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Mark Pickles (Business Programme Director, National Grid)

 

We would like to wish all our members and friends a safe and very happy Christmas. It's been a challenging year that we will long remember but we're looking forward to moving on to a brighter 2021.

The BASE office will be closed from Monday 21 December and will reopen on Monday 4 January. For urgent matters, you can contact us at admin@base-uk.org

 

Ways into Work are seeking a Non-Executive Director to support the development of the Berkshire-based organisation and achieve long term sustainable growth. It would be an ideal position for someone who is passionate about making a difference to people’s lives and the work the business does to support individuals with a disability or disadvantage into work.

The London Borough of Hackney is inviting tenders from sufficiently experienced and qualified contractors to procure a programme of Special Educational Needs Supported Internship placements for young people in the borough.

A key objective of this contract will be for each intern to be equipped with the knowledge and skills to successfully enter the world of work, and will subsequently gain sustainable paid employment at the end of the programme. A framework agreement will be awarded to up to 2 contractor(s). The contract will be established for an initial duration of 24 months, with the option to extend for up to 24 further months in annual increments at the Council's discretion. The contract is anticipated to begin on 1st September 2021 after an initial implementation period.

The 2019-20 Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework (ASCOF) figures for England were published today and show a mixed picture. We've posted the annual report and a spreadsheet of the disaggregated local authority rates at www.base-uk.org/employment-rates

Rates have risen again for adults in contact with mental services and now stand at 9% but the learning disability figure has fallen again, this time to 5.6%. This is very disappointing news and reflects the lack of support available to support people with learning disabilities into work. We really need DWP to take a lead on this issue and fund appropriate support in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (Article 27).

Six networks, namely the European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD), the European Disability Forum (EDF), the European Network of Social Integration Enterprises (ENSIE), the European Platform for Rehabilitation (EPR), the European Union for Supported Employment (EUSE) and Workability International, call on the European Union to act on the employment of persons with support needs such as persons with disabilities who continue to be hugely underrepresented in the workforce.

A national research project is examining the impact of Covid-19 on the lives of people with a learning disability. The project wants to know more about the lives of adults with learning disabilities through the coronavirus pandemic. They also want to talk to adults with learning disabilities or family carers/paid support staff of people with learning disabilities who need someone else to answer the questions on their behalf.

BASE has joined the Skills Builder Partnership as a strategic membership body partner. 

Skills Builder is a free resource used in schools, colleges, and workplaces to assess and chart progress on developing the soft skills needed in the workplace. The framework is now used by 700 organisations and covers achievement of the following soft skills:

  • Listening
  • Speaking
  • Problem solving
  • Creativity
  • Staying positive
  • Aiming high
  • Leadership
  • Teamwork

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has opened a consultation on workplace health, long-term absence, and capability to work. The closing date for comments is Monday,11 January 2021 at 5pm.

 

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The chancellor has announced that £220m will be allocated in 2021-22 to help local areas prepare for the introduction of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. This falls far short of the £1.5bn currently received through European structural funding though the Chancellor has said that spending will eventually be ramped up to match European funding levels. The voluntary sector typically receives about £500m of such funds each year. 

The UKSPF will replace European Union structural funding following the UK’s departure from the EU. The withdrawal agreement between the UK and the EU keeps structural funding until the end of 2020, after which funding that has already been agreed will continue to be paid, but no more applications for funding can be made.

Outlining the spending review today, Rishi Sunak told MPs that the whole of the UK will benefit from the UKSPF, and the government “will ramp up funding so that total domestic UK-wide funding will at least match EU receipts, on average reaching around £1.5bn a year”.

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