The Work Programme
The Work Programme is the mainstream employment programme for the long term unemployed. It is delivered by a range of organisations that span the private, voluntary and public sector. Organisations are given flexibility to tailor their support to meet the jobseeker’s individual needs, rather than having the services prescribed by Whitehall, this is described as a ‘black box’ approach. Most jobseekers are referred to the Work Programme on a mandatory basis after being unemployed for two years but certain groups may enter the programme sooner; this includes prison leavers who if they are claiming benefits will be referred to the Work Programme immediately on release from prison. The Work Programme is a payments by results programme. A report by European Economics released in September 2014 shows that the economic value of the Work Programme is likely to be around £18 billion. More information can be found here.
Work Choice is a voluntary programme delivered by organisations from the private, voluntary and public sector. The programme provides specialist support for those with a disability, impairment or health problem who want to work for 16 hours a week or more. The programme uses a three stage strategy; an assessment is followed by a personalised plan to help that individual into work. Finally, medium to long term support is provided to overcome barriers an individual may face to entering and sustaining employment. A full briefing on the programme can be found here.
ESF Support for Families with Multiple Problems
ESF Families is funded by the European Social Fun and is a voluntary programme aimed at tackling entrenched worklessness. It does this by supporting people with complex needs into the workplace. The programme is aimed at families with multiple barriers and where at least one family member receives DWP working age benefits or no one in the family is working and there is a history of worklessness. More information can be found here.
New Enterprise Allowance
New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) is a programme to support entrepreneurial jobseekers into self-employment . Participants on the programme can receive a weekly allowance whilst trading and can apply for a loan to help with start-up costs. Organisations delivering NEA provide support to develop business plans, provide business mentoring and ongoing support in the early stages of trading. More information can be found here.
Community Work Placements
Community Work Placement (CWP) is a mandatory scheme. Jobseekers that complete the Work Programme without successfully gaining employment will be referred onto one of three schemes under the banner Help to Work. CWP is one of these options; the other two options are daily sign on at Jobcentre Plus (JCP) or more intensive support from JCP personal advisers. Organisations delivering CPW provide jobseekers with a work placement for 30 hrs a week, which can last up to six months. Jobseekers are also expected to spend time on job searching activity. The work placements should be of benefit to the community and will be designed to endure that they do not take the place of paid work. More information can be found here.
Specialist Employability Support
Specialist Employability Support (SES) contracts are now live, having started in September 2015 and running until 2017. DWP anticipates that SES will support 1,700 disabled people each year and support 1,250 disabled people into work over the initial two year contract. The scheme also aims to develop links with Work Choice and Work Programme providers as well as specialist voluntary organisations. SES is provided through six national contracts, four of which are pan-disability (for people with all disabilities), one will specialise in visual impairment and one in hearing impairment. Further details are available in the Written Ministerial Statement, made by then Disabilities Minister, Mark Harper.
Currently ten per cent of employment support provision in Scotland is commissioned via central government; namely the Work Programme and Work Choice. The rest is made up of local provision and the Scottish Government’s apprenticeship programme; Apprenticeship Scotland. The Scotland Bill, announced in the Chancellor’s summer Budget 2015, is devolving future employment support to the Scottish Government.
Jobs Growth Wales is funded by the Welsh Government, with has £25 million of European funding agreed over the next 3 years. The fund supports a six month opportunity for young people under 25 to gain experience in a job paid at least the National Minimum Wage. The fund aims to create 2,900 of these job opportunities by the end of March 2016.
Steps 2 Success is the mainstream employment programme operating in Northern Ireland. It is mandatory for those who have been on Jobseeker's Allowance for two years and offers tailored support for jobseekers. The programme is delivered by prime and local providers, and aims to support jobseekers to reach jobs goals through a ‘Progression to Employment Plan’, which works towards a sustainable employment goal.
The 2015 Queens Speech outlined Government’s intention to extend the Troubled Families programme, funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government. Confirmation followed an announcement made in August 2014 that the payment by results programme, based on a multitude of performance measures, would reach out to more families across the UK. Latest figures released by Government show that 105,671 families with complex needs have received support from local authorities, saving the exchequer an estimated £1.2bn.