September 2013

The Chancellor, George Osborne, has announced that, for the first time, people in long-term unemployment who are capable of work will be asked to work in return for their benefits. Those who have been unemployed for three years or more will be asked to:
* take part in community work placements, such as clearing up litter and graffiti in their local areas
* attend daily signings at the job centre until they find work; or
* participants with multiple barriers to finding work, for example literacy or numeracy problems, will be provided with intensive support to address their problems

DWP has published the latest Work Programme statistics. More than 168,000 jobseekers have escaped long-term unemployment and found lasting work – normally at least 6 months – through the Work Programme, an increase of 37,000 in 3 months, according to the new figures. The figures, which show Work Programme performance up to the end of June 2013, show an improving performance for JSA customers. The statistics show for the first time the outcomes for customers who have been on the Work Programme for 24 months. Of these, 22.5% achieved a job outcome.

DWP has reviewed the market shares of Work Programme providers, based on performance delivered during the 12 months ending 31 March 2013, and adjusted shares accordingly from August 2013. This equates to 5 percentage points of all future referrals to the Work Programme in the relevant payment groups in affected Contract Package Areas being diverted to the higher performing provider from the lowest performing provider.

G4S Welfare to Work has published a policy paper on the future of the Work Programme. The paper, entitled ‘Making the Work Programme work better’, explores the strengths and weaknesses of the Work Programme and sets out recommendations for the next stage of reform in welfare to work. The report argues that while the Work Programme is now performing well, there remain a number of key improvements that could be made to deliver greater value for money and higher levels of job outcomes. Executive summary

Our 2013 Practice Awards were presented at our national conference on 11 September. The standard of nominations was very high and we'd like to congratulate the following winners:

The Government has published its response to the Work and Pensions Committee report,
Can the Work Programme Work for all User Groups
.
Below is a small extract from the response.
To download the full response visit http://www.parliament.uk/workpencom

Options open to DWP in the event of continuing poor performance

Skills for Care has undertaken a project in co-production with Disability Rights UK and the British Association of Supported Employment to look at the recruitment, retention and progression of disabled people within the social care sector. As demand for social care workers continues to grow employers wanting to attract and retain the best possible staff will need to identify and access as wide a talent pool as possible. Disabled workers represent only 2% of the current social care workforce, yet there is plenty of evidence that employing disabled workers is good for business.

DWP has published an evaluation of the Right to Control initiative, a rights-based approach to support and services for disabled people. It brings together a wide range of cross- government funding streams, namely Access to Work, Adult Social Care, Disabled Facilities Grants (DFGs), the Independent Living Fund (ILF), Supporting People and Work Choice, with a view to streamlining the customer experience across these funding streams.