BASE supports the general point made within the ERSA/WPI report, More than words-Rethinking employment support to disabled people that more resources need to be invested in providing appropriate specialist support to disabled people. The Government has set an ambitious target to halve the disability employment gap and this will require a comprehensive approach to support both the recruitment and retention of all people who have a disability and who aspire to work.

The Department for Communities and Local Government has published an evaluation of the initial phase of the Troubled Families programme. It found a mixed picture in terms of what worked and what didn't but there was little evidence overall of a positive impact on families.

The European Union for Supported Employment (EUSE) has announced details of its 2016-17 Scholarship Programme. The programme has been established since 2008-09 and is sponsored this year by Prosegur Foundation.

Ingeus and Pluss have announced a joint initiative to help people with disabilities and long-term health conditions into sustainable work. Both organisations will share their extensive experience of supporting customers and working with employers to open up job and career opportunities for all.

DWP has published further details about its Umbrella Agreement for the provision of Employment and Health Related Services (UAEHRS). Providers will have to be on this framework if they wish to bid as prime contractors for the Work and Health Programme as well as other DWP contracts.

DWP has started the process of creating a framework of providers for the new Work and Health Programme. Providers will need to register on this framework if they wish to be included in the mini competitions described by DWP in their circular last month.

The following note was issued yesterday:

Damian Green, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, has confirmed that chronically sick benefit claimants will no longer be required to prove they are still ill every six months.

He said that employment support allowance will now continue automatically for those who have lifelong, severe health conditions with no prospect of improvement.

Think Local Act Personal (TLAP) are running the TLAP Care Act survey that asks how much of a difference the Care Act has made in the experience of people with care and support needs, and their carers. There have been many Care Act surveys, but this one will be the first that specifically seeks their views.

DWP has published changes to the procurement process for the Work and Health Programme and issued a revised indicative timetable for the process.

DWP has issued the following statement on the Bravo Solution website:

Thank you for your interest in the Work and Health Programme. DWP is very keen to work with the market and listen to your views, ensuring that we in are in a position to create the most suitable and effective programme for the customer group.

It has been announced that the 1st World Conference on Supported Employment will take place from the 14th to 16th June 2017 in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

It is being co-hosted by EUSE (European Union of Supported Employment) and EASPD (European Association of Service Providers to Persons with Disabilities) and organised by NIUSE (Northern Ireland Union on Supported Employment).