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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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Get Britain Working
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 !
South West Regional External Relations Manager
Regional External Relations Manager’s Message
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.
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
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.
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
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
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 :
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.
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.
This will start in Jan 2011
initially in targeted areas
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
A number of Work Clubs are
now up and running across
The aim is that Work Clubs
will provide unemployed
people with a place to meet
and exchange skills, share
opportunities, make contacts
and get support to help them
in their return to work. See
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.
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
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.
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.
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
If you are interested in running or supporting a Work Club then more information is available here: Work Clubs
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.
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
This initial stage has gone well , but the real test will come when
people receive their benefit decisions.
Work Capability Assessments Review
The Government recently commissioned an independent review of the
Work Capability Assessment ( WCA) , led by Professor Malcolm
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:
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 :
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.
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
Produced by Jobcentre Plus, Regional External Relations Team South West