March 2020

Social Enterprise UK (SEUK) has put together a website for enterprises dealing with the impact of coronavirus. The website contains the latest resources, advice and support services, including webinars from leading voices within the sector.

They have a series of webinars this week. These are all free to sign-up too and the recordings will be available on this site. Each webinar is an hour long with plenty of time to ask questions. 

DWP is making changes to the Test & Learn Dynamic Purchasing System (T+L DPS). The existing T+L DPS will close on 23 March and from 27 March 2020 the T+L DPS will be transferred to be run through PQQ_28831. A guidance note is attached explaining the changes. Organisations currently registered on the T+L DPS will have their details automatically transferred to the new system.

DWP has announced that it is postponing publication of the tender for the Local Supported Employment trailblazer. This is due to the coronavirus and its impact on services.

The tender had beeen due to go live this week. We'll update you when we hear more.

BASE will be postponing all regional forums and training events until further notice in the light of the coronavirus restrictions. Office functions will continue as normal and certificate learners can continue to receive support by contacting their assessor by email or phone.

We have been asked for advice regarding the provision of workplace support but there are no easy answers. Clearly, the welfare of service staff and clients has to be a priority and services should support those customers through risk assessment where they are vulnerable because of their health. The Business Disability Forum has produced a useful legal update about the position for disabled workers.

Employees who are shielding in line with public health guidance (or need to stay home with someone who is shielding) can be furloughed if they are unable to work from home. The government have confirmed that shielding employees can be placed on furlough even if the employer has work for them to do.

Older jobseekers in the Greater Manchester area will be the first to trial targeted new approaches being developed to help over-50s get back to work.  

The Centre for Ageing Better, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, and the Department of Work & Pensions have announced plans for the ‘Greater Manchester Employment Support for Over-50s' pilot programme to improve support models for older people. An estimated 800,000 people in the UK aged 50 to 65 want to be working but are not, with many caught in an ‘unemployment trap’. Losing a job after the age of 50 is more likely to lead to long-term unemployment or inactivity compared with job loss at younger ages.  

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has lost more employment tribunals for disability discrimination than any other employer in Britain since 2016. BBC's Panorama found that the DWP lost 17 of 134 claims of discrimination against its own disabled workers from 2016-19. It paid out at least £950,000 in both tribunal payments and out-of-court settlements in that time.

DWP employs over 80,000 staff, over 11,000 of whom have decared a disability. The DWP said it was "shocked" by the data but was reviewing its processes to ensure all staff were treated fairly.

The DWP Local Supported Employment trailblazer will be listed on the Test & Learn dynamic purchasing system (DPS) on 16 March. The opportunity will be open for expressions of interest until 7 April. The new programme is scheduled to go live in early August. The trailblazer follows on from the Proof of Concept that ran during 2018-19.