Darren Townsend-Handscomb: How you can give evidence to the Access to Work inquiry (by THIS Friday!)

Posted on June 18, 2014

Deaf people up and down the country have been having lots of problems with Access to Work – the government scheme that gives Deaf and disabled people support in accessing the workplace. There is now an inquiry into ATW, which needs your input.

The website DeafATW.com, which I run, now has a page about the inquiry, aiming to support AtW users, employers, interpreters, and anyone one else who has evidence to send.

It brings together all the information and links about the inquiry in one place in plain English and BSL.  Such as:

  • What is the Select Committee and why is it important.
  • Suggestions about what you may want to talk about in your evidence.
  • When the evidence needs to be sent in.
  • How to send your evidence (with links).
  • The five areas the committee are most interested in looking at.
  • The rules about the evidence (it should be sent as a word document not pdf, no pictures, number paragraphs).
  • Committee suggestions about how you should structure your evidence.
  • A document you can download already set up with the headings and paragraph numbering.
  • Whether your evidence is confidential, and what to do if you want to talk about something that is confidential.
  • Information about access (you can’t yet send your evidence in BSL).
  • Information about sending evidence and evidence in person.
  • Links to information, including the information in Easy Read.

I’d really encourage everyone to send in evidence. Short evidence is much better than none. So if time is short, write short.

And I really encourage employers to feedback as well. A few employers giving evidence about how difficult the process has been, how impossible it is to work with AtW, and something about the impact of the sudden additional costs, would have a real impact.

I’ve also copied the most frequently asked for information below:

  • Evidence from organisations, employers, and most people needs to be received by THIS Friday 20th June 2014.
  • If English is difficult for you, then you can send your evidence to be received by Friday 18th July 2014. If you’re planning to send your evidence late, then let the committee staff know.
  • Your evidence is not confidential or private.
  • All of the evidence will be published on the internet. There is a lot of evidence though, so most of it probably will never be read by anyone except the Select Committee.
  • But if you want something to be really private, then write that separate from your evidence.
  • Let the Committee know that this information is confidential, and then the confidential information will be read by the Committee as background reading (just for their information), but won’t be used as evidence for the inquiry.

Go to the DeafATW.com page about the inquiry and find out how to leave your evidence.

Darren is an interpreter, trainer and coach, who set up DeafATW.com because Deaf people were being mislead by AtW.  AtW currently keeps him awake at night.  He’d quite like them to go back to supporting Deaf and disabled people to access work, properly.


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