Hodge to cut red tape on disability scheme

Tania Mason

Margaret Hodge, minister of state for work, has pledged to cut by April next year the red-tape burden for voluntary organisations that deliver the New Deal for the Disabled.

The commitment follows lobbying by charities that are engaged in delivering employment services.

At a recent meeting with the Employment Related Services Association, the umbrella body that represents employment charities such as Tomorrow's People and the Shaw Trust, Hodge heard complaints about various aspects of the contract governing delivery of the service.

In particular, the charities said they were weighed down by the requirement to seek written confirmation from employers that a disabled employee who had been referred to them was still working there 13 weeks after starting the job. Hodge heard that the obligation was time-consuming, difficult to achieve, and potentially eroded trust between the employer and employee.

A spokeswoman from the Department of Work and Pensions confirmed: "Ms Hodge agreed to review the burden of administrative process on the providers and explained that we expect to make some changes in April."

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