The Public Accounts Committee has published its report Preventing fraud in contracted employment programmes. The report was conducted following allegations of potential fraud and poor service from employment programme clients and whistleblowers. The report's conclusions are: * The Department has not exercised sufficient oversight of its contractors to identify potential fraud and improper practice. * The Department's recent investigation into A4e did not establish whether the company was a 'fit and proper' contractor.
A report from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) underlines just how important small firms are to strengthening the economy, tackling unemployment, and taking on people who are shut out of the labour market. Launched at the Liberal Democrat conference, the report: Back to work: the role of small businesses in employment and enterprise, shows that each year small and medium sized businesses take on around 1.3 million unemployed and disadvantaged people. In contrast, large firms with more than 250 employees hire less than 130,000 on average.
The application process for this year’s Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs in the UK is now open and full information is available at www.lcdisability.org/stelios
This award is being sponsored by Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the entrepreneur best known for founding easyJet. The creation of the Award was motivated by Stelios’ goal of not only supporting disabled entrepreneurs, but also raising awareness of the skills and inventiveness of those with disabilities.
In order to apply and be in with a chance of winning £50k for your business, you must meet the following criteria:
WISE, the Welsh Initiative for Supported Employment, is set to close its doors after providing supported employment services in the Swansea area for the last 27 years. The service will close on 26 September and says that changes brought about by the introduction of the Prime Providers and the tendering processes have been instrumental in WISE being unable to continue the exceptional service it has provided over the past 27 years.
Esther McVey has made a ministerial statement about Fulfilling Potential, the developing disability strategy. "I am pleased to announce that later today we will publish two documents as part of our disability strategy, Fulfilling Potential. These set out how the Government will work in partnership with others to enable disabled people to achieve their aspirations and play a full role in society.
A study by Manchester Business School's Institute for Innovation Research has concluded that the Work Programme appears to be inadequate as a framework for service innovation. It concludes that "a better strategic alignment between government’s welfare reform strategy and locality commissioning could stimulate innovative services for all claimants in spite of austerity". This is a case study of the UK government’s Work Programme procurement process between 2011 and 2012 and is part of a larger Manchester Institute for Innovation Research Project on Public Procurement and Innovation.
Sarah Teather, Minister for Children and Families has issued a written ministerial statement to announce publication of draft provisions to improve the support provided to children and young people with special educational needs, and to their parents. The text is as follows: