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Employment Schemes: Asperger's Syndrome

Question for Department for Work and Pensions

UIN 209733, tabled on 26 September 2014

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department has taken to assist people with Asperger's syndrome to find appropriate work.

Answered on

14 October 2014

DWP is an active member of the Autism Programme Board (APB) formed in 2009, and contributes regular feedback to the group on progress made to improve services for people with Autistic Spectrum Conditions, including Asperger’s Syndrome and associated Hidden Impairment conditions.

DWP is strongly committed to sponsoring the work activity of the Hidden Impairment National Group (HING). The HING comprises of disabled people with Hidden Impairment conditions; medical professionals/academics and disability organisations and was formed in 2010 to support DWP to improve service provision for people with Autism and associated Hidden Impairment conditions.

In March 2014 DWP hosted an Autism Stakeholder Review in partnership with the Department of Health and the National Autistic Society. The aim of this event was to identify ways that DWP can improve its service for people with Autistic Spectrum Conditions and associated Hidden Impairment conditions.

From this event DWP has developed an Autism Strategy Plan that focuses on 3 key issues:

· Development of autism awareness training for DWP staff/managers

· To promote the Autism agenda to the widest possible audience

· To work closely with the provider community to ensure their understanding of the Autism agenda.

In support of these actions DWP is currently developing a Local Office Self- Assessment Framework to help Jobcentre Plus managers to assess their local capacity to fully support people with Autism and associated Hidden Impairment conditions.

The Hidden Impairment Toolkit (produced by the HING) is available to all DWP staff and promotes awareness of Autistic Spectrum Conditions and Hidden Impairment conditions. We are keen to share this free resource with the widest possible audience including other Government Departments; employers and provider organisations and have been able to do so through the Disability Confident campaign, aimed at employers, and the Accessible Britain Campaign, aimed at empowering communities.