New poll shows mixed public priorities for ‘Levelling Up’

Research published today by Seetec, an employee-owned business group, shows that, although the public is aware of the Government’s ‘Levelling Up’ agenda, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has a job on its hands to articulate what this agenda means for local communities.

A YouGov poll of 1,496 adults across England, commissioned by Seetec this week, found that 62% of the public had heard of the phrase ‘Levelling Up’. When asked what they thought the Government’s priorities should be in ‘Levelling Up’ across England, the most common results were: ‘Improve public health and wellbeing across all regions’ (46%); ‘Improve quality of life’ (38%); and ‘Increase job opportunities’ (37%).

When asked what measures would extend opportunity and prosperity in their region, most respondents focused on employment and skills support: ‘Work with employers to develop sector-specific employment support schemes to address labour shortages’ (28%); ‘Increase support for the long-term unemployed to find work’ (27%); and ‘Focus on reskilling opportunities’ (24%).

However, when asked what they thought was the most important priority for investing additional funding to ‘Level Up’ communities in England, the most common response was ‘Don’t know’ (21%). The next highest responses were to ‘Increase access to employment opportunities’ (15%) and ‘Skills training opportunities for those leaving school’ (10%). This indicates that employability and skills provision remain important to people as the economy recovers from the pandemic.

In terms of skills support, when asked which one area the Government should target as part of the ‘Levelling Up’ agenda, to deliver a more highly skilled workforce, the top responses were ‘Apprenticeships focused on industry need’ (21%) and ‘Traineeships focused on direct job opportunities’ (13%). However, 24% selected ‘Don’t know’, again underlining the need for the Government to engage with the public regarding its plans.

Commenting on the YouGov findings, Joel Charles, the Director of Policy, Communications and Public Affairs at Seetec, said:

“These results show that, whilst most of the public have heard about the ‘Levelling Up’ agenda, there is still a debate to be had about what this should mean in practice. Nonetheless, our polling results show public support for prioritising improvements to health and wellbeing, quality of life, and also increased access to skills and employment opportunities in their communities.

“The policy intent to tackle imbalances and inequalities within the regions of our country should be welcomed, but the Government must now put more meat on the bones of its vision to realise the ultimate goal of ‘Levelling Up’ communities as a key plank of the Prime Minister’s own domestic agenda. 

“The Government has clearly got a big communications job to reach these communities and explain its plans in the coming months. That’s why we’re calling for nation-wide public campaign to be launched to explain the Government’s priorities for ‘Levelling Up’, and to work more closely with local political and business leaders to boost growth, increase the regional skills base and help more people achieve their life ambitions.”

This polling data comes as Seetec has published its recommendations for delivering on the levelling up agenda, ahead of the Government’s expected White Paper. Seetec is calling for the Government to launch a nation-wide campaign to explain the ‘Levelling Up’ agenda and what it means for communities. The employee-owned business group believes the Government should undertake a nation-wide consultation with the public and business to better understand their priorities for ‘Levelling up’ their regions.

Seetec is also calling for the Government to give more powers to Metro Mayors to address skills and labour market challenges, and to support long-term jobseekers and disabled people to find and achieve sustained employment at a local level.


Notes To Editors

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. The total sample size was 1,496 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 12th – 15th November 2021. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all adults in England (aged 18+).

For a copy of the full results please contact:

The full list of Seetec’s recommendations to Government are as follows:

