Disabled campaigners have criticised the decision to award an OBE to the senior Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) civil servant responsible for delivering the much-criticised Access to Work (AtW) scheme.
Rilesh Jadeja, AtW’s national delivery manager, was recognised in the latest new year’s honours“for services to people with disabilities”, just two months after new research found the future of the scheme was in jeopardy because of “bureaucratic incompetence” and a cost-cutting drive to reduce people’s support packages.
The research, commissioned by Inclusion London, said that “shocking levels of delay, error, and the de-skilling of staff” within AtW were putting Deaf and disabled people’s jobs at risk.
AtW provides disabled people with funding to pay for some of the extra disability-related expenses they face at work – including travel, personal assistants or the use of BSL interpreters – reducing the costs organisations meet when taking on disabled employees.
The Inclusion London report said the scheme was “a cornerstone of the movement for equality and civil rights for Deaf and disabled people in the UK” but had been “beset with so much bureaucratic incompetence and obstructionism in recent ye