Adult and Children’s Services Cabinet Member – minutes – 11 August 2011

The schools had been inspected under the Section 5 Ofsted inspection schedule for schools. Full copies of the reports had been placed in the political group offices.

Resolved – (a) That approval be given to continue supporting improvements in the schools inspected above, and (b) that the Cabinet Member writes to the schools and makes suitable comment on the reports.

12 (12) EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR VULNERABLE ADULTS IN NORTH LINCOLNSHIRE – The Director of Adult Social Services submitted a report informing the Cabinet Member about changes in the way disabled people would be supported into employment in the future in North Lincolnshire.

The government was committed to achieving equality for all disabled people by 2025, this was set out in the document “Improving chances of disabled people” (Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit – 2005). This included the chance for all disabled people to secure a job.

In 2001, the original Department of Health, “Valuing People Strategy for People with Learning Disabilities and their Families” set a clear objective around employment. This was, “to enable more people with learning disabilities to participate in all forms of employment, wherever possible in paid work and to make a valued contribution to the world of work”.

Ensuring equality for disabled people was a key priority for the coalition government. Since May 2010, they had set out an ambitious programme of employment support to ensure that people disadvantaged in the labour market would get the help they needed to find and keep jobs. Building on these foundations the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) had announced an independent review of specialist disability employment programmes. The outcome of the review would impact on how councils provided supported employment services in the future.

The council currently contracted with Mencap to provide some employment services, mainly for people with a range of learning disabilities and difficulties, within Café Ivy and the Mencap Pathway.

Café Ivy was one of the arrangements set up to provide a service to train and support people with disabilities and to locate and secure opportunities for employment and work experience. This had been a successful joint venture with the café providing work placements for a large number of disabled adults. However, due to a number of factors, the café can no longer meet the aims and objectives it was designed to achieve. In addition, most staff that used the café were relocating to more appropriate accommodation, which significantly reduced the number of customers.

In light of the position of Café Ivy, Mencap and the council were working closely with the 23 people currently on work placements; as a result 18 were in the process of moving to more appropriate placements. The target date for transition from the café into individual placements was September 2011, with Mencap continuing their support until December 2011.

Resolved – (a) That the new ways of helping disabled people into employment currently being developed through joint working between the council and the National Development Team for Inclusion, in line with DWP intentions, be acknowledged; (b) that in light of positive transition arrangements in place for current users, as detailed in paragraph 2.7 of the report, the closure of Café Ivy on 1 October 2011, with notice being served to Mencap on this date, be approved, and (c) that the proposal for funding to Mencap to continue until 31 December 2011 to enable work to be completed with the remaining people on placement in Café Ivy, be approved.