  • Create a ‘Levelling Up’ panel to oversee delivery of the White Paper’s policy intent and the funding to realise these ambitions – consisting of representatives from the Government, Local Government leaders, major regional employers in key sectors, skills and employability experts and infrastructure specialists: Greater collaboration between national and regional leaders is needed to agree the governance and funding arrangements necessary to realise the ambitions of the agenda. The panel terms of reference and membership could be agreed by the end of January 2022 to kick start the development of a detailed plan to carry forward the recommendations included in the White Paper. 
  • Launch a skills and labour market intervention scheme linked to specific sector need in the regions: The Government could work with employers in key sectors, Local Government and skills and employment providers to develop plans for a more longer-term interventions programme above what is already in place, specific to each of the regions, to address skills shortages to service local economies.
  • Set out a plan for a new devolution ‘Levelling Up’ deal for the regions in England: Work with the Metro Mayors, in particular, to agree new enhanced powers to address skills and labour market challenges hampering economic growth that are linked to their own plans. The new deal could also include measures to support long-term jobseekers and disabled people to find and achieve sustained employment at a local level.
  • Launch a nation-wide campaign to explain the ‘Levelling Up’ agenda and what it means for communities and sectors driving growth across the country: The Government could undertake a nation-wide consultation with the public and business to learn more about their priorities for the ‘Levelling Up’ agenda as YouGov has found that 62% of those polled in England have heard of the phrase. Although there is high recognition of the phrase, the Government needs to do more to engage with communities to explain what the agenda means for their community.  
  • Commit to publishing the ‘Sector Visions’ plan by the first quarter of 2022 to set out how the Government will work with industry to ensure the ‘Levelling Up’ White Paper meets the future workforce needs to boost growth and productivity in every region: To add momentum towards the recovery from COVID-19 and strengthen the direction of travel expected in the ‘Levelling Up’ White Paper, the Government’s ‘Sector Visions’ plan could be developed rapidly to set out how both can work in tandem to address the lack of opportunity in certain parts of the country to access training and be empowered to compete for more highly skilled jobs to meet demand in sectors that are growing.

About Seetec

Seetec is an employee-owned business group committed to supporting an economic and social recovery from COVID-19 that is built around the principles of inclusion and opportunity. Its vision is to create an inclusive society where individuals, employers and communities across all the regions of the UK and Ireland can thrive and fulfil their potential.

Originally founded in 1984, Seetec is a leading provider of employment, skills, justice and social care services. In 2020, Seetec supported 125,000 people through its Employability and Health, Irish, Justice and Skills business divisions:

  • Interventions Alliance, which works within the criminal justice system and social care sector, delivers evidence-led solutions that aim to help people build better futures and wellbeing. The business division recently opened five new Co-financing Organisation (CFO) Activity Hubs across three English regions to support individuals to continue on their rehabilitation journeys as they build a better future, turning a corner away from their criminal past. Part-funded by the European Social Fund, the CFO Activity Hubs in Manchester, Warrington, Liverpool, Bristol, and Chatham, with satellite provision at St Leonards-on-Sea, offer additional support to individuals transitioning from a formal criminal justice setting.
  • Its Employability and Health division is, through Seetec Pluss, a prime provider of the Government’s Work and Health Programme and the JETS (Job Entry Targeted Support) Scheme which is targeted at helping those who have lost their jobs during the pandemic. Pluss, an award-winning independent Community Interest Company that provides specialist support to inspire people of all abilities to achieve work and a career, forms a key part of this division too. It is a social enterprise working to ensuring nobody is left behind in our society. In April, the Government announced that Seetec Pluss had been awarded a prime contract (4a South West) and now also has four subcontracts to deliver the Restart Scheme, which helps Universal Credit claimants who have been out of work for at least 12 months to find sustainable employment. Over the life of the Restart contracts, Seetec Pluss expects to support up to 166,000 people across the prime and four subcontracts.
  • The Skills division offers adult education budget (AEB) opportunities, apprenticeships and traineeships. Through its new strategy, the division aims to provide a wrap-around service in regions to support individuals, communities, sectors and businesses to succeed. Last year the division launched Innovion, backed by leading engineering, manufacturing and technology businesses, to deliver high quality technical training and apprenticeships.
  • Seetec Ireland delivers Job Path, the Irish Government’s main job activation programme which supports the long-term unemployed to achieve their work ambitions across Dublin, West, North and North West, Midlands and North East regions. The business division was also recently certified as a Great Place To Work, receiving a 77% satisfaction score in a Trust Index Survey of 183 employees.

The business group currently holds an Ofsted inspection rating of ‘Good’, it is B Corp certified and has achieved the Gold Investors in People Award which only the top seven per cent of accredited organisations across the UK receive. With a workforce of over 2,500, it has an Employee Council and an Employee Trustee Director within its employee ownership structure, who support and work with the senior leadership to influence the direction of the business group which is committed to delivering first-class public and related commercial services.

