William Eichler 03 November 2016

Councils should have responsibility for Work and Health Programme

Councils should have responsibility for Work and Health Programme image

Funding and responsibility for the new Work and Health Programme (WHP) should be devolved to local areas, council chiefs say.

The £130m-a-year WHP—due to start in 2018—is designed to help disadvantaged jobseekers and people with disabilities and health conditions into work.

However, the Local Government Association (LGA) has warned it will be ineffective because either too few jobseekers will be supported by the WHP or they will receive insufficient support.

They said that under the WHP’s predecessor—the Work Programme (WP)—the Government spent £600m per annum but only one in five of the most disadvantaged Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claimants secured a job after two years.

With only a fifth of the funding, the LGA concluded, the WHP is unlikely to be more successful.

Council chiefs, instead, are calling on Whitehall to devolve funding and responsibility for the WHP to the local level.

This, they argued, would allow all local areas to join up employment support with local services, alongside skills and health interventions so jobseekers get the right support at the right time.

In their submission to the treasury ahead of the Autumn Statement, the LGA called for a loosening of DWP control so groups of councils can manage the WHP in their patch.

Cllr Mark Hawthorne, chairman of the LGA's people and places board, said: ‘The Government should recognise that employment support alone is not the answer to help those furthest from the jobs market.

‘The LGA put forward its own proposal to the Government for a devolved, integrated employment support to replace the Work Programme, which we believed would deliver better outcomes for residents than the traditional Whitehall centrally controlled approach.

‘Together with the Government, we consulted councils on how the WHP should work. The clear message was that to be successful it will need to integrate local services, job centres must be required to work with councils and local partners so the right people are supported, and the right locally based contractors are used.

‘Councils are committed to ensure no-one is left behind, but they simply cannot afford to pick up the local costs of long-term unemployment.

‘The Government will spend £10.5bn this year on 20 national employment and skills schemes. It can also no longer afford to spend billions on separate national programmes when there are better more local solutions that can coordinate all local partners in a way which can most appropriately help those most in need of support.’

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Part Time Residential Worker - The Maples

Essex County Council
£20604 - £26801 per annum
Part Time Residential Worker - The MaplesPermanent, Part Time£20,604 to £26,801 per annum pro rataLocation
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Senior Workforce Development Lead

Essex County Council
£30906 - £39168 per annum
Job Purpose Essex County Council (ECC) is achieving transformational change across Adult Social Care and Children and Families Services, underpinned b England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Assistant Director Environment

Doncaster Council
£95,438
We are looking for a strategic and resilient leader to become our next Assistant Director of Environment here in Doncaster. Doncaster, South Yorkshire
Recuriter: Doncaster Council

Interim Finance Transformation Lead

Tile Hill
£700-800 per day outside IR35
Our local authority client in the midlands is looking for an interim with a finance background as part of an improvement journey to review and resh... West Midlands
Recuriter: Tile Hill

Interim Assistant Director Children's Commissioning

Tile Hill
£800-900 per day inside IR35
An interim Assistant Director of Children's Commissioning is needed for one of our local authority clients.  West Midlands
Recuriter: Tile Hill

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue