Tomorrow’s People has a long history of influencing the development of the Welfare-to-Work market and highlighting the value that private and voluntary sector organisations can contribute to the development of services. The charity bases this on its experience of what works best when supporting unemployed people from disadvantaged communities on their journey into sustained employment.

Experience from our 26-year history has shown us that to be truly influential, it is best to join forces with other like-minded bodies.  We believe that before the creation of ERSA, the employment support sector lacked a representative voice which specifically focused on Welfare-to-Work  matters, and we were delighted when a new body, with members representing a range of providers, was set up to provide both  focus and influence.

Tomorrow’s People is proud to have been one of the founding members of ERSA, and we were delighted when our CEO, Debbie Scott, was appointed ERSA’s first Chair. In my capacity as an ERSA Board member, I try to continue the good work started by the ERSA pioneers, with an added mission of making sure that the voice of small and medium sized providers is factored into ERSA’s strategy.

Since ERSA was created, this collective voice of providers has been given more consideration by Government. This has materially influenced contractual terms and the shape of delivery and payment models, culminating in the ‘black box’ approach being adopted by the Department of Work and Pensions as part of The Work Programme.

This ability to influence, alongside the high quality and timely information delivered by ERSA team, and the business benefit that Tomorrow’s People achieves from being able to  engage regularly  and network with key individuals across the sector, has, in my view, made the ERSA fees a worthwhile investment.

I am confident that for small and medium sized organisations, ERSA membership opens doors at many different levels. It also provides large organisations with access to the views of large and small organisations from across the sector, thus helping them prepare for the inevitable delivery and supply chain management challenges. For all Members and Associate Members, ERSA provides breaking news and an interpretation of all aspects of the Welfare-to-Work market, and the new website will be a one-stop access point of information, providing all players in this market with a valuable source of information and informed opinion.

I would therefore encourage every organisation operating in the sector to join ERSA. In fact, I can’t understand why there isn’t a queue to join!