NHS Scotland learning disability employment: tools and guidance

Guidance and tools to support NHS Scotland to increase the number of the people employed with learning disabilities.

7. Annex A: External Support and Resources

Department for Work and Pensions Access to Work programme provides money towards a support worker or for the cost of equipment or travelling to work. A number of disabled people in employment have said they would not have been in employment without the help of Access to Work. Depending on circumstances and need, the Access to Work grant can pay for practical support including:

  • adaptations to equipment used;
  • special equipment;
  • fares to work for those who can’t use public transport;
  • a support worker or job coach to help in the workplace;
  • a support service for those who have a mental health condition, are absent from work or finding it difficult to work;
  • disability awareness training for colleagues;
  • a communicator at a job interview;
  • the cost of moving equipment for a change in job location or job.

Disability Confident Scheme: The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) Disability Confident scheme replaced the Positive about Disabled People ‘two tick’ scheme in 2017. NHSScotland are expected to complete the Disability Confident Actions to become accredited. Employers can progress through various levels of the award once they have met the necessary criteria. This scheme offers tools to recruit, retain and developed disabled staff. Guidance on the scheme can be found here.

Jobcentre Plus: The local Jobcentre Plus can help NHSScotland Boards tap into a pool of candidates that have learning disabilities and are looking for work. Disability Employment Advisers in Jobcentre Plus help clients to find work or to gain new skills and also provide information about disability friendly employers within their local area.

Local Authorities: Local Authorities have a wide range of responsibilities, including adult social services. Learning Disability Statistics Scotland (LDSS) publish statistics about adults with learning disabilities who are known to local authorities in Scotland. The 2017 report shows a low level of employment of adults with a learning disability.

The integration across health and social care services, forging partnerships between patients, their families and service providers provides a mutually beneficial opportunity for NHSScotland Boards and local authorities to collaborate on this agenda, including:

  • for NHSScotland Boards to reach their target population by working with local authorities and sharing data on people with learning disabilities who are known to adult social services;
  • for local authorities to increase meaningful employment of people with learning disabilities;
  • for NHSScotland and local authorities to work together and develop new service models for people with learning disabilities.

Your local authority contact can be found on the directory.

Employability in Scotland: This Government hosted website provides key information on the employment services supported by government, the policies and partnerships, and specific sections on key client groups which includes a section on Learning Disabilities. This dedicated page provides information on the policies and interventions that exist to support those with Learning Disabilities.

Fair Start Scotland: Fair Start Scotland is the Scottish Government’s devolved employment services and is delivered by providers in 9 contract areas across Scotland. The service offers up to 12 months in-work support to both participants and employers. You can contact the service provider who is responsible for delivering Fair Start Scotland in your area by visiting this page.

Project Search: The primary aim of Project SEARCH is to connect young people with learning disabilities and additional support needs with competitive employment. Interns are supported through placements with large employers, such as NHSScotland. They get hands-on experience and are given the opportunity to demonstrate their skills and abilities while learning new complex and varied, practical and vocational skills to help ready them for the world of work. You can access their website here.

Scottish Union of Support Employment (SUSE): This website provides videos and case studies of how the supported employment model works in practice. SUSE is working with the Scottish Government to improve the quality and consistency of supported employment services in Scotland. Supported employment has been defined in Scotland as, "promoting the rights of all individuals to achieve their full potential through a model of flexible support that enables people to overcome barriers to their employability and access real jobs for real pay". The ‘Good Practice Guide’ provides information for managerial practice and organisational culture to create inclusive workplaces and support people with disabilities.

Scottish Commission for Learning Disabilities (SCLD): The SCLD are committed to finding new and better ways to improve the lives of people with learning disabilities. Their website is a knowledge hub – offering support, information and new ideas about learning disability in Scotland.

Business Disability Forum (BDF): NHS Scotland, is a partner of Business Disability Forum, and is entitled to Member and Partner Benefits. This includes 5 days consultancy or training per year across NHSScotland. They also provide an advice service, line manager guides and content resources. A full list of the benefits included in the partnership can be found here.

Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations: The national membership organisation provides support for Scotland’s charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises. The website signposts to their different partners which is a really valuable source of contacts and resources.

Social Enterprise UK: Work with the public sector to deliver on local health and social care challenges, focusing on social value priorities and creating a more inclusive society. Information on campaigns they’ve been involved in, or to find out more access their website here.

The Scottish Accessibility Forum (SAIF): Aims to make information accessible to everyone who needs it. SAIF does this by raising awareness and understanding of the importance of accessible information and by providing a range of guidance, advice and practical support to information providers across Scotland. The website can be accessed here.

Other Resources:

Policy Documents

Learning Disability: Background Information

  • Autism spectrum disorder: ASD

Other sources of Information and Support


Email: Emma Weedon

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