Beyond the Barriers was entirely researched, written, and supported by disabled people.
It aims to kickstart a significant new debate about the failure of sickness and disability support in the UK, why and what we must do to improve it, and how current systems should be re-designed so that all members of society can achieve their goals and aspirations.
The report is based on the responses to 5 separate consultations receiving over 1,200 responses from sick and disabled people going through the ESA system (Employment and Support Allowance, previously Incapacity Benefit or IB) and the Work Programme. It draws on the widest evidence considered and presented to date. It makes constructive recommendations throughout every chapter based on evidence from both home and abroad, alongside a wide range of case studies.
It is easy to simply criticise the status quo: this report aims to offer a comprehensive alternative vision for sickness and disability support in the UK.
The report :
* Examines what works and what doesn’t for sick and disabled people in other countries, and makes a series of recommendations based on the evidence.
* Challenges the assumption that a punishing, penalty based system produces results and calls for a whole-person approach that enables everyone to be included.
* Lays out an entirely new vision of how an assessment for “sickness benefits” might work, and offers both immediate and longer term recommendations.
* Recommends that people who meet the tough qualifying criteria for ESA are no longer forced to participate in the Work Programme. Instead, they should co-produce plans for their own support where appropriate and commission it directly.
* Offers a range of innovative solutions to enable those that can work to fulfill their potential whatever their impairment. It recommends a holistic, “one-stop” approach to support and that all valuable contribution should be recognised. This contribution doesn’t always mean paid employment, as caring and volunteering are not adequately supported in our present system.