Devolved powers to procure Work and Health Programme

DWP has released more details about Greater Manchester and London's devolved powers to procure and deliver the Work and Health Programme. The two cities will receive funds to develop, procure and deliver localised versions of the new Work and Health Programme to fit the needs of their residents. The Work and Health Programme is expected to start from late 2017 in England and Wales.

It is has been confirmed that there will be one contract area covering Greater Manchester and four contracts covering London. The bidding process is expected to begin in February and the contracts will have a collective value of £140m over five years. Bidding providers do not have to be on the Umbrella Agreement for Employment and Health Realted Services (UAEHRS).

By devolving these powers, participants – including homeless people and long-term unemployed people – will receive more intense, tailored support based on local expertise that will give them the best chance to move into long-term employment.

Work and Pensions Secretary Damian Green said:

"This is a significant step to help thousands of disabled and vulnerable people get the support they need to move away from benefits and find lasting work. Good work has huge benefits for physical and mental health and we are committed to helping all those people who can work to find work.

"By devolving powers we are sending our clearest message yet that we are serious about making changes for the better, and believe this can be found in the expertise of local providers who know their residents best."

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: 

"I am delighted that funding and responsibility for the new Work and Health Programme is to be devolved to London government. This is a great example of how we can put party politics aside and work closely with the national government ‎in the best interests of all Londoners. 

"Delivering this programme at a local level will result in greater integration of employment support with other local services. This will lead to better outcomes for Londoners, with those who need support receiving it at the right time."

Councillor Sean Anstee, Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) Lead Member for Skills and Employment said: 

"In Greater Manchester we know that when we create local solutions to help people back in to work they are much more effective. Through intensive, tailored support from local key workers our Working Well programme has helped people right across our city-region get back in to the workplace. 

"These new devolved powers will help us expand Working Well and make a real difference to people’s lives. More people will now get the support they need to find a job and be successful in Greater Manchester."

Chair of London Councils, Councillor Claire Kober, said: 

"This is a significant moment in London’s call for further devolution and gives us the opportunity to create local schemes better tailored to meet Londoners’ needs. Boroughs – who can already demonstrate significant success in this area – are delighted to be able to get on with the important job of helping residents with complex needs back into the workplace."