Access to Work Programme: Autism:Written question - 201149

(Bristol West)
Asked on: 11 December 2018
Department for Work and Pensions
Access to Work Programme: Autism
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the Access to Work Hidden Impairment Specialist Team in (a) advising employers on supporting employees diagnosed with autism, (b) offering autistic people an assessment of their needs at work and (c) helping to develop support plans for those people.
Answered by: Sarah Newton
Answered on: 18 December 2018

Last year, the Access to Work Hidden Impairment Specialist team helped 2,150 people, which includes people with Autism. This number has been continually increasing since the team was introduced in 2014/2015, when 1,160 people were helped.

People with hidden impairments are offered an Access to Work holistic workplace assessment to identify the type of help they require in the workplace. Following this assessment, the Access to Work adviser will work with both the employer and customer to develop support plans where appropriate

In November, we published Access to Work: Qualitative research with applicants, employers and delivery staff, which found that workplace assessment experiences tended to be very positive. Although we don’t have separate findings for autistic people, employers and applicants felt that assessments were comprehensive and appropriate, and conducted sensitively. Many applicants talked about how the recommendations and advice given during the assessment alone had enlightened them about the support available for their condition and small changes they could make in the workplace which went a long way in improving their workplace experience. Applicants that were previously too nervous to ask their employer for (even ‘light touch’) adjustments felt the expert ‘stamp of approval’ via the assessment helped them to approach their employer and empowered them to ask for changes.

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