Welfare Reform; Building & Learning From What Works Locally

Iain Duncan Smith Official

Iain Duncan Smith, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, has today given a speech on welfare, mental health and sickness benefits. Our Chief Executive, Bob, responds.

In his speech Iain Duncan Smith highlights that work is good for wellbeing and that the current system of identifying people as either completely fit for work or completely unable to work is fundamentally flawed. He suggests that there is a need to make assessments of people more individualised and to help them work for whatever hours they are able to.

Bob Kitchin, Twining Chief Executive, responds to today’s speech.

Twining is founded on the fact that work is generally good for you as our clients have told us since we started. We welcome any policy and practice developments that support a flexible approach to gaining and keeping work for people with mental health problems. 

The challenge for government is how to develop the system to reflect the principle that work is good for wellbeing. Most people with a mental health problem want to work - so need the correct supports, not threats of lost benefits. These supports are not generally found in large national programmes - we know that the Work Programme under-serves people with mental health problems. 

There are some fantastic, effective, locally commissioned services around London and other parts of the country. The best ones bring together the strengths of mental health care, DWP and local charities in establishing trust, focusing on what individuals want and making work part of their recovery. 

Unfortunately the picture is a patchy one – we would welcome the opportunity to share our experience and practice with government to inform the debate and build upon this local excellence.

*Image By Work and Pensions Office

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