For more information visit or follow Seetec on Twitter: @SeetecInspire

New Director joins Fedcap Employment

Amanda Cullen new director for the Restart Programme at Fedcap Employment

LEADING employability charity Fedcap Employment has appointed a new director to spearhead its work on the new Restart Scheme launching this summer.  

 Amanda Cullen will lead Fedcap Employment’s delivery of the Restart Scheme in South Central. The scheme will support more than 100,000 unemployed people across Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Surrey, West Sussex, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, find fulfilling employment over the next four years. 

Amanda brings a wealth of experience delivering public services, having recently worked at Sodexo where she has held senior roles, including leading the South Yorkshire Community Rehabilitation Company. She has an extensive background in large-scale contract mobilisations, the re-design of public services and creating evidence-based solutions to make a positive, lasting impact. 

On her appointment, Amanda said: “I am delighted to be joining Fedcap Employment, especially at such an exciting time for the charity. We are at the heart of the country’s economic and social response to the coronavirus pandemic and our services will play a huge role in so many people’s lives. 

“I’m looking forward to working with our experienced frontline teams and our trusted partner network to ensure we deliver best-in-class service to every person with whom we work, providing them the skills, knowledge and confidence to get back into work and have fulfilling careers.” 

Brian Bell, Chief Executive of Fedcap Employment, said: “Amanda is an experienced director, well versed in delivering community programmes and will be a tremendous asset to our executive leadership team.” 

Fedcap Employment launched in 2019 and has supported more than 13,000 customers on their journey towards a better career. It currently delivers a range of funded employability programmes across England and Scotland. 

Fedcap Employment is part of The Fedcap Group, which has more than 85 years’ experience in developing innovative, sustainable solutions and creating measurable changes for individuals in need. 

For more information on how Fedcap helps communities across Britain, visit


For more information, please contact Matt Needham on 07838 156 413 or email  

Notes to editors: 

  • Fedcap Employment is part of The Fedcap Group, which has more than 85 years’ experience developing innovative, sustainable solutions and creating measurable changes for those who are disadvantaged.  
  • The Fedcap Group have tremendous results in breaking down barriers to societal inclusion and financial well-being working with more than 250,000 people each year. 
  • The Fedcap Group and Fedcap Employment work to help businesses meet their objectives and Corporate Responsibility goals.  
  • Fedcap Employment delivers the Intensive Personalised Employment Support programme in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Surrey, Sussex, Wiltshire, Hampshire, South West, Avon, Somerset and Gloucestershire. ​ 
  • Fedcap Employment currently delivers the Links to Work programme in Leicestershire and Links to Work M3 programme in Surrey and the Hampshire borders.  
  • Fedcap Scotland is the majority owner of StartScotland, which delivers the Fair Start Scotland service in the East, North East and South West of Scotland.  

Fedcap to deliver the Restart Programme in South Central England with partners

In partnership with DWP logo

Fedcap Employment been chosen by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to deliver its new #Restart programme across the South Central area of England, covering Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Surrey, West Sussex, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. The programme will support people who have been unemployed for between 12 to 18 months.

To help us deliver this programme we’ll be working with Palladium: Make It PossibleGet Set UKWhitehead-Ross Education and Consulting Ltd and Portsmouth City Council who are all passionate about making a real genuine difference to people’s lives and their communities.

We would like to wish all delivery organisations all the best in helping the UK economy recover.

