 Dec 2010 : Column 167W
Numbers of disability employment advisers
Bristol
3
South West
40
National
491


    This data is drawn from an internal Departmental system used to monitor staff deployment trends.

WHAT THE FACTS ABOVE MEAN:

As you can see from the figures above. The amount of 'TRAINED' Disability Employment Advisors is not great. Nationally through out the UK , up until December 2010, there were less than 500 trained advisers.  I emailed Maria Miller to ask about these results. I got no reply back.  

I also contacted the Department for Work and Pensions to see if they knew anything about why there is a lack of trained staff at Job Centre Plus offices, they didn't know why either.

Yes - I've asked Kerry McCarthy MP to re-ask these questions again to Maria Miller, to see if we can get this years results..... we are still waiting to hear from Maria Miller!

So, the facts speak for themselves don't they?!

Job Centre Plus staff are not trained to help people who have Disability's... at all.

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