May 2009

The Department of Health has unveiled a new medical ‘fit note’ to replace the current ‘sick note’ and help more people stay in work rather than drift into long term sickness. A twelve week consultation is being held on its design. The new ‘fit note’ will enable people to get the best possible advice about staying in work, and if they can’t work what their employer can do to help them return to work sooner.

The Office of the Third Sector is hosting an information seminar in central London (2nd June) for third sector organisations that are interested in bidding to the Future Jobs Fund. Advice and guidance will be provided about the bidding process and other support that may be available for bidders. All bids submitted by 30 June 2009 will be considered for the first allocations of funding to enable the first jobs to begin in October or earlier.

The Government prevented the creation of around 10,000 jobs when it refused to extend the deadline for regions to apply for £630m of EU funding say the Liberal Democrats. The report in Yes Minister says that the EU offered to extend the deadline for regional bodies to apply for money from the European Regional Development Fund, but the Government failed to take up the offer. Both the Scottish and Welsh Governments accepted the extension of the applications period and will be eligible for funding that could create and sustain thousands of new jobs.

This evaluation report summarises the responses to the consultation on the proposals for college, work-based learning and next step inspections from September 2009. Ofsted undertook a wide-ranging consultation on the proposals for new inspection arrangements for the further education and skills system. The consultation included the publication of a consultation document and a formal three-month online consultation process.

DWP is writing to all providers of Workstep and Work Preparation asking for specific information on staffing numbers across each of the new contract package areas. The questionnaire is designed to get information for TUPE purposes. Workstep providers are also being asked for details of any financial arrangements with employers. BASE encourages all providers to complete these forms on time and to carefully consider who might be covered by TUPE regulations. The information is to be returned to DWP by 4 June.

The Office of the Third Sector (OTS) will be running a new project on Social Return on Investment (SROI) to be taken forward over 2008-2011. The Measuring Social Value project will be run by a consortium led by SROI UK, with New Philanthropy Capital, New Economics Foundation, Charities Evaluation Service and National Council of Voluntary Organisations as members. As part of the project, a new guide for Social Return on Investment (SROI) has been launched at the government’s Social Enterprise Summit.