February 2009

The Health and Safety Executive’s work-related stress website has been relaunched. As well as advice and guidance on managing stress at work, the site now provides access to the brand new self assessment tool for line managers to test their stress management skills. HSE’s stress pages provide a one-stop source of advice and guidance on managing stress at work, offering tailored information for different roles within an organisation - including directors, HR managers, line managers and individuals.

The Social Exclusion Task Force, in partnership with the Department of Health, Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, Department for Work and Pensions, Department for Children, Schools and Families and the Office for Disability Issues are issuing a short Call for Evidence to inform the Learning Disability Employment Strategy, which will be published in Spring this year. If you have comments, you can complete the form on their website and return it to LDEmploymentStrategy@dh.gsi.gov.uk by Wednesday 11 March 2009.

The first meeting of the IDEAS subgroup took place on 17 February. BASE was represented by Huw Davies. The notes are available on the DWP website as a note to providers. The next meeting is scheduled for April. More...

The Great Place to Work Institute has produced a guide about mental health in the workplace. Beyond Stress: A Guide to Mental Health & Workplace Wellbeing focuses on the importance of recognising and addressing the wide range of mental health issues that can occur in the workplace and includes case studies and suggestions for an employer's action plan. More...

DWP have published a document that contains recommendations following a review of the procurement of Flexible New Deal. The recommendations cover a wide range of issues from PQQs and stakeholder enagement through to the criteria for shortlisting preferred providers, the Code of Conduct and support for SPVs. It looks like business as usual using the Commissioning Strategy that has come under heavy criticism recently. More...

Not a glamorous topic but an essential one as this report reviews international experience of the use of differential payments in job outcome performance-based contracting for employment programmes. It considers the policy implications of the case study findings and of other payment models that have been proposed. Government has been considering the use of "accelerated payments" as a way of encouraging contracted providers to work with those customers who need more costly support and is exploring ways of discouraging the creaming (cherry-picking) and parking of such customers.

The dates and venues for the Fit For Work Service workshops have been announced and are as follows:

  • March 16th 2009 – Radisson SAS Hotel, Edinburgh
  • March 17th 2009 – Hilton Metropole, Birmingham
  • March 18th 2009 – Hilton Hotel, Cardiff

The National Social Inclusion Programme (NSIP) has produced a new outcomes framework for mental health that includes a range of performance indicators including some aroun d employment. More...

The Fit for Work services envisaged by the Government paper, Improving Health and Work, are to be piloted shortly. They will aim to support people to stay in or return to work more quickly when they develop a health condition or impairment and the Government has committed to help support local areas develop Fit for Work Services and to robustly evaluate them, in a programme of piloting lasting until at least 2011. DH is to announce 3 workshops in England, Wales and Scotland in late March and we'll bring you details when we get them.

It has been reported that David Freud has resigned as an advisor to Government on welfare reform and will join the Conservatives. A peerage would allow him to sit as a shadow welfare minister. Freud is seen as the architect of the Government's controversial welfare to work policies that have included the introduction of private sector providers. The former investment banker is reported to have handed in his resignation to James Purnell yesterday. Interestingly, the Conservatives are proposing the reintroduction of jobclubs.