January 2009

The government has accepted a request from the Low Pay Commission to delay an announcement of its recommendations on this year’s rise in the national minimum wage. The Commission was due to publish its recommendations at the end of February but has asked for further time to consider more information on the state of the economy. It will not now report until the beginning of May. More...

DWP has published a summary of the feedback from last December's consultation events. They were posted on the Notice to Providers section of their website on 29 January. More...

The Time to Change national marketing campaign is being launched on 21 January with the first TV ad being shown during the 7.30pm episode of Coronation Street on ITV1. The campaign aims to end mental health discrimination and is being promoted by Mind, Rethink, Mental Health Media and King's College. More...

The Employers Forum on Disability are publishing a guide for line managers in February. Available from 16 February 2009, Reasonable adjustments: Line manager guide aims to make it easier for managers to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people by helping to identify who needs an adjustment, decide if an adjustment is reasonable, and know where to go for more help and advice. More...

Teresa May has replaced Chris Grayling as shadow secretary for work and pensions. Chris Grayling has moved to shadow home secretary following the reshuffle. Ken Clarke returns to the front bench as shadow business secretary. More...

People with learning disabilities will be supported in every aspect of their lives, from housing and health to employment, Secretary of State for Health, Alan Johnson has announced. 'Valuing People Now - A Three Year Strategy for People with Learning Disabilities' is a new vision for improving services for people with learning disabilities across health, housing, employment and community care services. It follows a comprehensive consultation involving more than 10,000 people.

ACEVO and DWP are holding an event to publish the DWP Third Sector Taskforce report on 4 February in London. The event is free and follows work by the taskforce to investigate the potential role for the third sector and to make recommendations to ministers as to how that potential could be engaged. BASE was represented on the Taskforce. The report will be launched by Rt Hon James Purnell MP, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions alongside discussions on the future of welfare to work with the leading figures in the field.

The Minister for Finance and Public Service Delivery, Andrew Davies, has announced that the Welsh Assembly Government has become one of the first public sector organisations within the UK to undertake a tender exercise that is reserved for supported businesses and supported factories. These are companies and organisations where 50% or more of the workforce have disabilities and the reserving of contracts for such organisations is encouraged under European law.

DWP seems to be getting the hang of doing proper impact assessments with a very thorough look at how the welfare reforms might impact on the different customer groups. There's an examination of the Right to Control proposals (page 106). Interestingly, it looks like a whole chunk about "Re-shaping and providing additional funding for the successor to WORKSTEP and other specialist disability employment programmes" has gone missing in the latest version (V3) of the impact assessment. For those who are interested, version 2 is available here (see page 107).

£500m is to be spent on providing recruitment subsidies for employers, financial help for new business start-ups and enhanced training opportunities for those out of work. From April, employers will be able to receive a "golden hello" payment of £2500 for recruiting someone who has been unemployed for over six months.

Pages