Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Archive for the ‘Employment Programme’ Category

Government shakeout of welfare to work: what will it mean for benefit claimants?

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Image result for work and health programme

What they didn’t mention on above…

Thousands of jobs to go in government shakeout of welfare to work sector The Guardian (just now).

“The sector is said to be preparing for a ‘bloodbath’.”

Funding to shrink by 75% from March when work programme is replaced by much smaller work and health programme.

Thousands of experienced employment coaches are expected to lose their jobs over the next few weeks as ministers trigger the first stage of a massive shakeout of the government-funded welfare to work sector that will see it shrink by 75%.

The employment services industry is preparing for what one insider called “a bloodbath” as the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) moves to replace the work programme with the much smaller work and health programme.

Background (from here).

In the November 2015 spending review the government announced that the current work programme, due to end in March 2017, will be replaced by a ‘work and health’ programme.

Currently central government, through the Department for Work & Pensions, delivers the current work programme, which is a universal programme for the long-term unemployed. That has run for nearly five years and it will continue to run now until 31 March 2017.

The aim of the new Work and Health programme is to shift the focus from what might be termed “orthodox unemployment” to people with physical and psychological barriers to employment.  The work and health programme therefore will focus on the very long-term unemployed – two years-plus of unemployment – as one element of the client group and then another element, the health element, will be those citizens that have health barriers.

Localism, integration and devolution are significant factors in the development of the new Work & Health Programme. The government is specifically talking about co-design and co-commissioning with certain authorities: Manchester, London, Sheffield, Tees Valley, the North East, Liverpool and the West Midlands, relating to devolution deals.

Then (October)

DWP have today published more details about its commissioning model for its new Umbrella Agreement for the provision of Employment & Health Related Services (UAEHRS), the framework through which it will appoint providers for the new Work & Health Programme, as well as other potential DWP contracts.

The UAEHRS will account for £1.77 billion of DWP spend on contracted provision over 4 years, although it is not clear how much of this will be allocated to the Work & Health Programme. The UAEHRS will be divided into 7 Lot areas, based on Jobcentre Plus operational boundaries, namely: Central England, North East England, North West England, Southern England, Home Counties England, Wales, and a national England & Wales Lot. It is not clear from this whether or not the two co-commissioned Work & Health Programme areas, London and Manchester, are included under the UAERS arrangement. It is equally unclear whether or not the proposed Lot areas will also be applied as the final Contract Package Areas for the Work & Health Programme.

Only 5 providers will be accepted onto each regional UAEHRS Lot, although this may be extended if there is a tie-break for fifth place. Providers securing a place on two or more Lots will automatically be included within the national England & Wales Lot. The competition to select providers onto the UAEHRS will test providers against a number of criteria, including economic and financial standing, previous contract performance, supply chain management, service integration, implementation, delivery challenges, and stakeholder engagement. At the time of writing, the UAEHRS competition documents have not yet been released. This is, however, expected imminently, with a response deadline of the 9th November. Full details can be accessed at dwp.bravosolution.co.uk.

More details:

Documents seen by the Guardian reveal that seven of the 15 work programme prime contractors, including big private sector names such as Serco and Maximus, have not made it on to the initial shortlist for the new scheme.

The work and health programme shortlist, which is to be officially announced next week, begins a process in which the remaining eight work programme firms will compete with three new entrants for just six new regional contracts.

The final outcome, expected when contracts are awarded in late spring, could result in some firms being forced to abandon the market, or diversify into other contracted out public service areas, such as criminal justice or apprenticeships.

“This decimates the welfare to work industry. It represents the unravelling of nearly 20 years of unemployment support experience,” one industry insider told the Guardian.

Work coaches provide long-term unemployed clients with help to acquire a range of employment and life skills designed to increase their chances of finding work, such as CV writing, IT skills and literacy, as well as liaising with potential employers.

Thousands of work coach jobs are expected to be lost. “This means large job losses among really experienced frontline advisers, the majority of which are in charities,” said Kirsty McHugh, the chief executive of the Employment Related Services Association.

The work and health programme is expected to start in the autumn and aims to provide specialist support for long-term unemployed people, especially those with health conditions or a disability.

Funding will be about £100m a year over four years. This is about a quarter of the current annual spending on the work programme, which closes at the end of March, and work choice, which will continue for a few months longer.

This is the bit which we’re particularly interested in.

