New contract mobilisation masterclasses announced!


4OC, with our partner 50 Degrees, have consistently delivered outstanding results for our clients in the Bid Management and Contract Mobilisation space. To date, we have mobilised over £5bn of new government contracts, so you can rest assured that we bring the experience you need.

We make complex change simple. The Welfare to Work sector is an area with which many of us have been closely involved for many years and we have applied what we’ve learned to put a simple framework around what you do. As part of this ERSA conference, we are delighted to have been invited to present our Contract Mobilisation Masterclass, in which we will share our experience of how to win and crucially, effectively mobilise employability programmes.

Join a Contract Mobilisation Masterclass

Get some expert hints and tips to help your next new contract get off to a flying start!

Run by 4OC’s Fran Hoey, an experienced operator and mobilisation lead, this engaging and practical session will cover:

  1.  Planning from the bidding stage
  2. Investment decisions – the balancing of financial v delivery risk
  3. Themes of a successful contract mobilisation
  4. The importance of post go-live stabilisation
  5. Open questions and answers

This workshop is ideal for anyone involved in setting up new programmes, including contract managers, senior leaders and project managers. Fran will be sharing practical best practice and invaluable advice on avoiding some of the common pitfalls (he’s fallen down most of them during his extensive career!).

Join the first in a series of masterclasses as part of ERSA’s Youth Employment Conference on 22 February, register in advance for joining links

ERSA CEO responds to the Comprehensive Spending Review


The Employment Support sector welcomes the announcement of Restart commissioning alongside investment in infrastructure, capital investment, job creation, green jobs, sector-based training, traineeships, and the expansion of the National Careers Service.

We hope the expansion of front-line advisors at Jobcentre Plus will ensure the right people are referred to the right provisions at the right time. The Employment Support sector itself will expand to meet the challenges of future delivery and this work has begun with partnerships and collaborations being developed to increase capacity and to build diverse supply chains that will reach into local communities through knowledge of employers, with local partnerships bringing in the expertise of third sector partners, specialists, local authorities and recognising that health and housing issues will factor into the success of economic recovery.

For the Employment Support sector Restart is a start, we look forward to the details of allocation of ESF reserves and the future Shared Prosperity Fund to provide effective employment support for all.

How does SR20 support jobs?

£3.7 billion of additional funding is allocated to support frontline services and to enable DWP to deliver on July’s Plan for Jobs to support people back into work.

This includes:

  • A new Restart programme to provide intensive and tailored support to over 1 million unemployed people and help them find work in England and Wales, with approximately £400million investment in 2021-22. The first step in a £2.9 billion three-year programme.
  • Investing £1.4billion to build on the Plan for Jobs commitment to increase capacity in Job Centre Plus and double the number of work coaches in Great Britain.
  • Additional investments in Plan for Jobs measures including the Job Entry:Targeted Support and Job Finding Support schemes and the Youth Offer in Great Britain, as well as Sector-based Work Academy Programme placements in England and Scotland.
  • This settlement also confirms a total package of £2 billion, with £1.6billion in 21/22 to continue creating up to 250,000 government-subsidised jobs through the Kickstart Scheme in Great Britain.

UKSPF in Levelling Up:

  • The UK Shared Prosperity Fund will help to level up and create opportunity across the UK for people and places.
  • It will operate UK-wide, using the new financial assistance powers in the UK Internal Market Bill.
  • Funding will ramp up so that total domestic UK-wide funding will at least match EU receipts, on average reaching around £1.5 billion a year. In addition, to help local areas prepare over 21/22 for introduction of the UKSPF, we will provide additional UK funding to support our communities to pilot programmes and new approaches.
  • A portion of the Fund will target places most in need across the UK, such as ex-industrial areas, deprived towns and rural and coastal communities. This will prioritise investment in people and skills tailored to local needs, investment in communities and place, and investment for local business.
  • A second portion of the Fund will be targeted differently to people most in need through bespoke employment and skills programmes.
  • The Spending Review sets out the main strategic elements of the UKSPF in the Heads of Terms. The government will set out further details in a UK-wide investment framework in the spring and confirm multiyear funding profiles at the next Spending Review

ERSA is the voice of Employment Support in the UK. 

Spending Review 2020

The Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak presented his ‘Spending Review 2020’ to Parliament on Wednesday 25 November 2020.

ERSA Launches Report into the Future of Employment Support Post-Brexit

With the general election in full swing and parties laying out their views for the future of the UK, the Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) will today launch a report into the future of the Employment and Skills sector.

The report entitled Sharing Prosperity: Building Better Employment Support for the UK is sponsored by The Salvation Army and Shaw Trust and details how the UK has benefited from European Social Fund (ESF) support.

