ERSA (the Employment Related Services Association) and GUAC (Give Us a Chance Consortium) have launched a joint manifesto which seeks to make the case for the greater involvement of social housing in employment support.

The manifesto, launched at the annual GUAC House of Commons reception yesterday in front of Employment Minister, Esther McVey, and Shadow Employment Minister, Stephen Timms, makes a series of recommendations for implementation following the 2015 General Election.  The manifesto calls for: 

1. Action to make it easier for social housing providers to take on publicly funded employment contracts;
2. An increase in the co-ordination and integration of services to support social housing tenants; and
3. Support to increase the capacity of social housing providers to provide good quality employment related support to their residents.

In addition, the manifesto recognises the specific role social housing can play in employment support.  Social housing providers tend to have strong relationships with their residents; may have particular expertise in relation to working with certain social groups, such as homeless people; plus enjoy large scale purchasing power which can be used to influence their suppliers, ensuring they create opportunities for residents such as apprenticeships.

The release date of the manifesto is also timed to coincide with government thinking on future employment contracting post the current round of employment support contracts.

Kirsty McHugh, Chief Executive of ERSA, said:

“Too many social housing tenants remain unemployed.  It is therefore in all our interests to maximise the amount of support available to individuals and communities struggling to find work. We could see a step change in the collaboration between the social housing and employment support sectors, but we need government to play its part to make it happen.”

Kate Shone, Chair of the Give Us a Chance Consortium, said:

“Social housing has been at the forefront of much innovative practice in employment support, but we can as a sector do far more. The recommendations in this manifesto are aimed at helping release the potential of social housing providers, meaning more tenants find or create work.”