The work programme – which was launched in 2011 by the then secretary of state for work and pensions, Iain Duncan Smith – achieved mixed results and was fiercely criticised for the low numbers of disabled and chronically ill people it succeeded in supporting into work.

It was also dogged by controversy over alleged misconduct by work coaches, and the high salaries earned by top executives. Emma Harrison, the founder of A4E, was criticised for paying herself dividends of £8.6m in 2011, on top of a £365,000 annual salary.

Harrison, who had a brief spell as former prime minister David Cameron’s “families tsar” sold her personal stake in A4E to Staffline group in 2015 for a reported £20m. The relaunched company, PeoplePlus, is shortlisted in all six work and health programme areas.

Industry insiders expressed surprise that Maximus – which has gained notoriety as the provider of the DWP’s controversial “fit for work” tests – failed to make the shortlist as it had been seen as one of the best performing work programme providers in terms of getting long-term jobless people into sustainable jobs.

Much as we may weep at the fate of coachies and ‘providers’ we note an absence of information on what this latest scheme will mean for people who’ll be obliged to be on it.

Will there still be obligatory  ‘volunteering’, work ‘placements’ (free labour for  employers and the ‘voluntary sector’) and the rest of the rigmarole?

Will the usual ‘courses’ be on?

We have no idea whatsoever.

Cameron’s Plans Mean Poverty Assaults More People.

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David Cameron has vowed to devote much of his time in office to “an all-out assault on poverty”, in his speech to the Conservative Party conference.

The prime minister, who will stand down before the next election, said he wanted to tackle “deep social problems” and boost social mobility.

He also announced “dramatic” planning reforms to increase home ownership.

Reports the BBC. 

David Cameron’s assault on poverty doesn’t extend to the homeless.

13,850 households were accepted as homeless between April and June of this year.

Ryan Maynes.

It should be no surprise to anyone that the escalating issue of homelessness was barely mentioned during four days of rhetoric and self-congratulation at the Conservative party conference.

With the Tories having overseen the most savage cuts to the poorest in society in a generation, it was inevitable that homelessness would indeed be on the rise in Britain, and off the agenda of the Conservative Conference 2015.

….

The number of people sleeping rough in Britain has risen 55 per cent since the Conservatives came to power in 2010, with London seeing the highest increase.

….

Factor in the cuts to housing benefits for 18 to 21-year-olds, and the lack of a plan to tackle this crisis, and it may be a foregone conclusion that this increase is going to continue. Many more people will be sleeping rough in the capital and elsewhere over the course of this parliament.

Homelessness is clearly not high on the Conservative party’s agenda, and their attacks on welfare and housing have only confirmed this. Yesterday David Cameron promised an, ‘all out assault on poverty’, but his track record so far suggests that homelessness does not come under this remit.

Instead, Cameron launched his proposal to build 200,000 new starter homes, intended to ease the housing crisis. While this will help – insofar as there will be more homes in the country – it will have no impact on those in poverty.

The homelessness charity Shelter has suggested that only those households earning over £50,000, or £70,000 in London, will stand a chance of buying these houses. And of those on the new living wage in poorer areas? Only 2 per cent will find these new homes affordable.

Walking around Ipswich many people are struck by the number of people begging, saying they are homeless.

It is the same in many cities and towns, though I doubt if it’s the case in Cameron’s Constituency, Witney, Oxfordshire:

Tory conference: Cameron’s ‘assault on poverty’ pledge belied by new figures.

David Cameron’s promise during his address to the Conservative party conference that “an all-out assault on poverty” would be at the centre of his second term is undermined by a report that reveals planned welfare cuts will lead to an increase of 200,000 working households living in poverty by 2020.

The findings, published on Thursday by the Resolution Foundation, appear to contradict the prime minister’s vow to devote the second five years of his premiership to creating a “Greater Britain” marked by social reform, real equality and less racial discrimination.

In a speech that was clearly designed to respond to Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Labour leader, Cameron sought to position his party as the dominant force on the centre ground of politics. The prime minister argued the best way to tackle the deep roots of poverty lay in getting people into better paid work.

The Conservatives, Cameron said, must live up to their great traditions of social reform and be the right party “for those who work hard, want to get on and want more money at the end of the month”. Insisting Britain was on the brink of something special, he claimed “hope is returning and we are moving into the light”, allowing the Conservatives to be seen as the “party of the fair chance, the party of the equal shot”.

But the new research by the Resolution Foundation – now chaired by former Conservative minister David Willetts – suggests the government’s welfare cuts introduced in the budget in a bid to cut the deficit will drive at least 200,000 working households into poverty under a definition that the government is abolishing.

