July 2015

Following a freedom of information request, DWP has issued details of the Flexible Support Fund budget for 2014-15 and 2015-16. The figures show that the total budget has been cut by 48% from £132m to £68m this year. The cut includes £5m committed to Glasgow City Deal in 2014-15. Only two areas have a bigger budget in 2015-16; Birmingham/Solihull's increases by £800k while Berkshire/Surrey/Sussex sees a 3.5% increase. All other areas will see their funding cut, many by two-thirds.

Professor Dame Carol Black has started a review into how best to support benefit claimants with addictions and potentially treatable conditions back into work.

The government believes that not enough is being done to ensure people get help for long-term, potentially treatable issues even though it may be the primary reason for being out of work. A manifesto commitment said that the government would review the current system and Dame Carol Black will now start an investigation into the issue.

Ofsted has published a new handbook for inspectors of further education and skills which will come into effect from September 2015. This handbook is a guide for inspectors on how to carry out inspections of further education and skills providers. It is also available to providers and other organisations to make sure that they are informed about inspection processes and procedures. It contains the following section: Provision for high-needs learners

WALES Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA) is running an Introducing Active Inclusion information event in Barry on August 6.

The event will provide organisations with details of a new multi-million pound European funding scheme aimed at tackling poverty, social exclusion and unemployment.

Pluss’ Chairman, Chris Harvey, has announced the appointment of Steve Hawkins, previously Director of Business Development, as the new Chief Executive Officer.

Mr Harvey said “I am very pleased to announce that, following a recruitment process, Steve Hawkins is appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Company. The Board joins me in congratulating Steve in his new role.”

The next Scotland members' meeting will be held at SAM-H Head Office, Brunswick House, 51 Wilson Street, Glasgow G1 1UZ on Thursday 20th August at 11.00am. The agenda will focus on the Scottish Governments Welfare Reform Consultation process.

DWP has published statistics for the use of Access to Work up to March 2015. It gives information on the numbers of people helped and has a breakdown by disability type and type of support provided. There has been a noticeable increase in the numbers of people with mental health needs, learning disability and dyslexia supported. https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/access-to-work-individuals-help...

Investment savings company Standard Life hosted an event for Scotland’s Supported Businesses at the end of June, enabling them to showcase their products and services to procurement professionals from a range of organisations, including some of Standard Life’s suppliers.

This was the first event of its kind to be held for the private sector in Scotland and supports the Scottish Government’s Supported Business initiative which has already created a procurement framework for the public sector to encourage spend with Scottish supported businesses.

The Scottish Government Formal consultation on the future of Welfare to Work programmes is open for submissions with a closing date of 9th October 2015. As part of this process, and following detailed discussions with senior officials from SUSE, we have come together to arrange a consultation event which will be the foundation for both BASE and SUSE members' formal response to the Consultation process and ensure that all members and adults that we represent achieve the best services going forward post Smith.

The Work and Pensions Select Committee launches inquiry into DWP’s contracted welfare-to-work provision. The Department’s main contracts (Work Programme and Work Choice) will expire in 2017, and DWP will begin a re-tendering process next year.