Devolved employment support programme launches in south London
A new Work and Health Programme that aims to help residents secure sustained employment and benefit from the social and economic benefits of work, launches in south London today.
The £14m programme is being delivered in Croydon, Kingston upon Thames, Merton, Richmond upon Thames and Sutton by Reed in Partnership, after the budget was devolved for the first time from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to develop, procure and deliver localised versions of the programme until 2023.
The Work and Health Programme - Better Working Futures, focuses on helping people with disabilities or health conditions, the long-term unemployed and other local priority groups into jobs. Reed in Partnership were appointed to deliver the programme in south London after Croydon Council led the commissioning work on behalf of all five boroughs.
Residents will be offered one to one advice and support from a case worker to help them overcome what for some, are complex barriers to employment. The support delivered by Reed in Partnership will be integrated with existing local services offered by the councils both individually and alongside other local partners. This will ensure local expertise is drawn upon when helping with matters such as basic skills, training, health, housing and English for speakers of other languages.
The programme is part-funded by the European Social Fund and the devolution deal has allowed all five boroughs to commission a service provider that best meets the needs of their residents.
Councillor Stephen Alambritis, leader of Merton Council and chairman of the South London Partnership, said:
“I am delighted that from today The Work and Health Programme - Better Working Futures, will begin to help some of the 75,000 south London residents who are currently either long term unemployed, have health problems or disabilities, or face other difficulties, back into jobs.
“The delivery of this vital programme will make a huge difference to our residents’ lives and the tailored support will ensure individual needs are met and real changes are made to each person’s circumstances. Through devolution we will be able to integrate the support from Reed in Partnership with other programmes across our area, to deliver even better for our residents.”
Councillor Kevin Davis, Leader of Kingston Council said:
“It is important that people who are returning to work after some time are offered the right help and advice so that they can be re-employed. The new partnership with Reed will help the five boroughs work closer together to support people back to work and enable them to be more financially independent."
Sarah Newton, minister of state for disabled people, health and work, said:
“Everyone should be able to go as far as their talents can take them at work, and we are determined to provide extra tailored support to those who need it. The Work and Health Programme plays a key role in our ambitious plan to help one million more disabled people and people with health conditions into work over the next decade. Working together with our local partners we can help ensure everyone has the chance of reaching their full potential.”
For more information about the Work and Health Programme - Better Working Futures visit BWFsouthlondon.co.uk