These are the key points:

A further 200,000 children (predominantly from working households) will fall into poverty in 2016 simply as a result of the tax and benefit measures announced at the summer budget, including the increases in the national minimum wage.

The total number of working households in poverty will have reached 2 million in 2020.

The summer budget measures will lead to income falls of more than 4% in the bottom fifth of earners, contrasting with income rises of 4% for the top third.

The number of children in poverty in working and non-working households is estimated to reach up to 3.9 million by 2020. This is 1.2 million higher than the 2016-17 baseline and 600,000 higher than was projected for 2020 prior to the budget.

As the writer indicates:

Cameron made no direct mention of George Osborne’s controversial plans to cut tax credits, which will mean a loss of £1,000 for 3 million of the lowest-paid workers.

As for Iain Duncan Smith’s plans to get the disabled into work this is in the news today……

Too fat to work’ man has ‘collapsed with mini-stroke’ weeks after starting first job in four years.

Mirror. 

A man who claimed he was ‘too fat to work’ has collapsed just weeks after starting his first job in years, it has been claimed

Stephen Beer, who has high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes, has suffered a mini stroke and is in hospital, according to The Sun.

Wife Michelle, 43, said he was “not well, but improving”.

 

British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy Opposes Mandatory use of Psychological Therapies in workfare programmes

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Iain Duncan Smith Adviser tries out Therapy for Jobseekers.

Thanks to Enigma:

The BACP (British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy) issued this statement this week.

 

This, however, still stands:

Campaign against introduction of psychological therapies into Job Centres

MARCH ON STREATHAM JOB CENTRE – FRIDAY 26TH JUNE, 1.30 pm

MEETING POINT: STREATHAM MEMORIAL GARDENS, STREATHAM HIGH ROAD/ STREATHAM COMMON NORTH, LONDON SW16

STREATHAM JOB CENTRE PLUS: CROWN HOUSE, STATION APPROACH, LONDON SW16  6HW

* A pilot project to bring CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) into Job Centres starts at Streatham Job Centre Plus in June 2015.

* In the same month, Lambeth “Living Well Hub” for Community Mental Health Services is due to open in the same building.

*Mental Health Resistance Network is unhappy with these developments which are part of the government’s brutal “back to work” agenda.

*Mental Health Resistance Network has called a demonstration which will march on Streatham Job Centre on Friday 26th June.

*Mental Health Resistance Network is circulating an open letter to relevant individuals, charities and professional organisations stating our position and asking them to join us in our condemnation for these developments.

 

The text of the open letter is as follows:

Mental Health Resistance Network is organising a demonstration to take place at Streatham Job Centre Plus on Friday 26th June 2015, protesting against the opening there of Lambeth’s principal community mental  health centre  (“Living Well Network Hub”) the following Monday.

Streatham Job Centre also, from June 2015, hosts the first pilot of the DWP’s scheme to provide psychological therapies – specifically Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) – at Job Centres for people suspected of having mental health problems. This is the first of ten pilot schemes in advance of a national project planned to begin in January 2016.

We are calling on you/ your organisation to state your position on these issues, and we hope join us in our condemnation of these developments.

As mental health service users, we are extremely unhappy with these developments. We deplore the government’s brutal “back to work” agenda, which is a front for cutting disabled welfare benefits for the most vulnerable. Mental health service users are understandably terrified of Job Centres and the threat of losing their benefits through Sanctions, or degrading and unfit-for-purpose Work Capability Assessments. With the main point of access to Community Mental Health services in Lambeth on the 3rd floor of a Job Centre, many of us will feel too frightened to ask for the help and services we need, and lose contact with services altogether.

Mental health service users are already reporting higher levels of fear, anxiety and anguish as a result of the increasingly difficult welfare benefits system, which is linked to an increasing rate of suicides. This situation will be exacerbated by the new developments.

We should not be put under pressure to look for work unless we feel capable. The competitive, profit-driven and exploitative nature of the modern workplace is not suitable for people whose mental health is fragile. But the location of the Network Hub at Streatham Job Centre put us under such pressure if we try to use mental health services.

Experts agree that CBT does not work for everyone; that psychological therapies are ineffective if they are forced on people; and that they need to take place in safe, unthreatening environments. We do not think making people have CBT at Job Centres will make anyone magically “fit for work.” We are concerned that people will be Sanctioned (i.e. have their benefits stopped) if they do not co-operate with this “therapy” either out of principle or because they are not well enough. “BACK TO WORK THERAPY” IS NO THERAPY AT ALL!

