Supported Employment trailblazer details announced

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.

DWP has a series of engagement events organised for local authorities over the next 10 days. The events will describe and promote the opportunity and give attendees an opportunity to ask questions about the trailblazer. The first event took place in Birmingham on 2 March and a series of telekit events will follow.

The trailblazer will see 20+ local authorities across England, Scotland and Wales being selected to deliver Supported Employment services over the 18 month duration. At least 2 local authorities will be selected in Scotland and one in Wales. The remaining local authorities will be split between northen/central England and southern England.

There will be 2 lots. Lot 1 will be to select 17+ local authorities that already have services in place. Lot 2 will be for local authorities who do not yet have a service. Each local authority can choose to deliver support to an additional 30 - 80 jobseekers and all referrals must be in place within an 8 month window. 

The customer cohort will comprise at least two-thirds people with a learning disability and/or autism. Jobseekers with long-term mental health needs will also be eligible for support as long as they are not currently in contact with secondary mental health services. There are other conditions such as their benefit entitlement and not being on any other DWP programme. Note that details are still subject to change and final ministerial approval before the trailblazer opportunity is published on 16 March.

The payment model has changed from the previous Proof of Concept. There will be a 60/40% split between service fees and start payments. There will not be any payment by results though all services will be performance managed with targets in place for job outcomes. It is hoped to achieve 50% job starts with 15% achieving work over 16 hours per week and 35% securing jobs over 8 hours/week. Full details of the customer criteria and payment model are contained in the attached slides.

Local authorities must be approved on the Test & Learn DPS "in-work support" service line before 15 March if they are to express an interest in participating. Local authorities can check whether they are registered by emailing CD.TEST-LEARN@DWP.GOV.UK. Expressions of Interest will be scored on the basis of 90% quality and 10% for price. The DWP payments are fixed at £3500 per participant client and there will need to be local authority co-funding investment of £1500 per participant.

As in the Proof of Concept, it will be up to local authorities how they deliver the service. They can deliver in-house or through one or more contracted providers. Providers will be subject to two audited self-assessments using the Supported Employment Quality Framework.