The DWP: in the dock again
In another precedent-setting case, the DWP is defending its Access to Work policy. It’s a scheme where the DWP gives a grant to an employee for changes or support they need to carry out their job. This is on top of any reasonable adjustments an employer should make under the Equality Act 2010.
But in this high court case, the claimant argues that the DWP has in fact breached the Equality Act itself, by not providing enough support to cover his needs. As the Disability News Service (DNS) reported, the chief executive of the charity Action on Disability, David Buxton, brought the case against the DWP because it would only give him British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters three days a week for his full-time job.
Buxton and his legal team from Deighton Pierce Glynn argue that the cap on the Access to Work grants, fully rolled out in April, discriminates against him. This is because it leaves him with no communication support for two days a week. Deighton Pierce Glynn says that up to 200 other people may also be affected.
Currently, the DWP is refusing to comment on the case as it’s ongoing. Meanwhile, the government’s changes to the Access to Work scheme have been controversial.
The cap limits the amount the DWP will give a person to £42,100. But campaign group Stop Changes To Access To Work believes it’s deaf people and those with hearing loss who are most affected by the changes to the scheme.
A report by Inclusion London found [pdf, p4] that the scheme is:
beset with so much bureaucratic incompetence and obstructionism… that, in many respects… [it] is no longer fit for purpose.
Buxton’s hearing lasts for two days, although the judgement will most likely be at a later date. If the DWP loses, it will be for the third time since December 2017. That disabled people are having to fight the DWP in court for their rights is bad enough. But the fact that the department keeps losing is a damning indictment. Deaf and disabled people will be watching the outcome of Buxton’s case closely.
– Sign the petition to stop Access to Work changes.