Over 1.1 million people have gone into work after leaving a programme supported by ESF during the last round of funding (2014-2019) making a big dent in the UK unemployment figures.

The pre-election government led by Prime Minister Johnson committed to a UK Shared Prosperity Fund to be the replacement for ESF.

ERSA, Shaw Trust and The Salvation Army are now asking that all parties make clear what their plans are to replace the money provided by the ESF once the United Kingdom leaves the EU.

The report looks at the specific impact on areas such as young people, skills, health, crime and the disparity between areas of the UK which desperately need funding provided by the ESF.

Commenting on the launch of the report Elizabeth Taylor, CEO of ERSA said, “the next Government must make sure that the employment and skills sector is at the heart of their post-Brexit plan.”

“The UK has benefited from the European Social Fund since it joined the EU over 40 years ago. Organisations supporting people into work across the UK need assurances from all parties that they will not lose any funding in the long, or the short term.”

Rebecca Keating, Employment Plus Director at The Salvation Army said: “This money helps people who desperately want to work but face numerous challenges from poor mental health or lacking up to date job skills.

“We have seen thousands of people in places across the UK turn their employment prospects around thanks to our Employment Plus scheme which is funded by ESF. To cut this funding would be to abandon these people and their families.”

The report also focuses on more than ten case studies from providers who currently receive ESF funding, written by a range of employment support providers.

Chris Luck CB MBE, Chief Executive Officer at Shaw Trust has said: “I welcome this timely report which shows the vital contributions ESF funding makes to people’s lives across the UK. This report offers a clear template for how we can build on the success of the ESF but also how we can, and must, go further in supporting disadvantaged groups that often fall through the gaps of existing state provision.”


Notes to editors

  1. A copy of the report can be downloaded here. 
  2. For further comment, or to arrange an interview with ERSA CEO Elizabeth Taylor please contact Cameron Ball on 07964 663710 or via email at
  3. ERSA’s annual conference is being held in North West London on 27 November with industry leaders, civil servants, and well-known providers. For accreditation please contact
  4. Shaw Trust is a charity helping to transform the lives of young people and adults across the UK.  Our specialist services help people gain an education, enter work, develop their career, improve their wellbeing or rebuild their lives. As a charity we add value to every service we deliver by investing back into the people and communities we support.

    Shaw Trust is one of the largest 25 charities in the UK proving joined-up services for government, local authorities, combined authorities, employers, stakeholders – including the Department for Work and Pensions, Education and Skills Funding Agency, clinical commissioning groups and NHS Trusts – and individuals.

    For more information please visit:

  1. The Salvation Army is an international Christian church and registered charity which has been transforming lives for more than 150 years. Working in 131 countries worldwide, The Salvation Army offers friendship, practical help and support for people at all levels of need. In the UK and Republic of Ireland this work includes more than 750 community churches and social centres.

    Registered Charity Nos. 214779, 215174 and in Scotland SC009359, SC037691. For more information visit the website

  2. The Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) is the trade association for employment support. Established in 2005, for the industry by the industry, it exists to help its members achieve their shared goal: to help people achieve and sustain employment.

    ERSA’s membership is as diverse as the employment support sector itself. Its members deliver a wide range of government-commissioned welfare to work programmes, including the Work and Health programme, National Lottery Building Better Opportunities, ESF, Returners Fund and, Challenge Fund, plus other employment-related services.

    ERSA represents prime contractors, plus a larger number of subcontractors. ERSA’s members are drawn almost equally from the private and voluntary sectors, with a small number of public sector organisations also in membership. It is the diversity of its membership that gives ERSA its strength to speak as the authoritative voice of the sector.

ERSA welcomes latest labour market statistics


ERSA welcomes the latest labour market statistics published today which sees the employment rate at a record high of 74.4% and the unemployment rate at its lowest in over 10 years at 4.9%.

Behind these chart topping figures lies the work of frontline employment support providers who, through the Work Programme alone, have helped over 786,000 individual jobseekers to enter employment – which includes over 190,000 young people and nearly 50,000 jobseekers on Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), many of whom will never have received intensive, specialised support.

However, in the face of growing economic uncertainty and potentially negative impacts on the labour market, the work of the employment support sector will be more important than ever in helping the new government ward against more gloomy releases to come.

Kirsty McHugh, Chief Executive, ERSA, said:

“Latest employment figures continue to show the impact of frontline providers who are working hard to support jobseekers across the UK. The new DWP team must maintain the capacity and the specialism of the employment support market at a greater level than is currently planned to meet any future labour market challenges.”

