Improving access to employment

Today (5th December) Dame Carol Black published her review recommending improvements to employment opportunities for people with drug or alcohol problems.  The report recognises that improvements need to be made and lays out a clear roadmap of realistic recommendations to help service users have a real chance of success.
The recommendations include improving welfare and health services, building new evidence, and focusing on the role of employers – all of which Blenheim welcomes.
We welcome the acknowledgement that work needs to be a more integral part of the treatment journey.
Dame Carol recommends that the responsibility is shared between Jobcentre Plus and the treatment system. This will take some investment from DWP and treatment providers to facilitate recommendations such as; trialling Individual Placement and Support (IPS) approaches, co-location of Jobcentre staff in treatment centres, trialling the use of peer mentors to act as advocates of recovery and an enhanced Jobcentre Plus drug and alcohol offer that has more work options for claimants and maintains links to drug and alcohol treatment services.
We know that providing support to people not only when they are ready to start looking for work but also when they have secured a job is crucial to their success. The report recommends having in-work, expert support and a small discretionary fund for smaller employers to cover training costs which would help open opportunities.
The report also recognises the barriers and stigma to job opportunities for people who are in recovery. We believe that developing guidance for employers on best practice in recruiting people that are in recovery from alcohol and drug dependency is the first steps to breaking down some of the stigma and look forward to being part of the campaigns to address this.
As part of the consultation Blenheim made strong evidence based recommendations that sanctioning those who choose not to take up treatment options runs the risk of claimants not claiming, not accessing treatment and moving further into the margins of society. We are pleased that Dame Carol recognises this and welcomes all the recommendations in this report.
Download the full review here.
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