BASE is seeking two agencies that would be interested in piloting draft Quality Standards for Supported Employment services. The work is part of our Erasmus project which is developing a Quality Framework for Supported Employment in partnership with organisations in Belgium, Ireland, Norway and Spain.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) will support projects to develop local solutions in specific neighbourhoods, or across a greater area, or even across a local authority or service delivery boundaries. They are seeking projects that bring together the community and local authorities to design and implement services in partnership and so are looking for joint bids.

A new Work and Pensions Committee report says former offenders leaving prison face a "cliff edge" drop off in support offered to help them re-enter normal life and find work, and that even while in prison, education and employment support are fragmented and good practice is "patchy and inconsistent".

'The London Borough of Sutton is publishing a specification for its Supported Employment Service prior to a formal tendering process, which will start in January 2017. It is to provide an opportunity for interested providers to collaborate and to consider a creative and innovative partnership approach to delivering the service outlined. If providers are aware of models good practice that can further inform the service specification then Sutton Council is inviting providers to share them via the portal.

Pluss have secured three Big Lottery Fund grants to deliver the Building Better Opportunities programme across South West England. Building Better Opportunities is a project jointly funded by the Big Lottery Fund and the European Social Fund.

The new programme, to be known locally as ‘Positive People’, will allow Pluss and its partners to maximise the impact of over £14 million in funding over three years to support people with disabilities, mental health issues, ex-offenders, troubled families, and black, Asian and ethnic minority groups. The programme will focus on promoting social inclusion, and driving local jobs and growth.

The National Occupational Standards (NOS) for Supported Employment will shortly be under review and BASE will be seeking your feedback on the draft revised standards. 

In 2016 UKCES invited tenders for the delivery of services associated with occupational standards, apprenticeships and qualifications (S&F Childcare, Career and Community Development Tender Ref:2016-2017) across the UK. A consortium of sector bodies led by SkillsActive has been successful in its bid to deliver standards and frameworks to the sectors represented by the partner members until 31st March 2017.  BASE is leading the review of the National Occupational Standards for Supported Employment.

The Learning Disabilities Observatory has published a report giving insight into the lives of people with a learning disability in 2015. The The Learning Disabilities Observatory was set up in April 2010 to provide high quality data and information about the health and healthcare of people with learning disabilities. The report finds that the number of adults with learning disabilities in any paid/self employment has dropped from 9,905 people in 2011/12 to 7,430 people in 2014/15 (6% employment rate), with most people (71%) working less than 16 hours per week. 

A new two-year project to support people with learning disabilities and autism to find work has been launched by the government.

The project, backed by £280,000 of Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) investment, will include 4 new picture books to promote group discussions on finding and keeping a job. Beyond Words is a social enterprise which already produces unique books, services and training for people who find pictures easier to understand than words.

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Disability has published its report on employment. The report, Ahead of the Arc, offers proposals to help halve the disability employment gap. The Inquiry was launched amid concerns that too much attention was being paid to reducing the benefits bill and not enough attention to helping disabled people participate in the labour market.

There's a range of tender opportunities has just been published by various local authorities. They can be found on the Due North procurement website.