The Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) new Work and Health Programme is being commissioned to improve employment outcomes for people with health conditions or disabilities and those unemployed for more than two years.
The Work and Health Programme provides an opportunity for local providers to collaborate and create positive futures for local people, their families and their communities. Focusing on ability rather than disability or time out of work, we make a difference.
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Working Links have been helping the government design and develop programmes like this since 2000 and we’re widely recognised internationally as a best-in-class employability provider.
Throughout the commissioning process we will be sharing our latest thoughts ahead of the Work and Health Programme, so please bookmark this page.
We're on the framework
We are pleased to announce that we have been successful in getting on the Department for Work and Pensions' (DWP) umbrella framework for the provision of Employment and Health Related Services in three areas:
This means we can now bid to run the Work and Health programme in those areas, and any other DWP provision they commission in the future in those areas.
And although we did not get onto the framework for the two other lots we submitted bids for – in Home Counties and Central England – we are now considering subcontracting opportunities in those areas.
This is a great opportunity for us and a successful start to 2017. Our bid team is now busy working on the Work and Health bids which will be submitted in the coming months.
A busy November
Earlier in November we submitted our response to be an approved provider on the Department for Work and Pensions' (DWP) Umbrella Agreement for the provision of Employment and Health Related Services (UAEHRS). The UAEHRS is the framework through which the DWP will appoint providers for the new Work and Health Programme, as well as other potential contracts, over the next four years.
It has been confirmed that the UEAHRS is divided into seven geographical lots: Central England; North East England; North West England; Southern England; Home Counties; Wales; and a national lot covering the whole of England and Wales. As we currently understand it, announcements to successful providers are expected in December.
Following the recent Autumn Statement, we also now know that the budget for London and Greater Manchester will be devolved by the government to the two areas, subject to them meeting certain conditions, including on co-funding.
For Scotland, contracted employment support will be devolved to the Scottish Government so is not included in the UAEHRS framework. We are continuing to monitor developments and are engaging with key stakeholders in preparation for future contracts, as we look to build on our significant experience in Scotland.
Alongside managing our submission to be an approved supplier on the DWP framework, we have held a number of partner engagement events and thank all of those who have attended – both current suppliers and those who have expressed interest in working with us in future.
The events have proved really useful and allowed us to talk more about our understanding of the Work and Health Programme, and the opportunities for local providers to collaborate to create positive futures for local people, their families and their communities.
European Social Fund success
Working Links are delighted to have been awarded the contracts to deliver the Department for Work and Pensions’ European Social Fund (DWP ESF) programmes in the six regions of: Dorset, Leicestershire, Wiltshire, North East, D2N2 (Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire) and Northamptonshire.
Set to commence in the next few months, these programmes are a really positive step for Working Links ahead of the new Work and Health Programme. We know from experience that we can deliver outcomes for people with multiple and complex barriers, particularly when we join up with holistic community-based services.
World Mental Health Day
On Monday 10 October the World Health Organisation recognises World Mental Health Day. We know that people with mental health problems experience a number of barriers to getting into, and staying in work. And over the past 16 years, Working Links has provided specialist support to many of these people.
Commissioning for local skills and employment
The Employment Related Service Association (ERSA) has launched a helpful guide to support commissioners in local authorities with new employment and skills powers. You can download the guide on the ERSA website.