Roundup of recent DWP announcements
Plan for Jobs
On Thursday 9 July, the Chancellor presented his ‘Plan for Jobs’ to outline how the government will boost job creation in the UK.
During the Coronavirus pandemic DWP has provided a crucial safety net to record levels of claimants, ensuring our customers receive the support they need. We are now doubling the number of frontline Work Coaches to 27,000 by March 2021. These work coaches will support people looking for work including helping them pivot into new sectors and making sure they access any additional support they need including training and work experience.
We have also announced a significant package of measures that builds on and bolsters the existing support offered by our jobcentres. In this special edition of Touchbase we’re highlighting key parts of the announcement. You can find out more on GOV.UK.
New Kickstart Scheme to support young people in work
A £2 billion Kickstart Scheme will provide high quality, 6 month placements from Autumn this year. Funding available for each job placement will cover 100% of the National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week – and employers will be able to top up this wage.
The scheme will be focused on supporting young people who are on Universal Credit and at risk of long term unemployment. Work Coaches will work with young people to ensure they access the best support package to meet their needs.
Organisations across the private, public and voluntary sectors will be able to apply to create high quality roles to be funded through this scheme.
We will expand the Youth Offer to support 18 to 24 year olds, this will include a 13-week programme and once completed participants will be encouraged to take up work related training or an apprenticeship.
Further support will be provided through the introduction of young people’s hubs where young people can access wider support. These will be co-located and co-delivered with our network of external partners.
For those who need a bit more support, we will also expand the Youth Employability Coaches model. These coaches will focus on young people with more complex needs.
Expanding the Work and Health Programme
The Work and Health Programme in England and Wales will be expanded to provide personalised light touch support for up to 6 months for those who have been unemployed for 3 months. Equivalent provision will also be put in place in Scotland.
We will protect access to the Work and Health Programme for participants with disabilities and health conditions, and early access priority groups.
We are also developing a new large-scale support offer, targeted at those who are out of work for longer periods and in need of support.
£150 million to boost the Flexible Support Fund
This boost to the flexible support fund will allow jobcentres to put in place the right support for their community and to increase capacity of the Rapid Response Service that can be deployed for large local redundancies.
The Flexible Support Fund allows us to provide funding directly to claimants and partners to target support locally and to address claimants’ specific barriers preventing them from returning to work or provide training.
This can include purchasing support to meet one-off needs, for example funding travel to interview costs, equipment or clothing to start employment or paying for replacement adult or child care to enable someone to undertake training, attend interviews or start work.
Sector-based work academies
We’re increasing participation in our sector-based work academies programme, aiming to support 40,000 jobseekers to get the right skills for the roles that are on offer.
The sector-based work academy scheme offers training, work experience and a guaranteed job interview to those ready to start a job. We will establish bespoke opportunities, working with employers and training providers to support claimants to fill job vacancies and pivot into new careers.
Other new measures announced
The Chancellor’s announcement yesterday included a number of other measures, including:
Businesses will be given £2,000 for each new apprentice they hire under the age of 25. This is in addition to the existing £1,000 payment the Government already provides for new 16-18-year-old apprentices and those aged under 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan.
A £111 million investment to triple the scale of traineeships in 2020-21 ensuring more young people have access to high quality training.
Over a quarter of a million more young people to benefit from an extra £32 million investment in the National Careers Service.
A Job Retention Bonus Scheme – a one-off £1,000 payment to employers for each furloughed employee that remains continuously employed until 31 January 2021.
You can read more about the Plan for Jobs 2020 on GOV.UK.
Recommencement of debt recovery
In March DWP temporarily paused the recovery of overpayments for three months. The change meant that customers saw an increase in the amount of money they received and allowed us to move a significant number of colleagues, to roles where they could support the payment of benefits to those people making new claims.
The recommencement of both debt recovery action started on 6 July.
Customers affected will be told of this change through letters or updates in their Universal Credit journals.
Face to face assessment suspension to continue for health and disability benefits
Face-to-face assessments suspended in March 2020 are to remain suspended, but kept under review following a consideration of the latest public health guidance.
As measures are taken across the country to ease restrictions, some review and reassessment activity, which was put on hold because of the coronavirus outbreak, will gradually resume. We will shortly be re-starting review and renewal activity in Personal Independence Payment and Disability Living Allowance, starting with those claims which were already underway when this activity was suspended.
Please encourage your audiences and members not to delay making a claim if they believe they need support, or hesitate to update the department about a change of circumstances. All services remain open and telephone and paper based assessments are in place where appropriate.
DWP improves complaints handling
DWP is improving the way it handles complaints and making it simpler. The change means we can prioritise the most urgent issues and those involving vulnerable claimants. For more information about the new process visit GOV.UK.