by Chloe Cornish
Theresa May should do more to help companies to employ staff who are recovering from addiction, an independent review has said.
While employers were generally supportive of existing staff who develop drug or alcohol problems, they were reluctant to hire people with addiction histories, a review led by Dame Carol Black has found.
“Additional government action is required as employers are clear that they need to ‘de-risk’ the decision to employ someone in recovery,” according to the 138-page report.
However Dame Carol did not back a suggestion made by David Cameron last year that people who reject help to get off drugs or lose weight should have their benefits cut. A Downing St spokesman said on Monday that Mr Cameron’s idea was “not under consideration”.
Dame Carol is a special adviser to the Department of Health and Public Health England and principal of Newnham College, Cambridge.
Her recommendations included an “Individual Placement and Support model” trial, which would involve expert support and discretionary funds to cover costs incurred for small companies taking on people with addictions.
The report suggested that a “try before you buy” probationary approach would help persuade employers to hire people with substance problems, after an opportunity to assess their suitability through a work trial.
And having JobCentre staff in treatment centres could help addicted people return to work faster, said the report.
Returning to or staying in employment was found to help people recover from addiction. “[D]uring the first six months after treatment for alcohol misuse 45 per cent of those who were unemployed relapsed, compared to 23 per cent of the employed,” according to one study quoted in the report.
Dame Carol said: “Our goal has been to find ways of overcoming the employment problems that people face when they are addicted to alcohol or drugs, or are obese. After a searching inquiry we are clear that a fresh approach is needed, one that brings together health, social, and employment agencies in new collaborative ways.”
Part of the report’s scope was to ascertain “whether the government should make benefit claimants with an addiction engage with treatment as a condition of their benefit entitlement”.
But it concluded that mandating people suffering from addictions or obesity to attend treatment as a precursor to receiving benefits, was unlikely to be successful or “cost-effective”.
Eleven years ago Geoffrey Wheatcroft buried the Conservative party.
His book “The Strange Death of Tory England” marked the party’s nadir – but it was out of date shortly after it came off the presses. Just months later the Conservatives elected David Cameron. The rest is history. Read more
I’ve spent some time looking into the business background of Britain’s new chancellor, Philip Hammond. It tells us a lot about his approach to politics. Here’s what I think the public, the City, and the rest of government can expect from the new broom at 11 Downing Street. Read more
Political journalists have become exceedingly wary of pollsters since they called last year’s general election wrongly. Are they right to be? The performance of major polling companies in this referendum could make or break their reputations – get it wrong again and the fury of Fleet Street will be unconstrained.
But there’s good reason to feel that hacks should have learned some lessons too – the first being, properly understand what it is that you are reporting. Here are a handful of key points to bear in mind when in the coming days we consider the pollsters’ performance in this referendum. Read more
Pollsters should be more transparent about their methodology and more quizzical about people’s intention to vote, a wide-ranging review of last year’s election polling disaster has recommended – as well as suggesting that Britain needs fewer, but better, political polls.
Polling companies were left embarrassed last year by the surprise Conservative election win, which none of them had accurately predicted. Polls showed Labour and the Conservatives neck and neck in the run-up to the vote last May, but on the night the Tories won an outright majority with a lead of 7 percentage points in the popular vote. Read more
Experts pinpoint why online polls and those made by phone show wide discrepancy Read more
Why is one measure of EU immigration to Britain nearly three times as high as the other?
That is the question Westminster’s Brexiteers are asking this week. The answer could shape the arguments both for and against Britain leaving the EU. Read more
In the next four months Britain will be inundated with opinion polls. As the Leave and Remain camps gear up for Britain’s first referendum on its relationship with Europe for four decades, the stakes are high.
But this time last year the nation also pored over an array of polls during the general election campaign, and yet those polls proved unreliable. Read more
Campaign website 38 Degrees has become the bane of many MPs’ lives for the vast tide of correspondence its 3m members generate. But its founder David Babbs hopes it will come to be seen as a benefit to British democracy. Here he discusses with FT political correspondent Kate Allen how the site came about, its greatest victories to date – and how he’s now turning his members’ fire on the corporate world …
More than 26,000 British farmers have not yet received annual European subsidy payments and many are facing financial difficulties as a result, a committee of MPs has been told.
Britain is facing £180m fines a year over the failure by the Rural Payments Agency to distribute the cash because of overruns on a big IT project. Read more