A pioneering adult ADHD Service in Wakefield has made a difference to jobseekers across the country after Jobcentre Plus has rolled out an innovative system to help people with hidden impairments access the service.
Jobcentre Plus is a Government led service that provides a wide range of support on benefits, loans and grants and help with finding a job. Until recently people with hidden impairments such as ADHD, aspergers syndrome and dyslexia, were finding the form-filling and contact centres difficult to navigate and have consequently struggled to access this help.
Last year the Wakefield ADHD service, which is provided by South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, joined forces with the hidden impairments charity ADDept to help Jobcentre Plus look at how it could improve the customer service experience for all, including people with hidden impairments. In February 2010 the Hidden Impairment National Group (HING) was established, chaired by Amanda Wadsworth MBE of the Jobcentre Plus Disability Champion Team. This was attended by the Trust’s ADHD lead Dr Marios Adamou and disability specific organisations such as ADDept. The main aim of the group was to improve the skills and knowledge of Jobcentre Plus staff by developing practical support tools to help them deliver an effective customer service experience at all stages of the individuals journey.
Just last month, Jobcentre Plus has implemented Hidden Impairment Toolkit through their IT system nationwide to improve the journey through Jobcentre Plus for people with hidden Impairments. The Toolkit is designed to ensure staff, know how best to help somebody with a hidden impairment to ensure they can easily access help to seek employment.
As well as providing this information, Amanda Wadsworth and Margaret are working with ADDept and other HING members to develop a suite of training materials about hidden impairments; which can be utilised by Jobcentre Plus staff, Providers and Employers.
Dr Marios Adamou, the lead for the ADHD service in Wakefield, said "The work has ensured Jobcentre Plus can provide appropriate and flexible support to customers, regardless of their disabilities. This move represents real progress for people with a hidden impairment. Before there was a constant struggle for them to get help, and there was a lack of expertise available. I am delighted that the Trust has been able to assist with the implementation of this ‘Big Society’ model, which will not only support people in Wakefield but nationwide access the vital help to get them back on the road to employment."