The devolved work and health programme has launched in London.
The employment support programme which will provide support for thousands of harder-to-help claimants is to be delivered by sub-regional groups of boroughs across the capital.
Those with disabilities, long-term health conditions, and people who have been out of work for more than two years will be the main focus of support.
Today’s launch of the programmes is the latest milestone in London’s devolution agenda.
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 a seven-year period. DWP’s funding has been matched by European social funds.
Claire Kober (Lab), London Councils chair, said: “In London there are currently 570,000 people who want to work but are not in employment. The disability employment gap has barely moved in over a decade, and now stands at 26.3% in London.
“It is exciting news that London boroughs working together in sub-regional partnerships have their contracts in place and are now launching their programmes. We hope that delivering tailored employment support that meets local needs will start to have a real impact on people’s lives.”
By devolving to four sub-regions, London Councils said this allows greater flexibility in the way the programme is run in different places. For example it said the groupings in central, south, and west London have created different payment models which encourage providers to support people into roles that pay the London living wage which is currently £10.20 per hour.
Jules Pipe (Lab), deputy mayor for planning, regeneration and skills, said: “Far too many disabled and vulnerable Londoners face barriers when looking for work. The London work and health programme can give them support to realise their potential, and will make a real difference to thousands of people’s lives.
“Delivering this support more locally will allow easier links with other local services, meaning Londoners get the right support at the right time. This is yet another example of cities and their local government being best-placed to identify and meet the specific needs of their residents.”
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
WHP contractor: The Shaw Trust
- 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
WHP contractor: Ingeus
- Local London – Barking & Dagenham, Bexley, Enfield, Greenwich, Havering, Newham, Redbridge and Bromley LBCs
WHP contractor: Maximus
- South London Partnership – Croydon, Merton, Richmond upon Thames and Sutton LBCs, Kingston upon Thames RBC
WHP contractor: Reed in Partnership