The employment requirements of disabled persons : a study of the development of state supported employment provision
This thesis deals with the historical background concerning the development of disability-related employment measures and the employment exclusion experienced by disabled persons. In particular, the enquiry focuses upon the early post-war period up until the introduction in 1997 of the New Deal for Disabled Persons. The thesis postulates that: 1. major policy shifts within the Employment Service Disability Services (ESDS) in the early 1990s did not sufficiently reflect the employment integration needs of disabled persons; in spite of a major social values shift, to welfare-to-work measures for disabled persons these measures proved to be problematic; problems existed because of the following three inter-related negative social factors; 3.1 lack of adequate neeeds assessment and response to disabled persons labour-market requirements; 3.2 lack of support for work capability enhancement; and 3.3 lack of suitable work-integrated environments,accessible jobs and adequate socially 'adjusted' working conditions. Although the study was carried out prior to the New Deal for Disabled Persons (NDDP), the main concerns raised by this study, regarding disabled persons labour market integration needs, would still appear to prevail. However, the post- NDDP developments and implications for the employment of disabled persons under the NDDP would require further research that is beyond the ambit of the present study which terminated prior to the introduction of the New Deal. The study examined national developments of disability policy of the Employment Service (ES), in the light of transitions within service philosophy during the 1990s. This took the form of a major shift on the part of policy makers of the 'position' of disabled persons to mainstream labour markets. Prior to the early 1990s, the position of disabled persons was largely one of relative labour-market marginality. Many disabled persons experienced social alienation, denoting exclusion from or restricted entry into employment, on terms that were often significant of a position of exploitative 'integration'. With the collapse in the 1980s and 1990s of the Keynes-Beveridge Welfare State, the outcome for disabled persons was a reconceptuality of their relationship to labour markets. This factor was driven by rising state-benefit dependency and decommodification. The perspective of the New Right, with its anti-statedependency ideology, ushered in a new regime wherein disabled persons were to be exposed to similar labour-market rigours as the non-disabled. While the two tier disability-employment regulatory system, set in place by Tomlinson (1942), remained relatively intact, the new requirements of what has been described as a 'Schumpeterian Workfare State' (Jessop, 1992,1994), ensured that the ES, Disability Service, faced a need for radical reform. It is the framework and conception of this revised approach, to disabled persons labour-market involvement, that constitutes the basis of the present study. The research ' contribution to disability and employment lies in the presentation of employment service users' own perceptions of the suitability of the ESDS. However debate presented, maintains that the fundamental relationship of disabled persons to employment, without corresponding change towards the social values perceptions of disabled persons, ensures that employment associated alienation will remain intact.