September 2012

The Public Accounts Committee has published its report Preventing fraud in contracted employment programmes. The report was conducted following allegations of potential fraud and poor service from employment programme clients and whistleblowers. The report's conclusions are: * The Department has not exercised sufficient oversight of its contractors to identify potential fraud and improper practice. * The Department's recent investigation into A4e did not establish whether the company was a 'fit and proper' contractor.

A report from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) underlines just how important small firms are to strengthening the economy, tackling unemployment, and taking on people who are shut out of the labour market. Launched at the Liberal Democrat conference, the report: Back to work: the role of small businesses in employment and enterprise, shows that each year small and medium sized businesses take on around 1.3 million unemployed and disadvantaged people. In contrast, large firms with more than 250 employees hire less than 130,000 on average.

Disabled people are to be given additional support in their search for employment after Carillion announced it is to expand its partnership with a local social enterprise.

The initiative has been designed to help more people with learning or physical disabilities gain employment and extends the scheme it has run with SEQOL energy2work since 2011.

As a result of the widening of the partnership between the two organisations, Carillion will offer extra work experience positions to disabled people.

The application process for this year’s Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs in the UK is now open and full information is available at

This award is being sponsored by Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the entrepreneur best known for founding easyJet. The creation of the Award was motivated by Stelios’ goal of not only supporting disabled entrepreneurs, but also raising awareness of the skills and inventiveness of those with disabilities.

In order to apply and be in with a chance of winning £50k for your business, you must meet the following criteria:

WISE, the Welsh Initiative for Supported Employment, is set to close its doors after providing supported employment services in the Swansea area for the last 27 years. The service will close on 26 September and says that changes brought about by the introduction of the Prime Providers and the tendering processes have been instrumental in WISE being unable to continue the exceptional service it has provided over the past 27 years.

Esther McVey has made a ministerial statement about Fulfilling Potential, the developing disability strategy. "I am pleased to announce that later today we will publish two documents as part of our disability strategy, Fulfilling Potential. These set out how the Government will work in partnership with others to enable disabled people to achieve their aspirations and play a full role in society.

The BASE office will be closed from 11 September until 24 September due to our annual conference in Glasgow and annual leave.

Emails will be reponded to this week and an answering machine will collect messages on our office telephone number. Calls will be responded to on the 24th.

A study by Manchester Business School's Institute for Innovation Research has concluded that the Work Programme appears to be inadequate as a framework for service innovation. It concludes that "a better strategic alignment between government’s welfare reform strategy and locality commissioning could stimulate innovative services for all claimants in spite of austerity". This is a case study of the UK government’s Work Programme procurement process between 2011 and 2012 and is part of a larger Manchester Institute for Innovation Research Project on Public Procurement and Innovation.

Both Chris Grayling and Maria Miller have left the Department for Work and Pensions. Chris Grayling becomes Justice Secretary while Maria Miller becomes Secretary of State for Culture.

Chris Grayling is replaced as Minister of State for Work by Mark Hoban, MP for Fareham, who was previously the Financial Secretary to the Treasury.

Maria Miller is replaced as Minister for Disabled People by Esther McVey, MP for Wirral West, who entered Parliament in 2010.

Sarah Teather, Minister for Children and Families has issued a written ministerial statement to announce publication of draft provisions to improve the support provided to children and young people with special educational needs, and to their parents. The text is as follows: