July 2009

DWP has published the list of shortlisted providers for the tendering of Work Choice, the replacement for Workstep and Work Preparation programmes. A total of 29 organisations were shortlisted for 28 contract packages. Existing Workstep providers amount to around a third of the bids shortlisted so it looks like the majority of bidders have little or no experience of meeting the needs of these customer groups. Only 2 local authorities and a publicly owned SPV got through the PQQ stage. There are some notable absences from the list which is as follows:

DWP has written to providers and others regarding the future of financial subsidies to central and local government through the new Work Choices programme. The letter states that

  • all financial incentives paid in respect of any participant employed by or placed in a central government department or its agencies;
  • all financial incentives paid in respect of any participant employed by or in any supported business;

DWP has announced that a requirement for people who have been out of work for two years to do up to six months of valuable work experience to help them get jobs will be trialled in two pilot areas. The Government has already announced that every young person unemployed for a year will be guaranteed a job, training or work placement, which will be compulsory. Now, for the minority who aren't able to find a job in two years, the Work for Your Benefit pilots will give people up to six months of intensive work experience which aims to help improve their employability.

In the Instructions to Bidders, issued in the Notice to Providers dated 30th March 2009, part 7.9 stated that details of shortlisted bidders would be published on the Supplying DWP website week commencing 13th July 2009. According to DWP, as a result of protracted discussions with short-listed organisations full details will now be published week commencing 27th July 2009.

The work in this report was conducted by the Centre for Disability Research (CeDR) at Lancaster University on behalf of the Department of Health. The aim of the project was to estimate change in the future numbers of adults with profound multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) in England over the period 2009 to 2026.

The Department of Health has published New Horizons, a consulation document on the future approach to public mental health and well-being in England. New Horizons sets out a new approach to improving well-being for the whole population, aiming for the first time to create a powerful alliance that can target the root causes of poor mental health. The consultation launched today was developed with a wide range of partners.

RADAR would like your involvement in an online survey, which will identify factors enabling high-flyers living with ill-health, injury or disability get into & succeed in senior roles. Please complete the online questionnaire at http://tinyurl.com/qhw3uc. RADAR say that by sharing your experiences you can influence the behaviour of major employers, help others to climb the ladder to success and ensure that disabled people can make a full contribution to British society and the economy.

Danish IT consultancy, Specialisterne, is hoping to create 50 jobs for people with autism in Glasgow to improve the quality of its software testing. The founder of Specialisterne, Thorkil Sonne, formed the software company in order to make use of the particular skills that people with ASD can bring to the workplace. "The main benefits that autistic individuals bring to the workplace are they are methodical and exhibit great attention to detail." Other attributes that people with ASD can exhibit include motivation, focus, persistence, precision and the ability to follow instructions.

This report provides an overview of the development of rights and responsibilities in the UK social security system and elsewhere, describes current and future policy in the UK and summarises key evidence on the effectiveness of conditionality and benefit sanctions. More...

A golf club greenkeeper who was told to wear a red cap because of his autism has been awarded £78,000 at an employment tribunal. Andrew Beck, 44, who has Asperger's syndrome and learning difficulties, was forced to resign from his job at the Davyhulme Park club, in Trafford, after being singled out for bullying and intimidation by his boss. Mr Beck's claims for unfair dismissal and disability discrimination were upheld at a Manchester tribunal last month.