ERSA’s three priorities for the new Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

ERSA has today welcomed the announcement of a new Secretary of State at the Department for Work and Pensions and is looking forward to working with him and his team to put into practice existing commitments around halving the disability employment gap and full employment. 

However, it warns that the increased level of economic uncertainty is likely to have a negative impact on the labour market and thus both the capacity and the specialism of the employment support market must be maintained at a greater level than is currently planned.

ERSA is calling for the new Secretary of State to focus on the following three items.

  • Prioritise letting of the ESF contracts in line with practice by the Big Lottery Fund and Skills Funding Agency.  Make sure that money which is rightly owed to the UK from the EU during this period of continued membership of the European Union is not lost to the nation’s jobseekers.  Delay will mean that the period for delivery is truncated which is not in the interests of employers, jobseekers or the public purse.
  • Rethink the shape and size of the Work and Health Programme.  The minimum spend announced in the Financial Statement was accepted by previous ministers and officials, plus disability campaigners, as wholly inadequate, particularly given the aim of halving the disability employment gap.  This was going to be boosted, including with ESF. The level of economic uncertainty ahead means that the programme may need to be radically flexed up over the contracts’ life.  The ask is therefore to ensure that additional monies are added to the programme at the outset and that a deal is struck with HM Treasury to make this an uncapped programme, allowing it to be expanded in future.
  • Safeguard the level of social spending lost to England and Wales post European Union exit.  ESF has funded vital programmes at local and national level over many years.  The UK has developed a world class employment support sector.  This needs safeguarding for the future.

Kirsty McHugh, Chief Executive of the Employment Related Services Association, said:

‘The new Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and his team have a substantial challenge on their hands, not just to meet existing commitments around halving the disability employment gap, but also in relation to increased economic uncertainty and potential impacts on the labour market.

In the immediate term, we need ministers to prioritise the letting of delayed ESF contracts and rethinking the shape and size of the Work and Health Programme.  In the longer term, we must help them safeguard spending on vital employment and skills programmes, post ESF.’


New statistics show 731,000 long term unemployed now in work through the Work Programme

Figures released today by the Employment Related Services Association (ERSA), the representative body for the employment support sector, show that the Work Programme has now supported over 731,000 previously long term unemployed jobseekers into the workplace. These figures, for end June 2015, show an increase of 25,000 jobseekers from three months’ ago, with over 4,000 young people finding work on the scheme in the last quarter.

The ERSA Job Start statistics provide the most up to date snapshot of Work Programme performance available in the public domain. They are designed to be read alongside official government figures which show the number of jobseekers who have achieved sustained employment, usually meaning they have spent at least six months in a job.  The Government will release its official statistics on Work Programme performance on Thursday 17 September. 

Key findings from ERSA statistics include:

• 731,000 individual jobseekers have now entered employment via the Work Programme from its inception in June 2011 to end June 2015. 
• Over 178,000 young people have now found at least one job on the Work Programme, up from 174,000 three months before. 
• Overall, 42,345 jobseekers on Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) have now gained work though the programme.  Many of these jobseekers have complex barriers to work and will not have received intensive support before. 

Kirsty McHugh, ERSA Chief Executive, said:

“Since the Work Programme began in 2011, over 731,000 jobseekers have been supported into work through the efforts of specialist frontline advisers operating across the country.

Thousands of young people continue to be successfully helped into jobs, which is vital in the efforts to tackle youth unemployment. This will not only benefit the lives of every one of the 4000 young people starting work in the last three months, but it will positively impact on their wider communities and will reap rewards to the taxpayer in the longer term.’’


Press enquiries should be directed to Sam Windett 07720677477 /

Notes to Editors

1.The Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) is the representative body for those delivering or with an interest in employment support services.  ERSA’s membership spans the private, voluntary and public  sectors and ranges from large multi-nationals through to small specialist charities.  It has over 200 members, including all prime contractors of the Work Programme. The majority of its members are not for profit.
2.The Work Programme is the government’s largest back to work scheme and caters for the most disadvantaged jobseekers in the labour market. Further information about how the programme operates, including the financial model, is available in this Policy Briefing on ERSA’s website.
3.ERSA’s Work Programme Performance Report is designed to provide statistical information on the performance of the Work Programme. It provides information on ‘Job Starts’, the number of participants starting a job on the programme.  
4.The Government’s official statistics on sustained Job Outcomes, jobseekers who have been in work for (in most cases) six months are available here. The latest version of this report, will be released on 17 September.
5. Europe Economics report, The Economic Impact of the Work Programme can be downloaded here
6. Case studies of former jobseekers, frontline providers and employers are available on ERSA’s website. Interviews with ERSA’s Chief Executive Kirsty McHugh are available on request.