October 2018

The Work and Pensions Committee has published its review of Universal Support, the programme of support available to claimants of Universal Credit.

It says the Government "must not proceed" with moving existing benefit claimants onto Universal Credit until "a new, flexible, discretionary approach to debt management, drawing on best practice in the retail sector" is in place - and working. The Department is currently planning to start moving claimants over from mid-2019. 

PeoplePlus is currently seeking partners to bid for ESF Opt-in tenders in London and Adult Education Budget opportunities in several Combined Authority areas that are being released from October 2018. They are looking to hear from a diverse range of partners with a track record of local delivery who share their vision, values and commitment to delivering high performing services that transform people’s lives.

The Guardian is reporting that children and young people with special needs are being failed in almost half of areas in England inspected under new rules.

Under a system of inspections introduced in 2016, the education watchdog Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission have so far visited 68 local areas to assess whether they meet the needs of those aged 0 to 25 with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).

Swindon Borough Council's Supported Employment Strategy, which has been approved by the council’s Health and Wellbeing Board, aims to double the percentage of adults with a learning difficulty in paid employment form 5.6 per cent this year to 10 per cent by March 2022.

And it wants a significant increase of those leaving the council’s care in paid work, from 64 per cent this year to three-quarters in the next three and a half years.

DWP has confirmed that up to 180,000 benefit claimants have been underpaid and are due refunds. It is estimated that the average refund will be £5,000 but may be more for some individuals.

The DWP said that the backdated payments totalled £970m. It now also faced a larger bill for ongoing ESA awards, costing the department more than £700m extra until 2024-25, bringing the total cost to £1.67bn.

Frank Field, who chairs the Commons Work and Pensions Committee, said:

London Borough of Waltham Forest is looking to developing a diverse market that supports adults with adults with learning disabilities to live as independently as possible and to play full and active roles in their local communities in line with their Think Family and Creating Futures programmes. 

The local authority wants to commission services based on the following key principles;

The Royal Borough of Kingston is considering the commissioning options for a Supported Employment Service for Adult Social Care clients aged between 18-64, including;

  • Learning Disabilities (LD)
  • Homelessness
  • Drug and Alcohol misuse
  • Mental Health
  • LD Children and Young People in Transition

The Council would like to understand from key providers how these requirements might best be met and is therefore carrying out a soft market testing exercise to engage in early informal dialogue prior to any formal commissioning taking place.

DWP Secretary of State, Esther McVey, has written to Frank Field, Chair of the Work and Pensions Committee, to answer his questions about the sale of Remploy in 2015.

Frank Field had asked the following questions:

The UK Independent Mechanism (UKIM) has published its update report to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The report gives an update on the steps taken by the UK governments to act on