Additionally, we are concerned that this amounts to an extension of the coercive powers of the 1983 Mental Health Act amended 2007. Whereas at present people can only be forced into “treatment” under in-patient Sections of this Act or by Community Treatment Orders, making welfare benefits and by extension housing conditional on agreeing to psychological treatment broadens the principle of compulsion.

We condemn the involvement of  IAPTS in this attempt to make people undergo “therapy” at Job Centres, which we believe goes against professional ethics. We are also unhappy that psychiatrists, occupational therapists, nurses, social workers and other mental health professionals are also expected to work at Streatham Job Centre, again compromising their professional ethics, and we call on individual staff and collective agencies representing them to publicly oppose this development.

For more information contact:

mentalhealthresistancenetwork@gmail.co

Iron Man Challenge with Iain Duncan Smith.

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Tories auction off an Iron Man challenge with Iain Duncan Smith (10th February).

Super-rich guests at the event in London last night were invited to bid on lots including an Iron Man challenge with Iain Duncan Smith, an early morning jog with Nicky Morgan, shoe shopping with Theresa May and a roast chicken dinner at home with Michael Gove.

Hedge-fund kings, City tycoons and captains of industry were among the 1,100 guests paying between £500 and £1,500 a ticket for the bash at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel.

Mail.

The eagle-eyed newshounds of the Ilford Recorder give more details,

The secretary of state for work and pensions offered the opportunity for the lucky winner to join him for an “action-packed” race at the gala evening at the five-star Grosvenor House Hotel in Mayfair last night (Monday).

Guests paid up to £15,000 for a table at the event, with the party auctioning off items including a shoe-shopping trip with home secretary Theresa May, budget papers signed by chancellor George Osborne and a bronze statue of Margaret Thatcher.

A description of the Redbridge MP’s entry read: “Feeling adventurous? Join Iain Duncan Smith in this mini Iron Man style ‘Endeavour’.

“This 10km course will be action-packed, suitable for endurance race veterans or competitors who are looking for a challenge.

“You will encounter hills, woods, streams, hedges and hay bales as you seek the finish line in a bid to beat your team mate.”

I was just at the Dentist.

Reading Town and Country I learn that in the posher parts of London it’s £7,000 per square foot for flats and homes.

I might get me a half a foot out of a year’s JSA.

For reasons that are hard to explain Ipswich Unemployed Action was not invited to the  Grosvenor House Hotel.

But in Town and Country I notice this this delightful Valentine’s gift.

I shall send it to Iain Duncan Smith in appreciation for all his hard work.

 

A Million Unemployed with no Welfare.

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A million unemployed people receiving no government help into work, councils warn

More than a million unemployed people are falling through cracks in national work schemes that are failing to reach some of the most vulnerable jobseekers, councils warn today.

Latest employment figures released in December show that the number of unemployed people not claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance has passed one million for the first time.

This means many of the hardest-to-reach jobseekers, such as young people or those with complex needs, are not receiving any government help into work with national schemes too focused on getting people off benefits rather than helping them into a job.

The challenge is growing rapidly, with a 28 per cent increase in the proportion of unemployed people not claiming benefits in the last 18 months.

The Local Government Association (LGA) said councils are being left to pick up the pieces to prevent more vulnerable people slipping further into long-term unemployment and disengagement.

I am not so sure about this,

Councils are warning that they cannot afford to continue resolving the failings of these national schemes in their communities without the appropriate funding. The LGA is calling for the next government to commit to devolving all nationally-run, education, skills and employment schemes to local areas so councils can join-up services to support their most vulnerable residents.

A report published today by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR), commissioned by the LGA, explores in detail how a sample of councils across the country have provided a safety net for their most vulnerable and hardest to reach residents.

Working with employers, charities and voluntary groups, schools, colleges and housing associations, local schemes have provided one-to-one mentoring, training, work placements and apprenticeships. Specialist advice and guidance also supported people’s wider needs such as housing and childcare, critical to helping people get a job and keep it.

The schemes have had success with helping some of the hardest to reach residents into work, such as lone parents, ex-offenders and disabled people which has contributed to reductions in the number of young people not in employment, education or training (NEET), lower re-offending rates and less use of health and social services which helps save millions of pounds from the public purse.