To get in touch with Fedcap please email 

For more information on the restart programme see

Ingeus awarded Restart contracts in Greater Manchester and Central & West London

Ingeus logo

Ingeus UK is delighted to announce that we have been awarded new contracts to give Universal Credit claimants who have been out of work for at least 12 months enhanced support to find jobs in their local area. Part of the government’s Plan for Jobs to help millions of people across the country who have been directly impacted by coronavirus (Covid-19), the new Department for Work and Pensions Restart scheme will commence in June 2021.
We will deliver Restart to help more than 260,000 people in Greater Manchester and Central & West London. Our locally integrated programme will deliver tailored support to individuals in partnership with an expert supply chain, employers, local government and specialists, breaking down any employment barriers that could be holding them back from finding work.
Ingeus UK Chief Executive, Fiona Monahan, said, “This is a significant contract award for Ingeus and allows us to widen our employability services to help more people find meaningful, lasting work, providing the extra support they need during these difficult times. The award of two contracts further establishes Ingeus UK as an industry leader in employability services, reaffirming our successful model for working collaboratively with customers and communities to embed local, personalised services which enable better lives and help businesses thrive with talented workforces. Our team have worked incredibly hard to get to this point; and we all look forward to working with the other Prime providers, our partners and colleagues as part of the collective effort to deliver the government’s Plan for Jobs”.
APM Group Chief Executive, Michael Anghie, said, “We’re delighted to be extending our employability services to even more customers in the UK. Together with our partners, we have a critical role to play in helping the UK’s economic recovery through supporting people into work and helping businesses with their recruitment needs. We look forward to working with our partners and stakeholders to deliver the new Restart programme”.
Restart creates new opportunities for us to widen our team and network of partners. If you are interested in joining our mission to enable better lives in a new role, please visit our careers pages to apply for our latest vacancies, or if you would like to discuss how your organisation can support Restart, please contact

For more information on the restart programme see

Seetec Pluss wins Restart in South West England

In partnership with DWP logo

Seetec Pluss is delighted to have been awarded the Department for Work and Pensions Restart contract for South West England (CPA 4a).

Restart is a brand-new government programme that will support thousands of people who have been out of work and claiming Universal Credit for at least 12 months to build confidence, skills and find work. It is part of the Government’s wider ‘Plan for Jobs’ to help people who have lost their jobs as a result of COVID-19 to get back on the road to recovery.

Launching on 28 June 2021, our Restart programme will empower 106,000 people over the next four years to break down any barriers that might be holding them back from finding employment.  The scheme will provide up to 12 months help for each participant.

Our employment advisors will work closely alongside each individual to get to know their aspirations, strengths and develop a personalised package of support, tailored to both individual and local need.

Support will include regular one-to-one coaching, pro-active job search including CVs and interview preparation, vocational qualifications and 24-hour access to an online portal packed full of job search resources, vacancies and e-learning. We will also offer immediate digital support to anyone who needs to build their digital skills by providing training, equipment and connectivity, so they feel motivated to engage with online job search and related activities.

Seetec Pluss and a supply chain of local, expert end-to-end and specialist delivery partners will be delivering Restart across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Bristol, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire. Working closely with local government, local enterprise partnerships and employers, we will integrate Restart with existing employment provision to identify gaps, growth sectors and align services to emerging local need.

Our employer services team will also build on our relationships with over 11,000 employer partners across key sectors, securing new employment opportunities for our participants.

Chris Harrison, Executive Director of Employability and Health at Seetec, said, “We are proud to have been awarded Restart to help thousands of people across South West England to get back into sustainable work and rebuild their lives.

“The last year has had an unprecedented impact on the jobs market, leaving many people who have lost their jobs feeling vulnerable and anxious about the future. Restart will play a fundamental part in the nation’s recovery and we feel privileged to play such an important part in helping local people, their families and communities build back the security that makes such a difference.

“For Seetec Pluss, Restart is about collaboration and working together with our local partners and employers. Through our extended reach across a range of support networks, we aim to empower many more people to transform their lives. This is exactly what we are here to do.”

Minister for Employment, Mims Davies MP said, “Our Plan for Jobs is already delivering fresh hope and new opportunity across the country after the impact of the pandemic on our labour market. The new Restart programme will give over a million jobseekers the crucial tailored support they need to get back into employment as we push to build back better.”

Want to join us to make a difference?

If you would like to partner with us on Restart, we’d love to hear from you. Please contact us on

If you would like to come work for Seetec Pluss to help people rebuild their lives, please visit

About Seetec Pluss

Seetec Pluss’ mission is to empower people in work, life and wellbeing. Every year we support over 6,000 people to move towards and into work and fulfil their true potential.

