A major contract has been awarded to provide employment support for thousands of harder-to-help claimants across 12 London boroughs, LGC can reveal.
Launching next month, the seven-year, £54m programme in central London will combine devolved Department for Work & Pensions funding with European monies.
LGC previously reported how four sub-regional groupings across the capital are due to implement more innovative and localised practices to get disabled people and the long-term unemployed into work, instead of being subjected to a capital-wide, top-down approach from Whitehall.
A total £135m of DWP funding has been devolved to four sub-regions in London (see box below), with a view to helping 55,000 people over the seven-year period. The 12-borough Central London Forward (CLF) sub-regional grouping, is the biggest single part of that. About 21,000 people in the sub-region will receive employment support which is integrated with local council and health services to give personalised support and help people access good quality jobs.
LGC has previously reported how the work and health programme’s annual budget of about £135m is a fraction of the £600m budget of its predecessor, the work programme, and that London has since agreed with the DWP to use up to £65m from the European social fund to help run it.
CLF’s delivery contract has been awarded to employment programme provider Ingeus. According to CLF, the contract has been designed to incentivise Ingeus to deliver services to participants that support improving their health and wellbeing, giving people additional skills or work experience and supporting people in good jobs when they feel able to do so.
Other sub-regions across London are making similar contract awards in the run up to services going live in March.
Ravi Govindia (Con), chair of Central London Forward and Wandsworth LBC leader, said: “We need to ensure that London is a city that works for all and this programme will make a real difference to the lives of thousands of people currently excluded from the labour market by helping them access good jobs on good wages.
“It will also show the ability of local authorities to deliver a genuinely responsive service designed around the needs of our residents to ensure that they receive the right support at the right time.”
Each borough within Central London Forward has produced an integration plan which includes mapping the availability of local services including primary health care, opportunities for co-location so that providers and borough services can work in unison and data sharing. The boroughs will also work closely together to oversee the programme’s delivery and promote best practice.
Barry Fletcher, Ingeus managing director, said: “Together with partners in the local community we look forward to helping central London residents gain the knowledge and independence to create better lives for themselves and their communities through employment.”
Sarah Newton, minister for disabled people, health and work said: “The work and health programme plays a key role in our ambitious plan to help one million more disabled people and people with health conditions in work over the next decade. Working together with our local partners we can help ensure everyone has the chance of reaching their full potential.”
London’s sub-regional groupings for the delivery of the work and health programme
- West London Alliance – Barnet, Brent, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Harrow, Hillingdon and Hounslow LBCs
- Central London Forward – Camden, Hackney, Haringey, Islington, Lambeth, Lewisham, Southwark, Tower Hamlets and Wandsworth LBCs, City of London Corporation, Kensington & Chelsea RBC, Westminster City Council
- Local London – Barking & Dagenham, Bexley, Enfield, Greenwich, Havering, Newham, Redbridge and Bromley LBCs
- South London Partnership – Croydon, Merton, Richmond upon Thames and Sutton LBCs, Kingston upon Thames RBC