The reason I am not sure is that I note that Indus Delta, the mouthpiece of the ‘Welfare to Work’ industry seems keen to highlight the report.

No doubt out of the pure disinterestedness of the business.

Written by Andrew Coates

January 17, 2015 at 11:00 am

Take the Jobseeker’s Psychometric Test (DWP approved).

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We make no apologies for having shamelessly ripped this off from Britain’s leading investigative journal, the Daily Mash,

“UNEMPLOYED? The Department for Work and Pensions’ psychometric test uses advanced science to work out why you’ve utterly failed as a human.

Try it, for fun and also because if you don’t all your money will be stopped forever and you will die.

The DWP Psychometric Test for Jobseekers

Which of these statements best describes you?

A. Diligent, honest, reliable.
B. A feckless cider-swilling parasite suckling at the rancid teat of the bloated welfare state.

Which of these sets of random words do you find most appealing?

A. Love. Friendship. Family. Happiness.
B. Commission. Only. Telephone. Sales.

What do you find more sexually arousing?

A. Imagining having sex with attractive Hollywood actors like Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie.
B. Stacking cardboard boxes.

At a party, are you:

A. Outgoing and always the centre of attention.
B. I do not go to parties because I do not deserve to have fun.

Which challenges do you look for in a job?

A. Solving problems in a creative way as part of a team.
B. Quickly cutting off your trapped hair before the machine pulls your head in.

You are walking in the desert when you see a tortoise stuck on its back. What do you do?

A. Help the tortoise by flipping it over.
B. Help the tortoise by signing it up for a great job-hunting course run by a training company that really cares.

Do you find it easy to connect with others on an emotional level?

A. Yes. I am good at sensing what other people are feeling.
B. Emotions are for the weak.

Which of these statements best describes Iain Duncan Smith?

A. A vindictive mediocrity who can only get hard by taking things away from people.
B. A wise, charismatic leader whose baldness in no way reduces his sexual charisma.

How did you do?

Mostly As – Your are a happy, creative person with a positive can-do attitude to work – especially work in windowless warehouses where the air smells of hot chemicals and you get shouted at a lot.

Mostly Bs – As above.

Equal amounts of As and Bs – As above. ”

 

IUA says: this may give the DWP some useful tips!

Written by Andrew Coates

September 18, 2014 at 11:25 am

Tackling Long-Term Unemployment: Workfare Touts Surface.

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Timed to coincide with the launch of the ‘Help to Work’ programme in April 14, this seminar will explore what we know about those who become very long term unemployed (three years or more), what works in supporting them into employment, and why it works.

The event provides an opportunity to hear first-hand from the Department for Work and Pensions about the government’s support for jobseekers who have completed the Work Programme; and from Ingeus and Natcen about the delivery and evaluation of the government’s trailblazers for this group. The seminar will be supported by local case studies from Solent and Greater Manchester, and expert analysis  from a range of speakers.

Attendees will leave with a greater understanding of the long-term unemployed, alongside practical ideas and recommendations for “what works” in getting this group back into the labour market. There will also be an opportunity to network with policymakers and practitioners working in this field.

Date: Thursday 1 May 2014

Location: DTG Venues, Vauxhall, London

Click here for the draft programme

And what do we find?

 

Who will you hear from?


Department for Work and Pension representative, Chris Guest, will outline the government’s approach to supporting jobseekers who have completed the Work Programme without finding work. The seminar will also explore lessons from the ‘support for the very long-term unemployed trailblazers’ with Dr Vincent Pattison of Ingeus, delivery partners for the Community Action Project in the East Midlands; and Nilufer Rahim of Natcen, official evaluators of the trailblazers. Presentation from Andrew Dean of Exeter University will examine international approaches to what works in tackling long term unemployment. The day will end with a look at case studies of individual approaches and area-based approaches in Solent and Greater Manchester.

Confirmed Speakers

Mat Ainsworth
Head of Learning, Skills and Work, Salford City Council
Andrew Dean
Marchmont Observatory, Exeter University
  • Denise Edghill, Head of Skills and Regeneration, Southampton City Council, Solent Jobs Fund
  • James Foss, Head of Employment Services, St Loye’s Foundation
  • Chris Guest, Labour Marker Strategy, Department for Work and Pensions
  • Dr Vincent Pattison, Head of Policy and Research, Ingeus
  • Nilufer Rahim, Senior Researcher, Natcen

 

Event Price:

 Non-supporter (Private sector) – Entire event, +£210.00