London and Greater Manchester have both announced market engagement events for providers prior to procurement of the Work and Health Programme. It has been confirmed that Greater Manchester will contain a single contract package area. London will have four contract package areas. Providers who are interested in bidding do not have to be listed on the Umbrella Agreement for Employment and Health Related Services (UAEHRS).

The City of Wolverhampton Council is looking to procure an Individual Placement Support (IPS) good or outstanding fidelity rated provider to deliver a 12 month IPS programme in Wolverhampton. The programme will receive its funding of £60,000 from the DWP, ESF and YEI and the Council. The aim of the programme is to develop evidence of the effectiveness of the IPS model in delivering employment outcomes to people with mental health needs.

The deadline to submit applications to the Employment for All awards 2017 has been extended until 6th February. The Employment for All Award, hosted by EASPD and EUSE, is given to Social Services/ Support Providers and Businesses or Employers who have designed and implemented effective systems for employment of people with disabilities.

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.

Following the publication of the Select Committee's 2nd Report into the Future of Jobcentre Plus the Government has responded to Committee's recommendations.

The Department for Education is seeking evidence on the experiences and outcomes of children and young people in residential special schools and colleges. Responses should be sent to by 17 March 2017.

The London Borough of Sutton People Directorate intend to commission a Supported Employment Service for vulnerable adults (hereafter referred to as ‘service users’) with a mental health need, a learning disability or a physical disability who want to work.

We now have confirmation of the successful bidders whio have qualified for DWP's Umbrella Agreement for Employment and Health Related Services (UAEHRS). Only those bidders who feature on the UAEHRS will be able to tender for the Work and Health Programme. The tender for this is expected to start later this month.

The Department for Education has announced details of the SEND implementation grant allocations for 2017-18. A total of £40m has been made available to local authorities compared to £35.8 for the current financial year.

Steve Hawkins, CEO of Pluss, has written a blog about employment support which we reproduce below.