The CEC Model has helped many deaf people find a job. But where did the idea originate? Read on!

Meeting the Challenge

We needed to design:
  • An employment service that meets the needs of deaf and hard of hearing people on the Work Programme – accessible and deaf aware.
  • A model that meets the needs of the Prime Contractor – adds value, is affordable and gets results.
  • A model that manages risk and cash flow for the specialist provider – sustainable and viable.

The idea for our new employment model came out of recognising a need. Currently there is no national employment service for deaf people and only small pockets and fluctuating support at a local level. Specialist deaf sub-contractors are better placed to meet the needs of deaf jobseekers but because deaf jobseekers are a very low incidence group, the number of people in most areas is not high enough to prevent a contract from being loss making and historically contracting prices to support deaf people into work often did not cover the actual costs of services. Add to that a recession and you see at both a national and local level deaf employment services shrink or disappear, when ironically they are needed more than ever!

The Work Programme Framework

To add to an already difficult external context the Work Programme pays its Prime Contractors around 20% of an agreed price on registering and supporting a person into work and then the remaining 80% once the person has been in work over 2 years and they pass these financial risk directly on to their specialist supply chain. This model has caused no end of financial anxieties and disasters in the Welfare to Work Industry with many long established main stream and specialist providers and organisations having to fold or shrink and thousands of staff made redundant. Just like everyone else then a deaf sub-contractor, whether they are a charity or social business would have had to invest and risk a huge amount of money to deliver traditional employment services, in fact it would cost over £2million to employ 70 Deaf Employment Advisers and then you need to add on overheads such as premises, infrastructure and resources.

Our challenge then was how to reinvent an employment service that meet the real needs of deaf job seekers while at the same time being able to manage risk and cash flow and offer a delivery model that met the needs of the Prime Contractors. The driver behind the Government’s ‘Welfare Reform’, is the Work Programme with all long term unemployed people, regardless of deafness or disability will be referred onto mainstream providers, who should have specialist support in place as part of their supply chain. Our model for ‘freelance’ CECs allows us to manage the costs of delivery and be positioned in over 100 locations across the UK making sure around 1,500 deaf people get access to services and the opportunity to work and without it clearly the need would not be meet.

Clarion UK awarded

‘Supply Chain Partner of the Year 2013’

Stakeholder Engagement and Focus Group

However it would be naïve to take a new product or service to an extremely demanding market place without first testing the idea. Our stakeholder engagement and focus group involved over 65 individuals spanning various stakeholder groups, such as deaf unemployed people, deaf and hearing professionals working in the Welfare to Work industry, RSLIs, CSWs, Prime Contractors and large disability organisations delivering within the industry. The feedback was all very positive and spurred us on. So with the model defined all that was left to do was recruit our freelance work force.

CEC Recruitment Campaign

The response to our recent CEC recruitment campaign was outstanding! Not just the number of people that came forward with the unique skill sets and background we required but also the calibre of individuals we have met during the interview process and their shared passion to play a part in addressing the employment issues for deaf people. It really was energizing meeting people who really understood the need we were trying to meet, the external and historical context that other employment services were trying to operate in and who had come forward because they also believed our model was a viable approach for meeting the real need; accessible employment services for deaf people. Although not our core interpreting services work, we take standards and quality very seriously, and so all of our CEC’s have had to go through the established checking process that Clarion UK exercises and included for example enhanced CRB checks and working with professional indemnity insurance.

The Future

As the service beds down we will finalise a unique quality, support and development framework that will be required to manage and monitor staff, impact processes and on-going professional development within a new delivery model. We very much hope you recognise what we are trying to achieve and the need we are trying to meet and any feedback, ideas and input from you would be warmly welcomed. Feedback has been a core element for Clarion UK growing and delivering services in the past and has helped us shape what we do, why we do it and how we do it. We look forward to our continued work with our Prime Contractors and deaf jobseekers and sharing with you how it’s going, the impact we are making and even more good news stories.

Click here to read about the experience of deaf clients who have been supported by Clarion UK’s CECs.

Clarion’s CECs explain the work that they do to support deaf job seekers. Click here to read their stories.