Social work support for employment of people with learning disabilities: Findings from the English Jobs First demonstration sites

Martin Stevens, Jess Harris
  • Journal of Social Work, June 2016, SAGE Publications
  • DOI: 10.1177/1468017316637224

Jobs First Evaluation - Helping people with learning disabilities to get paid jobs

What is it about?

The article is about how to support people with learning disabilities into paid employment. It focuses on the use of personal budgets, allocated by local authorities for social care support. The article draws on a research evaluation of a Department of Health project. The evaluation involved secondary analysis of case record data and 142 semi-structured interviews with a wide range of participants (we mainly draw on 79 interviews with professionals for this article). The attitudes of social workers to Jobs First were broadly positive, which was an important factor supporting employment outcomes. However, social workers’ involvement was often limited to a coordinating role, undertaking basic assessments linked to resource allocation and ensuring that support plans, which had often been developed by non-social work practitioners, were ‘signed off’ or agreed by the local authority.

Why is it important?

 Applications: The study points to important elements of the role of social workers in this new field of practice and explores potential tensions that might emerge. It highlights a continuing theme that social workers are playing more of a coordinating, managing role, rather than working directly with individuals to support their choices

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The following have contributed to this page: Dr Martin J Stevens and Αγγελική Μπαμπούρα