If an employer or business has several Deaf staff, they may think it is better to have everyone's AtW awards put in one pot together, i.e. pooled.
This may make administration easier, e.g. with all of the bookings going through one agency; or make it possible to have freelance or staff interpreters available in house for all Deaf staff as needed.
However, Deaf people don't always agree that their AtW award should be pooled in this way. For example, they may want to book interpreters directly who meet their specific needs, may not want to go through an agency because they feel they have less control over who is booked, may feel they have less access to interpreters when they need them, etc.
So DeafATW has clarified with DWP whether Deaf people can choose to be part of a pooled scheme or not. DWP have said:
"If the customer feels their currently agreed support isn’t sufficient, they can make a Change of circumstances application through the Contact Centre. They do not need permission from their employer and the adviser would be able to sort out the pooled support issue if there was an impact."
In other words, you can be part of pooled support if you think it is a good idea. But if you think pooled support does not meet your needs, then:
1) You can contact the AtW contact centre and let them know you need to make a change of circumstances application.
2) You need to explain why your current pooled support does not meet your needs.
3) Because your AtW award is an individual award to meet your needs, even if your employer would prefer you were part of a pooled system, they can't tell you that you have to be part of the pooled system.
4) If you have problems with this, your AtW adviser can help sort this out with your employer.
Any questions or problems with this, please contact DeafATW.