March 2009

Information has been published about the type of partnerships that are eligible to bid to provide Fit for Work Services (FFWS). Eligible Partnerships are collections of public sector organisations that together can apply to host a FFWS Pilot in their area (the definition of Eligible Partnership is set out on the website). These Partnerships will be responsible for the development and delivery of FFWS Pilots in their areas and for procuring new services or re-configuring existing services that they want to include in the FFWS in their area.

An additional £8 million to help disabled people remain in work will be made available this year through the Access to Work programme. The extra funding is part of the commitment to doubling the budget from £69m to £138m by 2013/14. More...

The National Social Inclusion Programme closes down at the end of the month. CSIP also slips quietly away and most of its work will be taken up by strategic health authorities and the Deputy Regional Directors for Social Care. To mark the occasion, NSIP has published its ‘Vision and Progress’ report, setting out the programme’s work since the Social Exclusion Unit’s 2004 publication ‘Mental Health and Social Exclusion’.

Ofsted has reviewed its practices and produced a document, Ofsted Inspects, to promote improvement in the services they inspect, improve engagement with providers and users, provide greater consistency and target inspection resources where they will have the greatest impact. It draws on best practice from across Ofsted and sets out the principles of inspection and regulation and the overarching arrangements for all Ofsted inspections including the judgements that inspectors will make.

This report by Dan Finn reviews international experience of the use of differential payments in job outcome performance-based contracting for employment programmes. The report reviews detailed evidence from countries that have made most extensive use of performance-based contracting, with case studies of Australia, the Netherlands, the USA and Great Britain. It assesses how the hardest to help were identified and variations in the use of differential payments and considered available evidence on impacts and how such systems sought to reduce 'creaming' and 'parking'.

The Work and Pensions Select Committee has published its report into the DWP Commissioning Strategy. The report largely focuses on flexible New Deal. While the committee generally welcomed the "black box" approach and longer contracts, it expressed concern about the potential impact on local specialist providers. More...

DWP has published the report into development of a tool for measuring distance travelled by participants of the Workstep programme. The tool is being developed by Northumbria University and a number of BASE members have taken part in piloting it. http://www.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd5/rports2009-2010/rrep566.pdf

DWP are seeking tenders for a range of provision including ESF phase 2, and in-work support in Tees Valley and Tyne & Wear. More...

Over £1.8 million is to be invested in supporting the infrastructure of disability organisations across the UK. Five different organisations are set to share in the cash injection from Big Lottery Fund’s BASIS (Building and Sustaining Infrastructure Support) programme. A total of 119 projects across England now receive £50 million to support third sector infrastructure either on a national or local level. More...

Shadow Minister for Disabled People, Mark Harper MP, has tabled a couple of parliamentary questions regarding the IDEAS programme. They are:

  • To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what links the new specialist disability employment programme will have with (a) local health and social care services, (b) further education colleges and (c) Valuing People initiatives.

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