We have just heard that DWP has confirmed that it will continue to fund job coaches through Access to Work if they are employed to support learners on Supported Internship programmes. BASE warmly welcomes this decision and we await further details to clarify the decision.

DWP has published details of their new method for contracting employment support. The Commercial Agreement for the provision of Employment and Health Related Services (CAEHRS) will run for a maximum of 5 years with a value of £7.5bn. The new framework will replace the existing Umbrella Agreement which is due to expire in January 2021. CAEHRS is designed to support the provision of employment and health-related programmes and will be the default medium for contracting with the marketplace for national employment focussed programmes unless more effective routes to market are identified.

We have received revised guidance from the Department for Education about Supported Internships. Providers have been understandably keen on clarity about whether, and how, Supporterd Internships can continue into the next academic year.

We understand that the following text has been cleared by Treasury and Ministers for input into the FE operational guidance. 

BASE is organising a series of online workshops to take place over the early summer. These 1.5 hour events are open only to BASE members and will be delivered using Zoom. Places are limited to 50 attendees and can be booked through Eventbrite.

The National Competence Center on Developmental Disabilities (NAKU) of Norway and the North Dakota Center for Persons with Disabilities (NDCPD) of North Dakota, USA are hosting a series of 4 online webinars covering the main concepts of customized employment, international perspectives on legal and policy measures in support of customized employment and showcases of the implementation of customized employment from around the world.

DWP has issued new guidance to Supported Businesses confirming ministerial approval has been granted for the Transitional Employer Support Grant (TESG) to be claimed whilst an employee is at home due to Covid 19. The guidance also sets out the requirements for providing evidence of the continued support provided by the SB and offers options as to how signatures can be obtained.

DWP has issued guidance about claiming Access to Work during the Covid-19 pandemic. A number of flexibilities have finally been agreed but it is difficult to understand why they have taken so long.

ESF funding rounds are opening in London and Greater Manchester.

The London Programme will continue to support people with complex needs to gain skills and find (or remain in) work, education or training. These are Londoners who already face disadvantage, and who are likely to be further disadvantaged by the impact of COVID-19. 

The European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD) has launched its first snapshot report on the impact of COVID-19 on social services for persons with disabilities across Europe. The report identifies the main challenges experienced by such service providers, as well as a general overview of the availability of support services in April 2020.

BASE has set up regional Linkedin forums for members to keep in touch and support each other. The forums are for staff of member orgaisations and can be accessed though the following links: