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Contents: Business Review Work Programme Get Britain Working Universal Credit Incapacity Benefit Reassessment. INFORM – Update 3 Dec 2010 Welfare Reform in the South West . Welcome to the third edition of INFORM.

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Contents:

Business Review

Work Programme

Get Britain Working

Universal Credit

Incapacity Benefit Reassessment

INFORM – Update 3 Dec 2010

Welfare Reform in the South West

Welcome to the third edition of INFORM.

The Government has set out its ambitious programme of reform and transformation. The

introduction of the Universal Credit and the Work Programme, alongside our plans to improve

and personalise the service we offer, will provide significant challenges and opportunities for

Jobcentre Plus. We will become a smaller , leaner and more flexible organisation which delivers more of its services over the telephone and internet.

Following a recent Business Review which examined our management and support structures across the business , it has been agreed that from April 2011 we will move from a network of 11 regions to 7 and also reduce the number of Districts from 48 to 37.

We will keep you updated as and when these changes progress.

Finally, it was good to see so many key partners and stakeholders at the Regional Employment & Skills Board event on 25th November, and as this is the last update in 2010 may I take this opportunity to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year !

Phil Harrison

South West Regional External Relations Manager

Regional External Relations Manager’s Message

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The Business Review

What will the Impact of the Business Review have on Jobcentre Plus?

The Government has set out its ambitious programme of reform and transformation. The introduction of Universal Credit and

the Work Programme, alongside our plans to improve and personalise the services we offer, will provide significant challenges

and opportunities for Jobcentre Plus. We will become a smaller, leaner and more flexible organisation which delivers more of

its services over the telephone and internet.

We have been examining our management and support structures, to ensure that we structure ourselves in the most effective

way to ensure we can deliver the reform and transformation demanded by the Spending Review settlement. There are just

over 5,000 people in these roles, out of our total staffing of over 75,000.

  • The overall aims in this review of structures have been to:
  • Eliminate duplication and re-work.
  • Make a clear distinction between Operational Delivery and
  • Directorate corporate functions.
  • Improve decision-making by having clear accountabilities.
  • Increase autonomy and empowerment, where appropriate.
  • Improve spans of control.

We have completed the work to design the senior level

structure, and are now doing the next level of detailed design.

The changes we’re proposing as a result of this work do not

affect the number of Jobcentres, Benefit Delivery Centres

and Contact Centres; and do not affect the people working

every day with the public.

The main changes are:

We are moving in our Jobcentre network from 11 regions to 7,

and in so doing aligning those new structures to the new

groups in our Benefit Delivery and Contact Centre functions.

We are also reducing the number of Districts from 48 to 37

Districts. We have tried to reduce the variation in District size,

as well as taking into account geography and strategic links

with partners.

In the South West we will be reducing our current four

Districts in the South West down to three.

From April 2011 the three new Districts will cover :

Devon & Cornwall,

West of England & Gloucestershire,

Dorset , Somerset, Wiltshire & Swindon.

This has resulted in the decision to merge the South West

Region with the South East Region (excluding Kent )

We will keep you updated as and when these changes progress.

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The Work Programme

What progress has been made on introducing the Work Programme ?

DWP has recently announced the completion of the selection process for the Employment Related Support Services

( ERSS ) Framework and have made their Award Decision .

A list of organisations who have been successful to become part of the Framework for the Provision of Employment

Related Support Services has now been published on the DWP website.

Framework for the Provision of Employment Related Support Services - DWP

The Work Programme will be the first contract to be called off the Framework and the procurement exercise for this will

commence shortly. The expected ESF programme for 2011-2013 will follow in Jan 2011. Bidders will be encouraged to

work closely with key partners and stakeholders to fully understand the local landscape and to gain an understanding

of the gaps in the existing provision. This will ensure their bids reflect the local dimension and that they arealso joined

up with other local services . As this is key the Regional Employment & Skills Board are hosting a SW Provider Network

event on 10 December in Taunton. Invitations have been sent to all key partners and providers across the region.

If you haven’t received an invitation and feel you should attend please e mail Gaynor Clarke ( see last page ).

What is the timetable for procurement

of the Work Programme ?

DWP will be issuing an Invitation to Tender for the

Work Programme to the successful ERSS

Framework suppliers in December 2010.

The specification for the Work Programme will

not be prescriptive, thereby leaving maximum

flexibility for the bidders to develop innovative

tenders which meet the needs of specific

localities.

The Work Programme will be implemented

nationally by Summer 2011.

What is the eligibility criteria for the Work Programme?

Eligibility for referral to the Work Programme has still not yet been

finalised.

Customers will be offered help and support through Jobcentre Plus

before referral to the Work Programme. The aim is to help people

become better at looking for work and so move off benefit more

quickly and find a sustainable job. We will also look to continue the

drive to focus this support on those who really need it.

Any queries from providers regarding the

Work Programme should contact :

THEWORKPROGRAMME.EXTERNAL@DWP.GSI.GOV.UK

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Progress towards Get Britain Working

To complement the Work Programme a range of additional support is in the process of being developed and introduced.

These extra measures will be available as part of the Get Britain Working initiative and some of these will be targeted

at those areas with the greatest need. Nationally 14 areas have been identified – in SW this includes Devon & Cornwall.

Additional funding will be targeted for Work Clubs, Work Experience , Service Academies & Enterprise Allowance in these

areas. There may be discretion to also offer opportunities in other areas, subject to available resources.

Work Together

This is now available from

day one to all customers and

offers greater opportunities

for them to volunteer in their

local communities whilst they

are looking for work.

JCP are working with a

number of organisations

across the Region to ensure

we promote all available

placements to our customers.

Work Experience

This will start in Jan 2011

initially in targeted areas

only.

This support will help

young people develop the

skills needed to secure a

sustainable job by offering

18-21 year olds a period

of work experience. This

may be extended to 18 -

24 year olds at a later

date.

Work Clubs

A number of Work Clubs are

now up and running across

the region.

The aim is that Work Clubs

will provide unemployed

people with a place to meet

and exchange skills, share

experiences, find

opportunities, make contacts

and get support to help them

in their return to work. See

next page.

Enterprise Allowance

There will be two trailblazers

Running from January 2011 in

Merseyside and Birmingham/

The Black Country to help trial

Enterprise Allowance prior to

role out in targeted areas in

April 2011. Enterprise Allowance

Will offer a structured route for

those wanting to start a

business by providing access to

a range of support ,including

access to a mentor and grants

for those with viable plans to

move in to self employment.

Service Academies

Although still in development these are expected to be available from August 2011and is expected to be a six week

programme which will consist of pre- employment training , work experience placements and a job interview guarantee. This

will be delivered in partnership with training providers and employers with JCP sourcing placements and selecting

appropriate customers.

Mandatory Work Activity

This is still in development but will run in addition to the Get Britain Working Initiatives to help people move

closer to the labour market by providing labour market disciplines around attendance, timekeeping and

carrying out specific tasks. Placements may last for up to four weeks and will be contracted provision.

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Work Clubs

How are Work Clubs progressing in South West ?

Since the launch in October this year we now have over 80 Work Clubs operating across the South West , with many more

planned over the next few months. There are a whole range of different organisations running the Work Clubs , offering help

and support for local people to get back in to work. These include private, public and voluntary organisations such as volunteer

centres, local providers and local colleges. Work Clubs are already being delivered in many different formats, including one via

a virtual facebook.

The basic concept is that Work Clubs will offer unemployed people with a place to meet to share contacts, network, share

ideas, hints and tips in order to support each other through the job hunting process.

They could be set up anywhere in the region, but there will be particular focus on supporting the development of Work Clubs

in areas where the unemployment challenge is greatest.

Who is eligible?

Work Clubs are open to all customers receiving

Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support and

Employment Support Allowance.

Our key target group are unemployed jobseekers

From Day 1of their benefit claim until the point they

are required to participate in mandatory provision i.e.

Work Programme.

Customers will continue to receive their benefit

entitlement whilst attending.

What are Jobcentre Plus doing to support Work Clubs?

Jobcentre Plus are engaging with a range of stakeholders including

voluntary organisations, local authorities, community groups, and

Local employers amongst others, to find suitable prospective

organisers and encourage partnership working to create, develop

and deliver Work Clubs

Advice and guidance will be provided via an internet based

Platform on the Adviser site of the DWP Corporate website.

