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All councils within the government's eight employment zones are bidding to be the first to run flagship welfare to ...
All councils within the government's eight employment zones are bidding to be the first to run flagship welfare to work prototypes.

Employment minister Andrew Smith last month invited bids from eight regions with high unemployment, of which five will be selected to pioneer the government's anti-unemployment initiatives.

The zones are Birmingham, Doncaster, Glasgow, Plymouth, South Teesside, North-West Wales, Liverpool and Wembley. The government will consider one bid per region.

The employment zones are intended to design and implement innovative schemes to get long-term unemployed into suitable work or training, with partnerships between different agencies. The Employment Service must be a partner in all proposals.

Mr Smith's office has said ministers want to test local approaches within the limits of existing legislation, as flexible pooling of money voted by Parliament for separate uses is not currently possible.

Doncaster and Wakefield MBCs made a joint bid. Doncaster partnership officer Roger Ransom said there was a strong focus on developing local labour markets to help participants move out of supported work.

Liverpool City Council and Sefton MBC also joined forces, as did the South Teesside councils, Middlesbrough BC and Redcar and Cleveland BC, with the Teesside Training and Enterprise Council as lead partner.

Isle of Anglesey CC took the lead in a joint bid from North Wales authorities, comprising Gwynedd CC, Conwy CBC and Denbighshire CC.

Birmingham City, Glasgow City and Plymouth City councils have all also bid.

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