An email received today:
I’ve recently read your book and you raise a lot of good points. I teach in a college that retrains unemployed disabled adults and it is only too apparent that the welfare system has hindered as well as helped a large number of our students in the ways in which you describe. For many the financial incentive to work just isn’t there, especially those with families, although often we are sucessful in changing peoples outlook and raising their aspirations.
In a lot of cases the disability, physical or mental, is secondary to the problem of a poor basic education in the first place. Without basic literacy, numeracy and organisational/reliability employment prospects are massively limited. We are certainly seeing a large proportion of youngsters for whom you wonder what they actually did at school.
It’s pretty clear that for a long time gov’t thinking was on inclusion in mainstream education and organisations, charity based and specialised like ourselves, were not flavour of month. There is now a realisation that this approach does not work for everyone and has left many people marginalised as mainstream providers have not got the resources or skills to give the level of support necessary. This seems to be changing but the problem that a lot of charitable organisations have when applying for funding is the enourmous levels of beaucacy that accompanies any application e.g. setting targets,
review procedures, equal opps, inspection and auditing etc. In other words, introducing the same levels of inefficieny and inflexibility that the state insists on for itself!