We will Promote, signpost and encourage customers to consider and

participate in additional support through local Work Clubs

Inform Work Clubs of employers in the area prepared to support

them with regards to offering sessions/workshops, company tours

etc.

If you are interested in running or supporting a Work Club then more information is available here: Work Clubs

slide6

Universal Credit

What is Universal Credit ?

The Government has announced that it will introduce Universal Credit, which will bring together current benefits and credits

into a single welfare system.

Under Universal Credit anyone receiving benefits who moves into work, or works more hours, will be better off because the

reform will ensure that people keep more of their earnings when they move off benefits into work.

Universal Credit will also reduce the complexity of the system, making it easier for people to see for themselves how much

better off they will be in work.

Ministers have made it clear that the system will provide financial security to the most vulnerable members of our society and

the purpose of Universal Credit is not to reduce levels of support.

Under Universal Credit, customers will receive benefit as a single regular payment, rather than being split into, for instance,

Income Support, Tax Credits and Housing Benefit. These changes will not occur until 2013 at the earliest, and we will tell

customers about how this will effect them well in advance.

For more information : Universal Credit: welfare that works - DWP

Who will deliver the Universal Credit ?

DWP will manage the administration of Universal Credit , although full details of how this will work are yet to be finalised.

More information is expected in the Welfare reform Bill due early 2011.

The White Paper also proposed a tougher sanctions regime , including temporary removal of entitlement to benefit for those few

Customers who refuse to comply with the conditions of their benefit. These changes will be applied to existing benefits once the

Welfare Reform Bill is passed – which is expected to be in spring 2012.

When will changes happen ?

It is hoped that the first new claims to Universal Credit will begin from 2013 with it taking four

years to complete the transition from existing schemes.

slide7

Incapacity Benefits Reassessment

How are the Incapacity Benefit Re-assessment trials progressing?

The first stage of the trial is now complete, after all customers in the

trial areas ( Burnley and Aberdeen ) have been sent letters telling them

about the re-assessment.

Also, all 1,700 people in the trial areas have received a phone call from

Jobcentre Plus explaining how the process will work.

The first few customers will also be visiting the local Atos Healthcare

Centres for their Work Capability Assessment, which will determine their

Future benefit.

This initial stage has gone well , but the real test will come when

people receive their benefit decisions.

  • Key recommendations from WCA Review
  • and how DWP will implement them are :
  • To improve the capability and confidence of
  • decision makers in JCP who decide benefit
  • entitlements. This will include reviewing
  • training, developing a best practice forum
  • and improving communication throughout
  • the WCA process so more decisions are
  • right the first time.
  • Make the WCA a more compassionate
  • process, by telephoning the customers to
  • ensure they understand what is happening.
  • Improve face to face assessment conducted
  • by DWP contractors Atos, by putting in place
  • “champions “ with additional expertise in
  • Mental cognitive and intellectual conditions.

Work Capability Assessments Review

The Government recently commissioned an independent review of the

Work Capability Assessment ( WCA) , led by Professor Malcolm

Harrington .

Professor Harrington found that the WCA is the right process, but it is not

working fairly or effectively as it should. The review included a number of

recommendations to improve the fairness and effectiveness of the process.

This is an ongoing process of improvement, and Professor Harrington has

been asked to undertake a second review which will also include increasing

the remit to report on the implementation of this year’s recommendations.

A full briefing is attached for further information :

Where can I get further information ?

Our customers and stakeholders can access

Further information directly through:

Directgov

slide8

Further information

Tell us what you think

If you have any comments regarding this update or indeed would like to raise any issues please contact

Gaynor Clarke on 01823 349514 or

by e mail at :

gaynor.clarke1@jobcentreplus.gsi.gov.uk.

Please note if you do not wish to receive this update or you would like it forwarded to an alternative address , please let me know.

Useful websites :

Right click on link and select “open hyperlink”

The DWP website contains general information about the government’s welfare reform agenda.

DWP website

They have now added a link to What's new

Direct Gov website contains information about all

JocentrePlus Services and the changes which will be happening with regards to customers claiming Incapacity Benefit.

If you would like to keep up to date with the development of the Get Britain Working support then please use the following link. Get Britain Working

Work Capability Reviewlinks to the recent review

IB/IS Reassessment- contains further information on the

project.

Produced by Jobcentre Plus, Regional External Relations Team South West