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← Overview Database of Innovative Social Policies in Europe

Reform Remploy Factories and Services

Country of implementation
United Kingdom
General short description of the innovation
Originally, Remploy was established in 1945 under the Disabled Persons Act 1944, providing employment opportunities to disabled ex-miners and soldiers returning from the Second World War. Remploy factories produced various products including furniture and motor components. Remploy Employment Services (RES) provides assistance to disabled people seeking mainstream employment. While the factories have been closed down or sold following a withdrawal of public subsidies in March 2012 the employment service continues to exist. It provides personal advice and support to disabled jobseekers through the Government?s Work Choice programme (alongside other local Work Choice providers) and works in close cooperation with employers to help transferring disabled people into mainstream employment. / / The biggest ?innovation? in Remploy is its cancellation. This represents a major change in the approach towards employment of disabled people in that employees should be vigorously supported in the transition to more inclusive labour markets. Instead of a segregated labour market that encourages an attitude from other employers that disabled people can only be employed in separate, non-profitable enterprises, a rights-based approach would be needed.
Target group
Policy Field
  • employment
Type of Policy
  • public
Duration of the policy
Factories: 1945-2012; Services continue to exist
Scope of innovation
  • Scope: structural
  • Spatial coverage: national
General description of (intended) objectives and strategies
Support people with disabilities into mainstream employment instead keeping them in segregated labour markets through the provision of sheltered workshops.
Type of innovation
  • retrenchment or expansion of an existing/earlier policy
New outputs
  • others (abolishing public support for sheltered workshops)
Intended target group
Disabled people
Working age population
  • main source of income: paid work
Actors involved in policy-making/implementation and/or evaluation
  • agency or national social insurance body
  • central state
Intended output
  • others (change in attitudes and enhancing the transition of disabled into mainstream employment)
Clarification of outcomes in terms of impacting resilience and labour market inclusion
In 2012/13, Remploy found 17,835 jobs in mainstream employment for ?disabled and disadvantaged people?, including 14,700 for disabled people (Remploy 2013). The closure of the factories happened in reaction to the Sayce review (Sayce 2011), which covered a whole range of disability support programmes available and concluded that Remploy factories would be financially unsustainable and that funding should focus on individuals rather than maintaining facilities. Following the gradual closure of the Remploy factories a total of 2,000 disabled workers were made redundant. In February 2014, 691 former workers who had taken up the Government?s 8 million support package following the closure of the programme were in work, while 839 were receiving JSA or ESA (McGuinness 2014:5). / / The policy surely is part of the budget cuts in reaction to financial constraints following the 2008-2009 recession and its slow recovery. However, it also seeks to support a change in the support (and adaptability) of disabled people towards mainstream employment. / / References: / - McGuinnes, F. (2014). Remploy, House of Commons Library briefing, SN00698. / - Remploy (2013). Annual Report and Financial Statements 2013. / - Sayce, L. (2011). Getting in, Staying in and getting on, disability employment support fit for the future, DWP report, London.
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