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Parliament: Access to Work

A question around Access to Work has appeared in parliament:

Rosie Cooper (PPS (Rt Hon Lord Rooker, Minister of State), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, West Lancashire, Labour)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what guidelines are issued to Access to Work staff on the provision of communication support professionals for deaf and hard of hearing employees; and how they are enforced.

Anne McGuire (Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Work and Pensions)

Updated and strengthened guidance on the provision of support workers, including communication support for deaf and hard of hearing people, was issued to all Access to Work Business Centres in December 2006. The guidance describes the types of support that may be suitable, for example British Sign Language Interpreters, lip speakers and palantypists, as well as the steps to take to establish the type and level of appropriate support.

A National Access to Work Delivery Team has been established and has been fully operational since April. The National Access to Work Delivery Manager has appointed two senior operations managers who are responsible for improving consistency of decision making nationally and for regularly monitoring that business centres comply with national guidelines.

Source: Hansard, They Work for You

My question, has anyone noticed any changes in decision making during 2007, or differences in support? Are there still wide discrepancies from area to area? Do you find it more difficult to get certain support now, due to budget considerations?

Does anyone have a copy of this new guidance, that could be shared?

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