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2016 National Disabled Members' Conference
8 July 2016

The Access to Work (AtW) programme is designed to provide disabled people with practical support to stay in employment. However, there have been significant problems with the scheme’s operation.

Conference notes that the Work and Pensions Select Committee has concluded that the scheme helps “only a minority of the people it could benefit” and that the Department of Work and Pensions’ (DWP) “attempts to increase the number of people helped by the programme, within an only marginally increased budget, risk bearing down on the awards of people who happen to have relatively high cost needs”.

With the increasing use of “Zero Hours” contracts in the private sector workers have experienced specific problems, including lack of understanding of their employment status, inconsistency and delays in decision-making and requiring workers to claim back expenses after they have completed a job.

Conference welcomes the recommendations of the DWP Select Committee and calls upon the National Disabled Members Committee to campaign for better guidance to be issued that can take greater account of the realities of working on a Zero or variable hours contract.

Conference also calls upon the National Disabled Members Committee to carry on campaigning for improved funding for AtW and other measures which seek to bring about a level playing field for disabled workers.