We operate throughout Southern, Eastern and North West England delivering a wide range of employability and health programmes on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions, European Social Fund, National Lottery Community Fund and local government.

Seetec Pluss is part of the Seetec Group that supports over 150,000 individuals each year through additional programmes funded by the Skills Funding Agency (such as apprenticeships), Ministry of Justice (Transforming Rehabilitation) and various local authorities.

For more information, sector jobs and an interactive map of Restart Provision see

DWP Announcement: RESTART Programme winners and their CPAs

Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) logo

We have run a call off commercial process from the Commercial Agreement for Employment and Health Related Services [CAEHRS] using robust procurement methods to select providers to provide the highest quality employment services to participants, ensuring the contracts achieve the best value for money for the tax payer.

Competition Results

Four of the Restart bidders were successful and have been awarded two contracts, these are: Ingeus, Maximus, Reed in Partnership and Serco. All other successful bidders have been awarded one contract each area, these are: Fedcap Employment, G4S, Jobs 22 and Seetec Pluss.

We are delighted to be supported by the voluntary sector and SMEs either in delivering Restart both as prime providers or as an integral part of the supply chain. These organisations will be essential in delivering locally tailored services, as well as offering specialist support to participants who require extra provision. The DWP will continue to work with these organisations alongside prime providers to ensure the success of the program and support the employment sector.

The DWP is looking forward to working closely with the employability market through the lifetime of the Restart programme to ensure the success of the programme and to deliver the vital work needed in the employment sector for the public. The services will go live from June 2021 with the first referrals in July 2021.

Minister for Employment, Mims Davies MP said:

“Our Plan for Jobs is already delivering fresh hope and new opportunity across the country after the impact of the pandemic on our Labour market. The new Restart programme will give over a million jobseekers the crucial tailored support they need to get back into employment as we push to build back better.”

Breakdown of Winning Bidders by Lots

Restart winners and their CPAs

“Huge congratulations and all power for the times ahead to the many successful contract winners and supply chain partners set to deliver Restart. In what promises to be the busiest time in our sector’s history, the need for quality employment support has never been greater.”

Elizabeth Taylor, ERSA CEO

View an interactive landscape of Restart provision

ERSA will collate a list of the successful organisation supply chains as they are announced and facilitate a range of events and activities to support the sector. 

Finally, ERSA would like to congratulate all successful bidders and their partners, especially our own members who represent the majority of winning contracts.

For further information, see here.

Create your own future’ free employability platform


Within the employability sector scalability matters – and so too does timing! So, in response to current circumstances, we’ve decided to make our employability solutions platform, ‘Create Your Own Future,’ available to everyone, for free.


This cutting-edge platform helps participants through the journey back to work and/or in developing a long-term sustainable career. The platform features an Artificially Intelligent video mentor to guide and personalise the participant’s experience, align their skills, interests and strengths to matched job profiles as well as guiding them towards free Levels 1 and 2 skills training.

Goal setting and an action plan together with thoughtful behavioural nudges from the mentor coax the participant towards goal completion and employment outcomes, when their confidence or activity drops. TUC’s unionlearn contributed to the development of this version of the platform and can, through union learning representatives, provide human support.

Check out a quick video here to get a flavour of the user’s experience.

Access the tool yourself and direct as many participants as you want here.

Those registered on the platform by 31st March will not be charged a registration fee.

The system is designed to work alongside live, one-to-one interventions, though it can be used stand-alone. The platform can be customised to help advisors and their clients, filling the gaps between live 1 to 1s and offering 24-hour support for those who need it most. So please, use it and spread the word!

For the future, we envision refining, adapting and developing the platform in partnership with like-minded people and organisations who are committed to developing solutions for the good of all in our community. So please reach out with any feedback, comments, thoughts or suggestions

For more information:

We’d love to hear from you, so if you have any questions or comments, please get in touch at:

Or visit our career adaptability learning hub:

Join the conversation:

Twitter | LinkedIn

Full specification released for Restart Programme

Update 6 January: DWP have advised that they have uploaded a number of new documents to the Virtual Data Room (full ITT pack) including the areas for evaluation, evaluation process and instructions to bidders.

Message from the DWP, sent via the eProcurement system, Jaggaer on Friday 18 December.

Hopefully you will already be aware of DWP’s new £2.9 billion Restart scheme, due to launch in Summer 2021 which is due to support over 1 million Universal Credit customers towards employment.

As part of our drive to maximise transparency across our provider market and stakeholder network we are making our commercial tender documentation including the specification, draft contract terms and conditions and other competition details available to all organisations operating in the market, interested parties and key stakeholders.

We hope this will help any potential subcontractors to better understand the service we are looking for and support collaboration across the market and allow stakeholders understand the scope of the service and requirement for local integration and the support we are seeking for our customers on provision.

If you are interested in accessing the documents, for information-only purposes, related to the Programme you can do so through the Department’s Jaggaer procurement tool.  If you do not already have an account please download and follow the instructions here. Once logged into the system, to access the Virtual Data Room, please select the File Sharing icon on the left hand side menu and select Files and Directories from the subsequent expanding menus. You will then be able to access the Virtual Data Room by selecting ‘Restart Virtual Data Room’.

Please note we will not be inviting comments or questions on these documents and should you ask questions please do not be offended when we do not answer them.

Commercial Agreement for Employment and Health Related Services

Restart Programme

Open opportunities

How the Restart scheme will work

See original post on 

As more information is known, we’ll add details here

The government’s Plan for Jobs is helping millions of people across the country who have been directly impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19). We know that those who have been out of work for longer periods might need extra help to move back into employment.

The new £2.9 billon Restart scheme announced at the Spending Review on 25 November 2020, will give Universal Credit claimants who have been out of work for at least 12 months enhanced support to find jobs in their local area. Restart will break down any employment barriers that could be holding them back from finding work. Providers will work with employers, local government and other partners to deliver tailored support for individuals.

Over 3 years of referrals, Restart will benefit more than 1 million Universal Credit claimants who are expected to look for and be available for work but have no sustained earnings. The scheme will provide up to 12 months of tailored support for each participant. Early access can be considered on a case by case basis where conversations with a work coach suggest this is the most appropriate route for the individual.

Commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), Restart will be delivered across England and Wales in 12 different Contract Package Areas. Providers on DWP’s refreshed Commercial Agreement for Employment and Health Related Services framework (CAEHRS) will be invited to bid. The providers and their delivery partners, including specialist charities and small and medium-sized enterprises, will complement the vital work of Jobcentre Plus with extra expertise, investment, innovation and additional capacity for intensive support.

Bidders will need to show how they will tailor their offer to local conditions in the Contract Package Area and work closely with employers, local government and other service providers to identify skills gaps and growth sectors and complement the wider landscape of support. Bidders’ plans to do this will be evaluated at bid stage and incorporated into contracts.

Through regular contact with all participants, providers will develop a strong understanding of individuals’ employment history, skills, aspirations and support needs to develop the right package of support to help each participant succeed.

For some this might be bespoke training to take advantage of opportunities in a growth sector or to succeed in a major recruitment exercise, for others it might be support to get the right certificates to take up a job in a different industry such as construction or transport or to update skills such as IT.

We want to ensure all participants are given the best support to find employment. Restart will be the first DWP employment programme procured with a customer satisfaction measure built in from the start as an integral part of performance management. DWP has designed robust Customer Service Standards with contractual force which will ensure:

  • regular contact with all participants using a variety of methods and channels
  • a personalised offer for all participants, tailored to individual and local need

Alongside these protections to ensure that all participants receive regular, personalised support, Restart will use a balanced Payment by Results model. Providers will be incentivised to help as many people as possible into sustained employment: the more people they help, the more outcome payments they will receive.

DWP will work with providers to ensure the scheme is in place as quickly as possible while building on its long experience of successfully delivering large scale schemes. The commercial process will start in December 2020. DWP expects contracts to be awarded in Spring 2021, with go live in Summer 2021.